Turkey neck. The wattle. That little extra skin that makes us cringe and hate pictures of ourselves from the side. You know what I’m talking about, and I’m not referring to the turkey neck on your Thanksgiving bird. I’m talking about the looseness that we all hate about our necks. Women (and men) over 50 are always asking, “What can we do to get rid of the wrinkles, and how do we fix our necks without going under the knife?” Well, there are a number of non-surgical options you can consider, so let’s take a look and see if there’s a solution for you.
As always, the number one piece of advice is to wear a moisturizer with SPF every morning, like Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair with SPF 30 and retinol. Use a moisturizer like Olay Total Effects Night Firming Cream or L’Oreal Paris Perfect Hydra-Nutrition in the evening. Both are only about $20.00 at the drugstore and typically work as well as the pricier options.
For example, spending $400.00 on a jar of neck firming cream is not a good investment when you can pay about that same amount for a neurotoxin such as Botox©, Dysport©, and Xeomen©. And while the neurotoxins only last about three months, the expensive department store creams do not last much longer. You will definitely see a better tightening of the jawline with the neurotoxin than a cream, provided the person performing the treatment is familiar with injecting the neck.
Be Optimistic, But Still Realistic
Truth be told, there is no ‘home run’ anti-aging treatment for the neck like there is for treating the face. Even my patients who have a surgical neck lift are not completely happy. I think that it just speaks to the fact that treatments do not work as well on the neck as they do on the face; so, expectations need to be lowered. Having said that, there are some treatments that can improve the turkey neck.
The treatment I like best is Venus Freeze©, which is a procedure that is FDA-approved for loose skin on the lower jawline and neck. It uses radiofrequency and magnetic pulses to tighten the skin. Six treatments performed over six to twelve weeks (one treatment every week or every other week) are recommended. Afterward, getting a treatment every three to four months helps to maintain the improvement.
Treatment costs vary by location, not only geographically but based on the area of the body you want to be treated. Neck treatments cost approximately $200 to $300 per treatment, take about 25 minutes, are painless, and have minimal to no side effects or risks. But, does it work? Again, most patients (~70%) will see improvement, and if you are over 60, it may take twice as many treatments. If you have a double chin, it probably will not work. In patients with a double chin, combining the procedure with liposuction or Kybella will give you the best results.
There are some alternative treatments to Venus Freeze that give comparable results but utilize different methods. One, Exilis, also uses radiofrequency to tighten the skin. They differ in that while Venus Freeze seeks to reduce the size of your fat cells, Exilis actually works to destroy them.
Another comparable treatment is Venus Viva, which is a form of skin resurfacing. That means it uses tiny needles to create minuscule wounds on the skin. When your body heals them, it naturally repairs any signs of skin damage.
Finally, CoolScupting is typically more appropriate for patients that have targeted areas of the body that aren’t responding to diet and exercise, like the love handles. While an effective treatment for destroying fat cells in the body, CoolScupting doesn’t cause the skin to tighten, so it would be mostly ineffective on a turkey neck.
Thermage and Ultherapy
The other FDA-approved treatments on the market for tightening the neck are Thermage©, which uses radiofrequency, and Ultherapy©, which uses ultrasound. Both treatments can give results with just one treatment. Typically, about 70% of patients will see results, which means about 30% will not. When first introduced, Thermage© had a risk of fat atrophy (giving indentations), but newer protocols have reduced this risk.
Be forewarned that Ultherapy© is painful, and patients need to take pain and sedative medications before the procedure, and there is also a risk of swelling, redness, and bruising. Patients tend to see continuous improvement for up to six months after treatment and typically repeat the treatment on an annual basis.
Both Thermage© and Ultherapy© cost approximately $2,000.00, but that can vary depending on location.
To quote Valerie Monroe, former Beauty Director for Oprah magazine, “If your turkey neck is in full swing, neither lasers nor creams will make an appreciable difference. But, before you send your neck to the tailor, think long and hard about what people see when they look at you. Your magnificent eyes and delicious smile may render your neck way less noticeable than you think.”
Prime’s article on summer scarves looks pretty good, too. And if you haven’t already read it, you should check out Nora Ephron’s hilarious book, I Feel Bad About My Neck, and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman.