- Neck wrinkles are often considered a sign of aging but can be prevented and controlled through lifestyle changes.
- Many skin care products can aid in reducing the appearance of wrinkles; ingredients such as vitamin C, Retinol and alpha hydroxy acids play an important role.
- Existing neck wrinkles can be treated through a variety of in-office treatments which are noninvasive and offer visible results.
Many of us are committed to a daily facial skin care routine which focuses on clearing our complexions and reducing the appearance of fine lines. However, as the neck is often neglected, it’s more susceptible to developing lines and wrinkles over time.
Neck wrinkles can be caused by a combination of factors, including the natural aging process, sun exposure, posture, and as a result of smoking and drinking.
As we age, the production of collagen, a protein responsible for maintaining the skin’s elasticity and strength, decreases within our bodies. As a result, our skin becomes less firm and more prone to wrinkling and sagging.
Exposure to the sun causes ultraviolet (UV) radiation to penetrate the skin, leading to harmful skin cell damage. Over time, repeated UV exposure will prematurely age the skin, referred to as photoaging.
UV damage can lead to the appearance of wrinkles anywhere on the face, however it is particularly damaging to neck skin. “The skin on the neck is thin, which makes it very susceptible to the aging effects of sun exposure,” says Dr. Fiorillo, a double-board certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of experience.
Our posture also has an effect on the development of neck wrinkles. Keeping the head in the same downward position for long periods of time causes the skin to crease. This often happens when we spend time focusing on screens or as we sleep.
Treatments and Prevention
There are a variety of treatments, both at-home and in-office, to effectively reduce the appearance of neck lines and wrinkles. Similarly, preventative measures can be taken to reduce the effects caused by sun exposure and aging.
Using sunscreen daily can prevent the effects of photoaging, although it is essential to select a formula that provides a high sun protection factor (SPF) rating of 30 or above. Reapplication every two hours is advised to ensure you are protected throughout the day.
Start prevention early
Sun exposure and lifestyle habits such as our sleeping positions, diets and skin care routines are estimated to be responsible for up to 80% of the skin’s visible aging. While it is never too late to start taking preventative measures, protecting your skin at an early age is likely to provide the most effective results.
Skin Care Treatments for Neck Wrinkles
Exfoliation buffs away and removes dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, softening and brightening the complexion in the process. Regular exfoliation encourages the production of collagen cells which aid in providing the skin with elasticity and plumpness.
Chemical exfoliants include ingredients such as glycolic, citric and fruit acids to remove skin cells. These acids are safe to use on the skin and are often naturally sourced.
Moisturizing should be an essential part of your skin care routine, applied in the morning and at night after cleansing. Moisturizing softens the skin while boosting and maintaining its hydration throughout the day.
Depending on the ingredients in your moisturizer, it can also provide additional anti-aging and skin protection benefits.
There are many skin creams and moisturizers which offer anti-aging properties through the use of ingredients such as Coenzyme Q10 (also known as CoQ10), niacinamide and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), all of which have been shown to have positive anti-aging effects.
Niacinamide supports the skin by improving hydration and encouraging protein synthesis, with effective results in reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Alternatively, AHAs work by breaking down dead skin cells, promoting the regeneration of new cells through chemical exfoliation.
Lastly, Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that provides protection against stressors in the environment which could potentially harm skin.
Vitamin C is a powerful ingredient often used within creams and serums to aid in reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. This essential vitamin helps to stimulate and maintain the production of collagen within the body, while also assisting in antioxidant protection against UV photoaging.
Research into the effectiveness of vitamin C in reducing wrinkles has shown promising results over time, when applied daily.
Since vitamin C offers UV radiation protection, vitamin C serums are beneficial as a preventative measure against the formation of neck wrinkles.
Another vitamin which offers benefits for the skin is retinol, also known as vitamin A. It is found in a variety of moisturizers and serums and is prized for its ability to stimulate new skin cell growth, while reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
Sunscreen is an essential product to apply each day to reduce the harmful effects of sun damage and control existing neck wrinkles.
