If you haven’t yet heard of this prevalent sign of aging, turkey neck results from lost elasticity in the skin, gradually weakening neck muscles, and a few other factors. With a turkey neck, you may notice loose, wrinkled folds on the neck that resemble a turkey’s wattle.
No one can fully fend off skin aging. But, there are ways to regain the smooth, elegant neck of your younger years. In this article, we’ll explain the causes of turkey neck and what you can do to achieve tight, rejuvenated skin on your neck.
What Causes Turkey Neck?
According to David Rodwell, MD of Charleston Facial Plastic Surgery, four factors contribute to turkey neck:
1. Skin Elasticity
As we age, our bodies naturally lose the ability to repair and rejuvenate themselves. This applies to our skin as well. One of the first components of the skin that starts to suffer the ravages of time is collagen. Found in the dermis (the middle layer of the skin), collagen is a protein that provides structure and support for the skin.
Over time, collagen production begins to slow down and your existing collagen is more susceptible to deterioration. A lack of vitamins and minerals in your diet, the sun’s damaging UV rays, and free radicals can diminish your body’s levels of this protein, causing the skin on the face, neck, and jawline skin to lose its youthful elasticity.
2. Muscle Weakness
The muscles that support your neck can weaken with a lack of use and the simple passage of time. As these muscles weaken, they are less and less able to support the skin to which they are attached. This means that your skin won’t be pulled back into place as readily as it was before. Your muscles may not feel any different, but the visible results are a sagging neck.
3. Fat Distribution
Some people are naturally predisposed to carry extra fat under the chin and along the neck. This excess fat (often called a double chin) can slowly stretch the skin, eventually causing folds that look like a turkey’s wattle. A balanced diet, regular exercise routine, and reaching a healthy weight with gradual weight loss can help decrease these fat deposits and help keep the skin on your neck tight.
4. Bone Position
The position of various bones in the neck can affect the skin underneath the chin. For example, the position of the hyoid, the U-shaped bone in the neck that helps hold up the tongue, can influence skin elasticity in the neck.
If the hyoid bone is naturally set forward, it pushes the skin into a rounded shape. This makes the neck skin more susceptible to gravity and decreased muscle strength, both of which contribute to a turkey neck.
How To Get Rid Of Turkey Neck
Even with those factors stacked against you, there are ways to prevent and treat loose, sagging skin on the neck. Four of the most common include:
- Skincare products
- Healthy lifestyle habits
Exercise works to strengthen the underlying muscles of your neck, while skincare products work to hydrate and rejuvenate the skin on your neck. Healthy lifestyle habits can go a long way toward maintaining youthful, radiant skin. While surgery is an invasive option that isn’t right for everyone, it can tone both the surface skin and the underlying muscles in the neck.
There seems to be an exercise for everything these days, and your neck is no exception. If you suspect that muscle weakness is contributing to your turkey neck, consistently practicing neck exercises could help.
Of course, it’s important to note that results can vary. Luckily, neck exercises are easy to perform anywhere and may give your neck skin a firmer, more youthful appearance.
Exercise A: Chew
The idea that chewing more can improve the appearance of your neck and jawline isn’t a new one. You can even find devices (like Jawzrsize) that claim to help create a chiseled profile while you chew.
The truth is that, whether or not you use a fancy chewing fitness device, chewing does activate your neck and jaw muscles. Regularly practicing chewing exercises may help tone the neck muscles and keep that turkey neck at bay.
To chew for tighter neck muscles, sit with a straight back. Then, lift your head so that your chin is pointing directly upward. With your lips closed, move your teeth together and apart, as if you were chewing a piece of gum. Complete 20 chews once per week to strengthen the muscles of the neck.
Exercise B: Raise & Turn
To complete this exercise, lie comfortably on your back. Then, gently raise your head and neck away from the floor. When your head is slightly away from the floor, turn it to the right, back to center, to the left, back to center, and then lower to the floor.
That’s one repetition. Work up to 10 or more repetitions once per week for best results. Make sure to keep the movements small and controlled — don’t jerk your neck in any direction.
Exercise C: Stretch
We all know that stretching can help keep your body lithe and limber. But, paired with a simple exercise, it can also help with neck contouring!
For an added stretch throughout this exercise, place your hands on your collar bones and apply gentle pressure. Then, tilt your head back slightly to stretch your neck. Keeping your head in this position, reach your bottom lip up towards the ceiling. Hold here for a count of five, and then return your lip to its natural position. That’s one repetition. Work up to 10 repetitions, and perform this exercise once per week.
Exercise D: Kiss The Sky
For this exercise, sit comfortably in a chair and tilt your head back until you’re looking at the place where the wall meets the ceiling (think about pointing your nose at this crease).
With your head in this position, pucker your lips as if you’re about to do as Jimmie Hendrix sang — kiss the sky! You should feel the muscles of your neck tighten. Hold this puckered position for a count of five, and then tilt your head back down and relax. Repeat this pucker-and-hold four more times, for a total of five sets. For the best results, do this exercise twice per week.
Exercises like the ones we’ve listed above are great for strengthening and toning your neck’s underlying musculature, as well as boosting circulation in your neck. But, they do little to change your neck’s outward appearance. That’s where our next solution comes in.
2. Skin Care
Oftentimes, the factors that contribute to aging skin on the neck are identical to those that cause wrinkles on the face and chest. As such, the technology that’s used to treat face and chest wrinkles can also be used to treat wrinkly, loose skin on the neck.
Some of the best ingredients to look for in neck creams include:
- Peptides, which help firm and plump the skin by signaling the production of collagen and elastin
- Retinol, which can help minimize wrinkles by stimulating collagen production
- Ultra-hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and shea butter
- Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), which can reduce inflammation and increase blood flow to the skin
- Vitamins (especially vitamins C, A, and E), which can protect against sun damage while brightening and strengthening the skin
- Caffeine, which can help shield your skin from free radical damage
If you’re seeking specific products to help beat turkey neck, the product line at SiO Beauty has several fitting options:
- The SiO Cryo Fill treatment contains a potent blend of ingredients, including skin-plumping peptides, that can reduce the appearance of fine lines on the neck. This advanced skincare product also provides deep hydration to volume-deficient areas that are associated with turkey neck.
- The SiO NeckLift silicone patch is specifically designed to hydrate, plump, and tighten the skin on your neck. Made of medical-grade silicone, this skin-tightening treatment fights signs of turkey neck while you sleep
- The SiO Cryo Body Cream can be used anywhere on the body, including the neck and chest, to tone and firm your skin. It contains anti-aging ingredients like Camellia Japonica Flower, hydrolyzed collagen, and a powerful antioxidant blend.
- The SiO Cryodrop is an anti-aging face massage tool that can be used in conjunction with the SiO Cryo Fill and Sio Cryo Body Cream to tighten, tone, and sculpt the face and neck with cold therapy.
By incorporating topical products for your neck into your skincare regimen, you can work toward a smooth, youthful, and wrinkle-free neck.
3. Healthy Lifestyle Habits
As you surely already know, your lifestyle habits have a huge impact on your overall wellness. While this is true for your general physical health, it also applies to your skin.
Sticking to the following healthy lifestyle habits can help you fend off neck wrinkles and maintain smooth skin.
A. Stay Active
Earlier in this article, we described four exercises that you can do to help tighten up the skin on your neck. But, don’t stop there! Try exercising for 30 minutes or more at least three times per week for the best results.
Regular exercise works wonders for your skin. It increases blood circulation, which ensures that skin cells receive the nutrients they need to stay healthy. In addition, studies have shown that exercise reduces stress, which can further improve your skin’s overall glow.
B. Get Your Beauty Rest
Everyone loves getting a good night’s sleep, but it can be tricky to prioritize your beauty rest with a hectic schedule. Nonetheless, try to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
Sleeping refreshes your body and supports skin rejuvenation. By consistently getting your beauty sleep, you can protect the health of your skin for years to come.
C. Eat a Healthy Diet
If you’re serious about getting rid of turkey neck, eating well is a must. After all, sticking to a healthy, anti-aging diet has multiple benefits for your skin.
Many vitamins and minerals found in foods (such as berries, leafy greens, and even dark chocolate) act as antioxidants, meaning that they help remove toxins and free radicals from your body. This can protect your skin cells, while healthy fats can help keep your skin hydrated.
