Turkey Neck

Aging affects skin firmness all over the body, but there are certain areas where sagging skin is more noticeable. The under chin and neck area are locations where people often see changes in their skin with age. This development of sagging and wrinkled skin is often known as “turkey neck.” Even though turkey neck is unavoidable, cosmetic treatments can help by tightening the skin and reducing the appearance of wrinkles and sagging. The risk of turkey neck depends on a person’s genetics, as well as other lifestyle factors that affect the collagen production and elasticity in the skin.

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What is Turkey Neck?

Turkey neck, which is also sometimes called a person’s “wattle,” refers to the change in appearance and texture of the skin in the neck and throat area. Aging causes a loss of collagen and elasticity, often resulting in skin that hangs down in a wrinkled manner in the throat. It’s a common sign of aging, and most older adults will experience turkey neck later in life. The simplest way to explain turkey neck is because of how gravity pulls on the skin over the years. The effects of gravity add up over time, causing the skin to sag and loosen. Other factors can affect the development of turkey neck, including genetics and natural loss of skin elasticity with age.

Turkey neck also develops because of how the neck muscles change in older adults. These muscles can start to separate and weaken, exacerbating the appearance of sagging skin in the affected area. It’s common for people to be embarrassed about the appearance of their turkey neck. They may feel self-conscious about their sagging skin. The good news is that there are many treatment options to address this concern, with both non-surgical and surgical solutions to tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of a turkey neck. The best solution is to schedule a consultation with an experienced provider to learn more about potential treatment options.

Common Types of Turkey Neck?

A turkey neck can appear in different ways, depending on a person’s genetics and the way the skin starts to sag with age. As the neck muscles begin to weaken and collagen is lost from the skin, it changes the overall appearance of the next. This combination results in a turkey neck, and there are several different categories depending on the overall appearance.

  • Loose or Sagging Skin

    One of the most common issues with a turkey neck is that the skin becomes loose and starts to sag. As a person ages, the skin starts to lose elasticity, changing the way the skin sits on the surface of the neck. One reason for the loss of elasticity is because of reduced collagen production in the later years of life.

    As the skin sags, it causes the development of wrinkles and folds around the neck. The drooping, sagging skin is very noticeable to other people. While some treatments can help with sagging skin, this condition is often irreversible without surgery.

  • Neck Bands or Cords

    Another type of turkey neck is when the sagging skin starts to form into cords or bands. The weakened platysma muscles (located in the neck) can result in the appearance of vertical bands. Often, these bands are more noticeable when a person is speaking, or the face is moving in different facial expressions.

    As the neck thins with age due to muscle loss, the hyperactivity of the platysma muscle strands changes the appearance of the skin. The rope-like bands resemble a turkey neck, especially when the muscle moves or contracts. Even though these bands are most noticeable when the face and neck are in motion, eventually, the bands are visible even when a person is at rest.

  • Double Chin

    Many people with a turkey neck also have problems with a double chin. This issue is caused by sagging skin under the chin and excess fat deposits that create a fullness or bulging appearance below the chin area.

    Double chins are accentuated depending on the position of the person’s neck and head. You might start noticing the appearance of a double chin when you look in the mirror or see photos of yourself.

    Having a double chin can exaggerate the appearance of a turkey neck due to muscle laxity and loose skin.

What Causes Turkey Neck?

The most common cause of a turkey neck is aging, although many other factors can contribute to this issue. The natural aging process affects skin elasticity, leading to issues such as a turkey neck and other problems. Other contributions to turkey neck include genetics, sun exposure, poor lifestyle habits, weight changes, and weakening muscles.

  • Aging

    The older a person gets, the higher the risk of developing a turkey neck. Aging is a factor that contributes to the development of sagging skin, wrinkles, and more. Most people experience a loss of skin elasticity and reduced collagen, causing the skin to sag and hang in the neck area.

  • Neck Muscle Weakness

    When the neck muscles become weaker, it increases the appearance of turkey neck. As a person ages, these muscles start to weaken and separate. As a result, it changes how skin hangs in the area. Often, weakened muscles cause the development of bands around the neck, which contributes to the overall appearance of having a turkey neck.