While you can and should apply traditional sunscreen directly onto the face, many moisturizers, foundations and BB cream products also contain a degree of sun protection. These products can effectively offer an additional level of protection through your daily skin routine.
Maintaining a skin care routine
To achieve effective results from your skin care products, it is essential to incorporate their daily use into a skin care routine.
By starting your day off with a gentle exfoliating cleanser and following with a moisturizer which offers both sun protection and anti-aging ingredients, you can protect your skin from sun exposure while also keeping it hydrated.
Additionally, vitamin C serums and retinol creams can be used in combination to achieve further results and protect against photoaging.
Nonsurgical Neck Wrinkle Treatments
In-office treatments can produce effective results in reducing the appearance of neck wrinkles and do not require invasive surgery.
Dermal fillers are a versatile treatment to reduce lines and wrinkles in various areas of the body. Fillers often contain a gel-like solution of hyaluronic acid (HA) which is injected into the areas where skin appears wrinkled.
HA reduces the appearance of wrinkles by increasing the skin’s volume, while also providing additional moisture to the area.
Dermal fillers are one of the most popular nonsurgical treatments for facial aesthetics. A survey conducted in 2018 by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery found 1.6 million dermal tissue filler procedures were performed that year in the United States alone.
However, filler injections are not entirely without risk. “There are a lot of vital structures in the neck,” says Dr. Fiorillo. “You have to be very careful when injecting.”
Ultrasound energy can be used to stimulate the production of collagen deep within the skin tissue. Directed at the areas of wrinkled skin on the neck, these treatments result in a reduced appearance of wrinkles, with improvement becoming noticeable around 90 days after the procedure.
Intradermal radiofrequency uses an electrical current directed to the affected areas of skin. The electrical current tightens the skin while stimulating collagen production, resulting in a smoother appearance.
Radiofrequency procedures rarely cause side effects, and typically require little to no downtime. For these reasons, Dr. Fiorillo finds this procedure to be one of the safest and most effective treatment options available for neck wrinkles.
Laser resurfacing is a treatment that involves reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles by using a laser which penetrates the skin to stimulate the body’s healing process. This encourages the creation of fresh skin cells and has proven successful in reducing the appearance of neck wrinkles.
Laser procedures do, however, pose certain risks to the fragile skin of the neck area. “Neck skin is thinner than facial skin,” says Dr. Fiorillo, “and the laser settings have to be lower to avoid causing unwanted tissue damage.”
Face and neck exercises are a method of preventing wrinkles with moderately effective results. Neck exercises work by tightening and firming the surrounding muscles. By performing these exercises daily, you can help your skin appear firmer over time.
Improving your posture helps prevent lines and creases from appearing on your neck. Reduce the amount of time spent looking down at screens and adjust your pillow height to ensure your head does not remain in a downward position for extended periods of time.
Staying hydrated throughout the day is beneficial for your skin. Hydrated skin has been reported to feel softer and smoother, which is beneficial for those seeking to prevent the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
Diet also has an effect on skin’s appearance. A report published in 2016 in the Journal of Dermatological Science reported that a high intake of vitamin C, legumes and vegetables was related to a lower risk of skin wrinkling, while diets high in meat and dairy had adverse effects on the appearance of skin.
To prevent neck wrinkles from developing, there are a number of lifestyle changes and precautionary measures you can take.
Apply sunscreen daily, adopt a skin care routine using products containing anti-aging ingredients and perform frequent neck exercises. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption; stay hydrated and maintain a healthy diet. These are all effective, preventative measures you can take against lines and wrinkles.
However, for existing neck wrinkles, a choice of noninvasive, in-office treatments are available that offer effective treatment for reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. These treatments include dermal fillers, ultrasound, radiofrequency and laser resurfacing.
Surgery is also an option to reduce the appearance of neck wrinkles. Typically, surgery involves lifting of the skin in areas where wrinkling is apparent. However, this procedure can be costly, and recovery can take much longer than nonsurgical alternatives.