D. Drink Alcohol In Moderation
Everyone loves a glass of wine or cocktail every now and then. But, you shouldn’t overdo it.
Overconsuming alcohol isn’t just bad for your liver — it’s bad for your skin. As your body processes alcohol, it becomes dehydrated, meaning that your skin cells lose the moisture they need to stay healthy. Additionally, alcohol zaps your skin cells of vitamin A, which is crucial for the skin’s natural moisturizing and healing processes.
To prevent unnecessary skin damage, try to always drink in moderation.
E. Limit Your Time In The Sun
Despite how wonderful it feels to lounge in the sunshine, sun exposure is one of the main causes of aging skin. The sun’s UV rays break down your skin’s collagen and elastin, both of which are essential for healthy, youthful skin. As these crucial proteins are destroyed, your skin loses its plumpness and elasticity, resulting in wrinkly, sagging skin.
To prevent sun damage, apply sunscreen every single morning before you leave the house, even if it’s cloudy outside! Additionally, try to limit the amount of time you spend in direct sunlight.
F. Stay Hydrated
The human body needs water, period. Drinking at least eight cups of water per day helps flush out toxins from your body, hydrate your skin cells, and keep the other bodily processes on track.
G. Don't Smoke!
The nicotine in cigarettes, cigars, and vaping products causes the blood vessels to constrict. This curbs circulation throughout your body, including the blood flow to your neck. So, if you’re trying to steer clear of a turkey neck, quitting smoking is an essential step to take. Plus, by steering clear of nicotine, you’ll give your overall health an enormous boost — not just the health of your skin.
H. Beat Tech Neck With Better Posture
In the current day and age, time spent scrolling on your smartphone and hunched over your computer is speeding up the development of turkey neck. In fact, neck pain that’s triggered by constantly staring down at a screen has earned a new name: Tech neck!
When you look down at a phone or other device, it intensifies the creases in your neck. Day after day, remaining in this posture for long periods can permanently deepen neck creases, leading to the appearance of a turkey neck.
We’re not saying that you have to ditch your beloved devices altogether. Just aim to be more aware of the time that you spend looking down at a phone, tablet, or computer. Whenever possible, bring your device up to eye level and improve your spinal posture (keep your shoulders back, head over shoulders, and shoulders over hips).
Along with neck exercises and skincare products, healthy lifestyle habits can have a drastic effect on the appearance of your neck. All of these methods are less expensive and less invasive than the next method for getting rid of turkey neck. We always recommend first each non-invasive treatment before turning to the last resort: surgery.
This turkey neck discussion wouldn’t be complete without the mention of surgical options. The most common surgical treatments for turkey neck include:
- Neck lift
Also called lower rhytidectomy, a surgical neck lift typically involves removing excess skin, tightening the neck muscles, and repositioning the neck skin. In some cases, the surgeon will also redistribute or contour the fat in the neck and jowls. Neck lifts are often performed at the same time as a face lift.
- Botox injections
Botox injections are minimally invasive and can smooth out the skin on the neck by preventing neck muscle contractions. However, the results of Botox only last for a few months.
- Neck liposuction
Neck liposuction is used to tighten and contour the neck. But, while liposuction can remove excess fat cells, it can’t tighten or lift sagging neck skin.
While surgical procedures can effectively eliminate a turkey neck, they’re invasive and may require weeks of recovery time. Additionally, bruising, swelling, and scarring are common side effects of cosmetic surgery that may require a few months to subside.
Choosing The Best Turkey Neck Solution For You
While surgery may seem like the quickest way to nix a turkey neck, it’s rarely the best option. Aside from the scarring, side effects, and recovery time associated with neck surgery, it’s expensive! Plus, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll achieve your desired results from the procedure.
Nonetheless, if you’re considering invasive treatments to get rid of a turkey neck, first consult a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Your provider can recommend the right procedure for your needs and advise you on the potential side effects.
Before going under the knife (or needle), we’d recommend trying out the non-invasive solutions that we’ve listed in this article. A trio of daily neck exercises, healthy lifestyle choices, and SiO's hydrating patches is a safe, effective, and affordable strategy for achieving a smooth, tight neck. Combined, these turkey neck treatments can help reduce existing wrinkles, prevent new wrinkles from forming, and stave off the natural skin aging processes.