My mother used to tell me, "Take care of your neck as that will be the one part of your body that really shows your age."
I never really understood what she meant—until one day I started noticing the little extra fold tucked under my chin... and the ring lines building up around my neck...!
Most of us don't pay attention to our neck, unlike other parts of our body, until it is too late.
If you’re reading this, you may be suffering from a mild to serious form of turkey neck and trying to figure out best solution(s) that will work for you. The good news is, there are a variety of options available (including non-surgical!), which we’ll get into in-depth here, and also lay out different treatment options for different types of turkey neck and crepey skin, as well as how to prevent it from happening.
First, What Is Turkey Neck?
Turkey neck generally refers to the sagging of neck skin that occurs when collagen and elastin are not as robust as they used to be, and your skin and muscle lose their ability to stretch and stay tight. Very often lines, crepey skin, and folds form around the neck, that look like rings which deepen over time.
Collagen and elastin are both proteins that keep skin firm and tight everywhere on our body, including our neck, helping it to stay bouncy and allowing it to spring back easily when stretched. As we age, collagen and elastin begin to deteriorate, and production of new collagen and elastin slows dramatically, resulting in loss of firmness that eventually makes skin loosen and begin to sag. Loss of these two “youth proteins” is also what causes our skin to develop wrinkles.
When neck skin begins to sag and develop wrinkles, it also starts to resemble the “fleshy wattle” on a turkey’s throat. Turkey neck may be confused with crepey skin, but they’re actually not the same!
Crepey skin is thin skin that has lost elasticity and developed the appearance of wrinkled paper. It is also caused by the breakdown of elastin fibers and can be greatly accelerated by sun damage.
Now that you know what turkey neck entails, let’s talk about what causes it.
What Causes Turkey Neck?
1. The Skin On Your Neck Is Very Thin
Your neck skin has a different cell composition than the skin on other parts of your body.
“Neck skin is different. The dermis is thinner and more prone to wrinkling,” says dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman.
“When you don’t have a thick dermis, there isn’t as much collagen in the skin, and all the support to keep it from wrinkling.” Engelman says your neck skin is about as delicate as the skin on your eyelids.
2. Your Neck is Oil-Free Naturally
Your neck is missing what Dr. Engelman calls “nature’s moisturizer”: Oil. This naturally produced oil is what gives our skin moisture and that youthful look.
Dermatologist Dr. Dan Belkin explains, “The neck has fewer sebaceous glands, which secrete oil. People with more sebaceous glands have better wound healing and fewer signs of aging.”
Simply put, moisturized or oiled-up skin helps to smooth out dry skin and minimize the appearance of lines and winkles.
3. Aging Results In Loss of Collagen
No one is exempt from aging nor the reality that, as you get older, the body produces fewer and fewer substances that contribute to youthful-looking skin (including collagen, elastin and skin's natural oil).
There’s also the loss of fat and thinning of skin (which results in the appearance of wrinkles and sagging) as well as dryness, which also causes wrinkles (hence the importance of moisturizers).
Collagen is what keeps skin taut and stretchy. Without collagen, we’d all have loose skin that wouldn’t be able to bounce back. It would hang loose and stretched-out. Unfortunately, our body produces less collagen as we age, with collagen production decreasing dramatically around age 30. Even worse, after age 30, we start to lose collagen at the rate of 1-2% every year. The only way to fight this loss is by supplementing collagen to replenish our body's own collagen.
4. Loss of Elastin
Elastin is a protein that forms elastic connective tissue in the body. It helps maintain firmness of skin, keeping it springy and bouncy (having the ability to snap back when stretched – this is how it’s differentiated from collagen).
Like collagen, however, elastin naturally deteriorates as we age, but it can also be degraded by chronic sun exposure, specifically UV-A exposure. (UV-A rays are the ones that cause skin aging, as opposed to UV-B rays, which cause the skin to burn and turn red.)
As we lose elastin, we also lose that important 'snap-back' ability, which is essential in preventing the sagging that characterizes turkey neck. You can see why exercising proper sun protection can potentially help prevent this issue.