- Desmond J. Tobin. Introduction to skin aging. Journal of Tissue Viability, Volume 26, Issue 1, 2017, Pages 37-46, ISSN 0965-206X. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtv.2016.03.002
- Marionnet, C., Tricaud, C., & Bernerd, F. (2014). Exposure to non-extreme solar UV daylight: spectral characterization, effects on skin and photoprotection. International journal of molecular sciences, 16(1), 68–90. doi:10.3390/ijms16010068
- American Academy of Dermatology. (n.d.) Sunscreen FAQs. aad.org/media/stats/prevention-and-care/sunscreen-faqs
- Rodan, K., Fields, K., Majewski, G., & Falla, T. (2016). Skincare Bootcamp: The Evolving Role of Skincare. Plastic and reconstructive surgery. Global open, 4(12 Suppl Anatomy and Safety in Cosmetic Medicine: Cosmetic Bootcamp), e1152. doi:10.1097/GOX.0000000000001152
- Gehring, W. (2004), Nicotinic acid/niacinamide and the skin. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 3: 88-93. doi:10.1111/j.1473-2130.2004.00115.x
- Tran, D., Townley, J. P., Barnes, T. M., & Greive, K. A. (2014). An antiaging skin care system containing alpha hydroxy acids and vitamins improves the biomechanical parameters of facial skin. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 8, 9–17. doi:10.2147/CCID.S75439
- Knott, A., Achterberg, V., Smuda, C., Mielke, H., Sperling, G., Dunckelmann, K., … Blatt, T. (2015). Topical treatment with coenzyme Q10-containing formulas improves skin’s Q10 level and provides antioxidative effects. BioFactors (Oxford, England), 41(6), 383–390. doi:10.1002/biof.1239
- Pullar, Juliet M.; Carr, Anitra C.; Vissers, Margreet C. M. (2017) The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. mdpi.com/2072-6643/9/8/866/htm
- Philippe Humbert, Loriane Louvrier, Philippe Saas and Céline Viennet (November 5th 2018). Vitamin C, Aged Skin, Skin Health [Online First], IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.81268
- Nikolis, A., & Enright, K. M. (2018). Evaluating the role of small particle hyaluronic acid fillers using micro-droplet technique in the face, neck and hands: a retrospective chart review. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 11, 467–475. doi:10.2147/CCID.S175408
- American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. (n.d.) ASDS Survey on Dermatologic Procedures. asds.net/medical-professionals/practice-resources/asds-survey-on-dermatologic-procedures
- Fabi, Sabrina G. MD; Goldman, Mitchel P. MD; Dayan, Steven H. MD; Gold, Michael H. MD; Kilmer, Suzanne L. MD; Hornfeldt, Carl S. PhD. (2015) A Prospective Multicenter Pilot Study of the Safety and Efficacy of Microfocused Ultrasound With Visualization for Improving Lines and Wrinkles of the Décolleté. doi:10.1097/DSS.0000000000000322
- Bencini, Pier Luca; Tourlaki, Athanasia; Galimberti, Michela; Pellacani, Giovanni. (2014) Non-ablative fractionated laser skin resurfacing for the treatment of aged neck skin. https://doi.org/10.3109/09546634.2014.933765
- Alam M, Walter AJ, Geisler A, et al. Association of Facial Exercise With the Appearance of Aging. JAMA Dermatol. 2018;154(3):365–367. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2017.5142
- Mac‐Mary, S. , Creidi, P. , Marsaut, D. , Courderot‐Masuyer, C. , Cochet, V. , Gharbi, T. , Guidicelli‐Arranz, D. , Tondu, F. and Humbert, P. (2006), Assessment of effects of an additional dietary natural mineral water uptake on skin hydration in healthy subjects by dynamic barrier function measurements and clinic scoring. Skin Research and Technology, 12: 199-205. doi:10.1111/j.0909-752X.2006.00160.x
- Krutmann J, Bouloc A, Sore G, Bernard BA, Passeron T. (2016) The skin aging exposome. J Dermatol Sci. 2017 Mar;85(3):152-161. doi:10.1016/j.jdermsci.2016.09.015