With the number of facelifts declining and injectable procedures gaining in popularity, clinicians need a game plan for neck rejuvenation. Neck skin is thinner than facial skin and it lacks adnexal structures, so it tends to lose elasticity sooner but cannot tolerate more aggressive peels and laser. Here’s what I commonly suggest as minimally invasive approaches to reverse signs of neck aging.
1. The 10 minute, twice a day chewing gum exercise
Every morning and night, chew sugarless gum for at least 10 minutes. As simple as it sounds, chewing effectively exercises the floor of the mouth and all of the neck muscles. The neck is essentially a band of muscles, which start to get flabby and appear saggy when they are not used. Keep some gum in the car for the commute to work, or chew some at home when you watch TV at night – it will be worth it.
This exercise is not suggested for those who suffer from TMJ or other jaw issues. If your patient does suffer from jaw problems, have them raise their chin as far as possible and hold for a few seconds, relax and repeat twenty times.
2. Put some ‘pep’ on the neck
The first topical defense to prevent neck aging is to extend skincare regimens to the neck and chest area. Due to the delicate nature of neck skin, mild exfoliation is best, to slough away dead cells and allow for maximum penetration of products. Suggest multi-tasking formulas for neck and chest to your patients, since one or two products are generally all that is practical to apply to this area (compared to facial skin, where some patients will apply 4 or 5 products daily). Peptides are a great ingredient family for neck rejuvenation, since the small size of the molecules allows them deeper penetration and is more likely to result in visible skin tightening and firming. Lipids are another ingredient to look for in a neck and chest product, so look for linoleic acid, which can help to trap in hydration for six hours after a single application.
3. Plan a procedure for below the jawline
When you are doing a TCA, IPL, laser or other procedure that may too aggressive for neck skin, consider a milder procedure in that area. Agents like partially buffered AHAs or enzyme peels can produce visible improvement in the aging neck, especially when performed in a series of 4 to 6 treatments spaced one to two weeks apart.
*This client's neck has been rejuvenated and toned from using injectables.
About Loretta Ciraldo, MD, FAAD
Dr. Ciraldo is a Voluntary Professor of Dermatology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Since 1993, she has been CEO of CosMedical Technologies while maintaining a thriving cosmetic dermatology practice in South Florida. Dr. Ciraldo started her dermatology career in 1975, when she worked in the lab of John Parrish, MD, at Harvard Medical School studying the effects of UVA. She also worked with Dr. Fitzpatrick on the Fitzpatrick skin type system. Dr Ciraldo has been awarded the Florida Physician Communicator of the Year Award by the Florida Medical Association.