Some might say the eyes are the first area to show signs of aging, while others would argue that it’s the neck that starts showing your age first. The truth is that it varies from person to person. If your eyes are crinkly, you’ll probably focus on them first.
Just like with your eye area, there are a number of procedures that can give you a more youthful-looking neck. The treatment that’s right for you depends on how your neck is aging.
Botox for the Neck
Botox injections don’t only help reduce the appearance of crow’s feet or vertical frown lines on your forehead. The treatment can also be used on the neck, to reduce the look of neck bands, which are created when the platysma muscle protrudes, creating two cords up and down the neck.
The injections help relax the muscle, so that it doesn’t protrude. It’s not a permanent fix and the results will generally fade away after a few months. Since the neck is a delicate area and the platysma muscle is very thin, it’s important to find a surgeon who has plenty of experience using Botox on the neck.
Liposuction on the Neck
Sometimes extra fat in the neck area is what makes you look older. The excess fat hangs down, creating a double chin or a jowly appearance. One way to remove the unwanted fat is through neck liposuction.
Typically, liposuction of the neck is recommended if you have elastic skin and good muscle tone but are dealing with a considerable amount of unwanted fat in the area. Liposuction is a surgical procedure, so your doctor will review your medical history at the consultation to make sure you are healthy enough to withstand the surgery.
During liposuction, the surgeon will usually insert a thin tube into your neck, through a well-concealed, small incision. The fat is suctioned out through the tube. In many cases, the whole procedure takes less than hour. Most people are able to go back to work in a few days and many can get back to exercise and more strenuous activities after about two weeks.
If your droopy neck is due to loose muscle or excess skin, a neck lift might be a more appropriate surgery for you. The surgery can focus on the entire lower area of the face, as well as the neck, creating not only an improved neckline but also add youth to the jaw and mid-face. The procedure involves moving and repositioning the facial and neck muscles to create lift and to remove sagginess.
The neck lift procedure is more involved than neck liposuction. It can be performed on its own or along with liposuction, depending on the state of your neck. You’ll most likely be under general anesthesia or sedation during it. The incisions made during the neck lift are usually located in the hair line, so they can be covered up by your hairstyle. Typically, the surgery takes several hours to complete.
Since the procedure is more complicated and involved, the recovery can take some time. You’ll have stitches removed after a week and may need to take up to two weeks off from work. Any exercise or vigorous activity should be postponed until three weeks after the surgery.
Caring for Your Neck
Botox, liposuction and a neck lift will help reduce the signs of aging on your neck. But the procedures won’t stop the clock or keep your neck from aging. Nothing will, though you can take steps to protect your neck from external factors that contribute to aging and help it look youthful for longer.
If you’re not in the habit of using a lotion or moisturizer on your neck, it’s a good idea to start. The skin on your neck produces less collagen and other substances as you get older, just like the skin on your face does. The result is drier looking skin that’s more prone to wrinkles. Products that restore collagen or the increase cell turnover can help revitalize your neck.
It’s also a good idea to always wear a sunscreen on your neck. The sun’s rays can do just as much damage there as they can on your face.
Dr. Michael Schwartz is a double board certified facial plastic surgeon in Palm Beach, FL. To learn more about the ways you get a more youthful neck, contact his practice today for a consultation. To set up an appointment, call 561-655-5562.