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Let’s Talk about Necks – Part 1

I realized that I have a lot to say about necks, so this will be a two-part series.  In the first part, I will try to explain why aging skin on the neck is so difficult to treat and what we have done in the past.  The second part will be where I think the future is headed.

During Oscar season I think a lot about the aging neck.  If some of the wealthiest and most beautiful people in the world wear elegant scarves to cover up their aging necks, what chance do the rest of us have? I get asked a lot about how to help the aging neck in my office and last week was no exception.  It made me think about all the things we can do to help and yet it also made me feel a bit discouraged that we should be trying to do better.

First of all, the aging neck is a very challenging area to treat.  It has naturally thin skin, it takes a beating from the sun and perfume staining (especially on the sides) and it sits atop of major arteries, veins, tendons, ligaments, the thyroid gland and oh yeah… your throat.  There are also genetic issues that cause fat deposits leading to a double chin in combination with the loose, hanging skin that slowly gets worse over the years (think turkey neck, turkey waddle-gobble gobble).  And in the words of my colleague, Dr. Mauricio De Maio….. “It’s really not your fault!”

I don’t care if you are a plastic surgeon or the world’s best medical aesthetic specialist, it is difficult to look someone in the eye and say we can definitely, 100 percent, make your neck markedly improved and you will see the value. Plastic surgeons can pull the loose skin back, but it exposes more of the tendons and lean-ness of the neck and can make the skin look thinner despite reducing the sagginess of the skin.  This is similar to why Juvéderm still plays an important role in facelifts and often can replace a facelift if injected by an expert in the right quantities.

It often comes down to a question of value.  Can we make enough change in the neck with traditional treatments of laser skin tightening or combined with IPL that it is worth it? Using lasers like our Sciton BBL, we can definitely make the skin look better by helping with discoloration like red spots and brown spots and uneven tone.

As for tightening, I have a rule of thirds because we just can’t be that aggressive with the area due my earlier points.  1/3 of customers will see quite marked improvement with demonstrated lift and tightening of the skin after skin tightening and laser procedures.  1/3 will get a decent result with some improvement and are generally happy.  1/3 honestly won’t see much of anything.  We know based on biopsy that collagen is being stimulated by the laser but sometimes you just don’t see any lift or appreciable tightening.  We use Sciton® Joule SkinTyte II™ and Profractional™ XC resurfacing and our approach with SkinTyte has recently changed, so hopefully we can improve those odds. We know it often needs a commitment to 5-6 treatments and we never over-promise results. This is still a lot cheaper than a $14,000 neck lift and does not come with the surgical risks, but it has its limitations and lack of reliability that we hope can improve in the future.

So, best advice is to take care of that neck with fanatical sun protection and avoidance and early minor treatments to keep the collagen and healthy coloration of the neck.  Also, don’t forget to apply your quality face products on the neck.  SkinMedica® TNS formulations at an early stage are favourites.

In the next post, I will discuss the future and where things are headed and what our experiences have been thus far.  The only way to get an early glimpse is to come in for a consult and we can walk you through the leading edge of helping that troublesome neck or even better, preventing the “I am starting to look like my mother” look.  Sorry mom.

Contact ReNue today to schedule an appointment to address the aging skin on your neck.

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