5. Sun Exposure
Have you noticed those who are often out in the sun have more wrinkles and sagging skin showing up on their neck and décolleté?
You can probably tell by now that sun exposure is a major cause for this extrinsic aging. Extrinsic aging refers to outside influences on aging, as opposed to genetics.
Sun exposure (UV rays) results in oxidative stress, the imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals, unstable atoms that cause cell damage, destroy collagen and elastin. This damage to skin cells causes skin to wrinkle and droop.
We hate to say it, but our diets can certainly affect the aging process. Diets rich in high fat, trans fat, bad sugar, and alcohol further damage skin collagen and elastin and can contribute to accelerating skin aging. This rapid aging effect can show up sooner around the neck than on our face.
How Do You Deal With Serious Forms of Turkey Neck?
A serious form of turkey neck involves excessive drooping and sagging, that may require surgery.
Drooping Skin Under Chin
Folding Skin Around Neck
Dr. Sullivan explains that some people have fat underneath the muscle, which is usually a hereditary condition. KYBELLA® and other less invasive options can’t get to that deep fat, so surgery is best.
Invasive surgery involves actually cutting the skin and removing the excess, sagging skin. It will often leave a scar, though not necessarily a prominent one. It can also be costly, averaging a few thousand dollars, but it will make the most dramatic difference in appearance.
Less Invasive Treatments For Turkey Necks
For those of you who might be considering a non-invasive form of surgery, the good news is there are more options available now, depending on your needs and budget.
We share the most effective non-surgical neck lift options below. Before you make any decision to move forward with any one of them, please make sure to do your research and find a good doctor who will deliver the results you hope to see.
Botox is an injection that can tighten skin. It works by temporarily tightening the neck muscles that have gone lax. It doesn’t require any recovery time and can last several months. You will need to continue to maintain a regular injection schedule to keep the skin continuously firm. Regular injections can also help prevent further sagging and wrinkling.
This minimally invasive technique involves tightening skin using barbed threads. These threads are placed inside the skin. Complications are typically quite mild and few in number.
Hyo Neck Lift
This is a newer type of surgery that results in skin tightening. In one study involving ten patients, the Hyo neck lift was considered a success, with patients expressing satisfaction six months post-op.
Laser treatments can also help reduce the appearance of turkey neck by tightening skin. Laser treatments work by heating and tightening skin, which can have a mildly beneficial effect on turkey neck.
This is a recently FDA-approved non-invasive procedure. It involves ultrasound imaging and delivering ultrasonic energy at the right temperature in the right location, which in turn triggers the creation of new collagen, while also boosting the weakened collagen. Results will typically last up to one year.
How To Tighten Neck Skin Without Surgery
How to get rid of turkey neck without surgery? If you have a mild form of turkey neck or feel that your neck is beginning to lose its youthful look and lines are beginning to form, the best solution is to treat your neck from the outside-in (topical) and inside-out (internal) to slow down and prevent it from aging further.
1. Topical Turkey Neck Treatments
So often we diligently moisturize our face, but neglect our neck. It doesn’t really make sense, since the neck is just as important, and considering that neck skin is typically thinner than the skin on your face, it stands to reason you’d want to take good care of it.
Using the right moisturizers, creams and serums that contain clinically proven ingredients can help improve the appearance of a nascent turkey neck.
Here are 2 of our favorite creams and serums
Strivectin® TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream PLUS – Consistently voted one of the best neck creams, Strivectin’s TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream is full of innovative ingredients to give you a tighter, younger-looking neck. It features the trademarked Gravitite®-CF Lifting Complex and the patented NIA-114 technology, both of which work together to help fade away discoloration and sun spots, tighten and firm saggy skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. In consumer studies conducted by the manufacturer, 90% of users reported having firmer skin on the neck after eight weeks of regular use.
Emma Hardie® Lift & Sculpt, Firming Neck Treatment Serum – This serum features a variety of skin tightening ingredients that can help revitalize the skin on your neck. This serum contains Neodermyl® which helps to promote elastin in the skin, according to the manufacturer. As a bonus, it comes with a metallic applicator that easily applies the serum all over your neck and provides a cooling effect.
Occasional Neck Mask or Silicon Gel Patch
Silicone Gel Patch – This is a relatively new treatment option for turkey neck. It involves placing medical grade silicone gel patches on your neck while you sleep. These patches provide deep hydration that might help soften wrinkles. They also provide a compression effect to further tighten lax skin.
As a final note, keep in mind that topical treatments can only do so much since they don't penetrate deep into the skin dermis to stimulate and restore collagen. Hence they won’t fix deep wrinkles or heavy sagging, nor are they a long-term solution since collagen loss is a gradual and on-going process as you age.
2. Best Turkey Neck Treatment and Prevention – Restoring Collagen From Within
Turkey neck wouldn’t be an issue if we didn’t lose collagen and elastin from the simple act of aging and from environmental exposure to the sun and pollution. Alas, that is our lot in life, but we can fight it! This is where supplements come in.
The Best Collagen Supplements can go a long way in helping restore lost collagen and improve skin elasticity — and they’re an efficient solution to turkey neck whether you’ve invested in surgery, are trying to prevent its manifestation or using topical treatments. (Think of supplements as the booster that takes proactive action to keep your neck “running smoothly.”)
How Taking Collagen Helps Tighten Neck Skin and Promote A Youthful-Looking Neck, Naturally
Taking the right collagen supplement (with a high potency, premium formulation) can help improve skin elasticity, and this has been shown to be true in clinical studies.
In one study featuring 69 women aged 35 to 55, a daily oral intake of collagen supplements showed “statistically significant higher skin elasticity levels in elderly women.” Increased skin elasticity results in skin that is firmer and less likely to sag.
Another study showed similar results, showing “improvement in collagen fiber organization” in the skin and improving elasticity. Participants in the study also reported that they felt their skin hydration and elasticity were improved.
Taut® Premium Collagen Intense Transformation Program
Taut® Premium Collagen Intense Transformation is voted the best liquid collagen supplementation program that can help restore collagen to your skin, and firm, lift, tone, and hydrate your skin from the inside-out. After this program, you will look years younger, which can include reducing the appearance of turkey neck.
Based on 400+ reviews, customers have all shown positive results within 3-8 weeks, and they all love what they see.
Here is the 'before and after' picture from one customer who drank Taut® Premium Collagen Advanced Formula for 4 weeks.
You can see the deep lines around her neck have almost disappeared after 4 weeks and her neck looks more youthful.
What also makes this program so great is the ease of use and effectiveness, without the cost of surgical treatments.
Taut® Collagen Intense Transformation contains 24 bottles Taut® Premium Advanced Formula Drinks (one customer described them as her "delicious miracle youth nectar") that you drink every night before bed for at least 3 weeks. It works on your face, body, and of course your neck!
What makes Taut® Collagen Transformation Program so effective compared to other collagen products?
It is designed and formulated to help restore aging skin. It features high potency 13,000mg premium-grade marine collagen peptides, along with six other active ingredients, in each tiny bottle (1.7oz) to help restore elasticity, hydration, and firmness, while reducing skin sag and fine lines. Skin will appear more supple, lifted and toned.
Not just collagen in each bottle, other ingredients include marine elastin peptides, hyaluronic acid, grape seed extract, vitamin C and DNA — all designed to restore youthful skin and slow down signs of aging.
Elastin peptides help with restoring elasticity, hyaluronic acid helps with moisturizing and plumping, grape seed extract is a powerful antioxidant that scavenges free radicals to prevent further damage, and vitamin C helps with stimulating collagen production. Finally, DNA sourced from salmon also helps with mitigating the effects of free radicals.
New Beauty Editors also featured Taut® Collagen in the 2018 Fall Beauty Report.
Even if you’re already using a neck cream, or have smoothed out your skin at a dermatologist’s office, this amazing collagen skin beauty supplement can help bolster results (or at the very least, prevent the turkey neck from coming back quickly).
Learn more about Taut® Collagen Intense Transformation Programs or see more before and after pictures
Other Steps You Can Take To Prevent and Minimize Turkey Neck
If you’re not yet suffering from turkey neck, or just beginning to see a very mild form building up, you should definitely take the necessary precautions to prevent it or slow it down.
After all, it’s much easier to prevent a problem than treat it ("An ounce of prevention..."). There are many ways to prevent wrinkling and sagging of skin, as long as you are very pro-active and persistent.
Besides supplementing your skin with the best collagen supplements, here are other steps you can take to prevent and reduce signs of turkey neck.
1. Neck-Firming Exercises
Lie on a bed and hang your head over the edge.
Use your neck muscles to slowly lift your head as high as you can.
Repeat five times (stop if you experience neck pain).
The Kiss Technique:
Sit on a firm surface with your back straight.
Close your mouth and lift your head, pointing your chin toward the ceiling.
Pout your lips like you’re kissing someone. Repeat 20 times.
The Chew Technique:
Sit on a firm surface with your back straight.
Lift your head, pointing your chin toward the ceiling.
With your lips closed, make a chewing motion. Repeat 20 times.
2. Sun Protection
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to practice effective sun protection. Many people neglect to do this on a daily basis, but the truth is that even just 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure can do damage, because this damage is often a result of cumulative sun exposure. Use sunscreen with a rating of at least SPF-30 every day, rain or shine (sunlight penetrates clouds, so you’re not safe if it’s overcast).
3. Antioxidant-Rich Diet
Antioxidants exist in a lot of different foods. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help to prevent free radical damage from within. Free radicals are one of the key factors in the aging process, damaging cells throughout the body, including in the skin.
Blueberries, beans, cranberries, artichokes, blackberries, pecans, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, red delicious apples, russet potatoes, and prunes are all antioxidant-rich foods that you’d benefit from including in your diet. A nightly snack of blueberries before bed...? Why not!
The golden rule is, eat the rainbow! Monica, our special guest dietician has some good tips on what to eat for healthy skin.
4. Minimize Alcohol & Sugar Intake
Alcohol and sugar can degrade collagen in the skin. In fact, sugar causes glycation, a process that forms advanced glycation end-products. These glycation end-products in turn damage proteins, like collagen and elastin. These proteins ultimately become weakened and less elastic. On top of it all, this process creates free radicals (12). Alcohol, on the other hand, causes dehydration, sapping skin of moisture and luminosity. It can accelerate aging and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
5. Nosh on the Best Skin-Friendly Foods
Don't forget your skin needs good oil to keep it full and plump. Skin loving foods that can help promote youthful skin includes:
- Fatty Fish that can improve skin include salmon and tuna (rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help boost skin hydration).
- Avocados, with their healthy fats, can also boost hydration and have been shown to help improve wrinkle appearance.
- Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E, a great antioxidant itself.
- Red or yellow bell peppers are high in vitamin C, an important factor in helping the body synthesize collagen.
6. Take Antioxidant Supplements
Like collagen supplements, antioxidant supplements can also help promote good skin health, help scavenge free radicals and prevent the further degradation of collagen and elastin. Taking antioxidants can also help prevent and repair photo-damage (sun damage that can accelerate aging and cause an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants).
A powerful antioxidant, called 'oligomeric proanthocyanidin compounds' ("OPC's"), derived from French Pine Bark is considered especially effective in helping to neutralize free radicals and protect against photo-damage.
Studies have shown that French pine bark supplementation can reduce the signs of photo-damage, including reducing dark-colored age spots that can dull and otherwise mar a complexion.
This antioxidant supplement combined with collagen supplements can potentially reinvigorate and rejuvenate skin, reducing the most obvious signs of turkey neck and helping to prevent them in the first place.
Try Taut® Anti-Oxy Foxy Kit - this amazing bundle combines the synergistic power of Taut Collagen Advanced Formula Drinks + Dr. Masquelier French Pine Bark to help restore your aging skin and body.
As you can see, for many of us, 'turkey neck' in some form or other might be inevitable, but you can slow it down or minimize it with a healthy, outside-in, inside-out approach. Just focus on shielding yourself from the biggest triggers and replenishing your body with collagen and elastin—and leave the 'turkey' to your local deli!