When Nora Ephron’s book, "I Feel Bad About My Neck," came out a few years ago, the title struck a resounding chord for many women. If you’re one who avoids looking at your profile in the mirror and reminds yourself to raise your chin for photos, you know the sad truth: an aging neck can impact your appearance as much, or more, than wrinkles on your face.
Why does the neck age so dramatically? And what can you do about it?
Skin covering the neck is very delicate, yet many times we forget to take care of it. It burns easily in the sun and it catches extra rays reflected from water and other surfaces. Therefore, the first step you can take is to tend to your neck skin just like you do your face. Apply sunscreen liberally when you go outdoors.
Neck skin also develops fine wrinkles easily and is prone to discoloration. To hold these processes at bay, use facial products on your neck like retinol creams that boost cell turnover and lotions that promote collagen and elastin production. Certain laser treatments can also improve the skin’s surface by blasting areas of unwanted pigmentation and softening fine lines.
Neck skin loses elasticity over the years and inevitably succumbs to the pull of gravity. Just like the skin supporting your breasts, it is less able to sustain that perky look. Your neck skin gradually sags and allows the fad pad under your chin to droop. There are laser treatments that promise to tighten neck skin; you might want to try one.
If your skin is in good shape, you may benefit from liposuction under your chin. If you’re unlucky enough to have a large fat deposit and very saggy skin, a surgical neck lift, including skin tightening and liposuction, would likely do wonders for your look. Although the procedure is cosmetic surgery entailing the normal costs and risks, it’s a relatively straightforward procedure with an easy recovery for most people.
Finally, there are those whose chief neck problem is vertical cords resulting from muscle changes over time. Physicians call these “platysmal bands,” and they can be one of the most troublesome signs of aging.