  • Lifestyle factors

    Daily life choices play an undeniable role in the aging process. Dietary choices, sun exposure, hormone balancing, stress levels, and other factors contribute to how quickly the signs of aging start to show. If you want to reduce the risk of sagging skin and turkey neck, avoid smoking and enjoy a healthy diet with clean protein and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

  • Sun exposure

    The more time you spend in the sun, the more damage it will cause to your skin. The sun has UV rays that damage the skin, resulting in problems such as wrinkles, fine lines, sagging, and more. Turkey neck happens due to a loss of skin elasticity; sun exposure can contribute to this loss of elasticity.

Procedures That Remedy Turkey Neck

If you have a turkey neck and you want to improve your appearance, the good news is that cosmetic treatments are available to correct this problem. Several procedures are available to remove the excess skin, lift the area, and restore a youthful appearance. You can choose from non-surgical options as well as surgical interventions, depending on your goals and the severity of your turkey neck

  • Neck Lift

    During a neck lift procedure, the surgeon removes excess skin and fat. Additionally, the underlying muscles are tightened, then everything is repositioned to create the ideal shape and appearance for the neck. Patients find that they have a more contoured and youthful neck after recovering from this treatment.

    Find doctors who offer Neck Lift
  • Ultherapy

    This non-invasive procedure uses ultrasound energy focused on the skin in the neck area. The energy has a positive effect by tightening and lifting the sagging skin. It helps by stimulating collagen production in the deeper layers of the skin. The results are gradual because it takes time for collagen to develop. The good news is that this minimally-invasive treatment requires no downtime.

    Find doctors who offer Ultherapy
  • Neck Liposuction

    Because excess fat can contribute to a turkey neck, treatments to eliminate the fat can be helpful. One solution is to have liposuction in the neck area. This treatment uses suction to pull out the unwanted fat through small incisions made in the target area. Liposuction is effective for immediate results, but the problem can return if the patient gains weight and fat deposits return after the treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

It can be frustrating to look in the mirror and see a turkey neck, which is why many patients wonder why their skin is sagging. The truth is that a variety of factors can contribute to the development of turkey neck. Anything that causes wrinkles and sagging skin can be a cause of this condition.

The most obvious reason why turkey neck develops is because of the aging process. As a person gets older, they lose collagen, and the skin changes shape due to loss of elasticity. Genetic factors can also play a role, with some people having a higher predisposition to turkey neck. Additionally, weight fluctuations can be another factor, causing the stretched skin to hang loose after the excess weight is gone.

Yes, a variety of non-surgical treatments can be used to tighten the skin and minimize the appearance of a turkey neck. Examples include ultrasound therapy, radiofrequency skin tightening, and injectables to reduce fat in the target area.

Radiofrequency therapy is a popular treatment because it can help to tighten the skin and boost collagen at the same time. Ultrasound therapy can also be effective since it can tighten and lift skin tissue.

Keep in mind that these treatments don’t offer the same dramatic effects that can be achieved with surgery. But many patients choose these treatments to slow the aging process and help with mild or moderate turkey neck.

If you want to eliminate a turkey neck, then surgery is often the best option. For example, your cosmetic surgeon might recommend a neck lift, known as a lower rhytidectomy, which removes the excess skin and tightens the underlying muscles at the same time. The goal is to improve the contour of the neck. A lower facelift is another option that can improve the appearance of the face and neck at the same time.

Sometimes, these surgical treatments are paired with other solutions, such as liposuction, to remove excess fat deposits located in the neck area. Each patient is unique, which is why the surgeon will recommend a personalized treatment plan to achieve the ideal results – based on your preferences and goals.

As with any surgical treatment, you will need to plan time for recovery after this treatment. The recovery period depends on what type of procedure is performed, your age, and overall health. Most patients have bruising and swelling immediately after the surgery, but these side effects will start to subside within a few weeks.

Often, patients can return to light daily activities and work within 1 – 2 weeks. But it’s necessary to avoid any strenuous activities during this recovery time. You will need several months before full recovery is achieved. Always follow the surgeon’s recommendations for post-operative care to prevent complications and promote fast and effective healing.

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