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Skincare 101: How to tighten neck skin

Learn about treatments that target skin sagging and promote elasticity.

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Dec 1, 2023 • 7 min read
Medically reviewed by Maria Borowiec, NB-BC
how to tighten neck skin
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Dec 1, 2023 • 7 min read
Medically reviewed by Maria Borowiec, NB-BC
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

In this article

What causes sagging skin on your neck?
More

The key takeaways

  • Sagging neck skin results from factors like aging, genetics, and external influences.

  • Non-surgical treatments like laser skin resurfacing and Botox, topical agents and alternative procedures like deoxycholic acid injections can help

  • Surgical neck lifts are also an effective neck rejuvenation option 

  • Consultation with a specialist is essential for personalized treatment selection.

Just like our facial skin, the skin on our neck also shows signs of aging as time passes—yet this area is often overlooked in skincare routines. Are you determined to find a way to regain a more youthful appearance in this often-neglected area? Well, good news: There are some steps you can take!

Let’s look at what causes sagging neck skin and explore the latest anti-aging neck treatments, ranging from topical solutions to professional procedures. 

What causes sagging skin on your neck?

So you’ve noticed the skin on your neck isn’t as tight as it used to be. First, don’t worry—it’s a common phenomenon. But why does this sagging happen in the first place? It’s a mix of a few factors! First, as we age, our skin loses its elasticity and collagen. That magical protein that keeps our skin looking fresh and bouncy starts to break down and lose its strength.¹ We lose about 1% of our collagen content every year.²

Our genes and hormones also play a role in creating sagging neck skin.³ Some of us are naturally predisposed to skin that sags earlier or more noticeably. Hormonal changes, especially as we age, can also affect our skin’s tightness. External factors like too much sun exposure, pollution, and even exposure to certain chemicals can speed up the sagging process.⁴ So, not only do you have to think about what’s happening on the inside, but you’ve also got to be cautious about what your skin is exposed to on the outside.

But don’t worry: With the right treatments, you can make the signs of aging less prominent. 

Treatments to tighten neck skin

Neck rejuvenation is a process that focuses on enhancing the appearance of your neck. It addresses issues like saggy neck skin, making it tighter and smoother.⁵ It also treats those visible neck muscle lines, commonly called platysmal bands. Finally, it works on refining the angle where the chin meets the neck, which can get less defined as we age. The goal is to give your neck a more youthful and refreshed look.⁶

Let’s explore some tried-and-true treatments to get you on the path to neck rejuvenation:

Laser skin resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing is the high-tech friend of anyone looking for a non-surgical yet effective way to tackle neck aging. 

Intrigued? Let’s get into the details. 

The procedure involves using a fractional CO2 laser, to zap away signs of aging.⁷ It targets the skin texture, aiming to smooth out wrinkles and tighten the skin. One study that treated 20 participants with this laser on their necks found that participants had noticeable improvement one month, and a year later. Their skin was firmer, sagging was significantly reduced, and those prominent necklines? Less visible.⁸ 

So, if you’re not keen on going under the knife and are looking for an alternative, laser skin resurfacing for the neck might be a possible option. 

But remember, always consult a specialist to discuss if this treatment is the right fit for you.

Botulinum toxin injection (Botox)

Botox can help to tighten saggy areas that are enhanced by visible platysmal bands, or the two muscles that are visible on the sides of the neck. It may also help to soften horizontal neck lines.⁹ Overall, it can possibly help to enhance the tightness and look of your neck’s skin. The good news is that Botox has generally been regarded as a safe and effective way to tackle these issues. Most patients report high satisfaction rates, and complications are relatively rare.¹⁰

But—and this is crucial—always consult a qualified dermatology provider before going through the treatment. A trained professional should only administer this procedure to ensure you’re getting the safest, most effective treatment possible.

Topical agents

If you’re not quite ready to dive into surgical lifts or injections, topical serums, and creams could be your go-to for neck rejuvenation. Let’s get into what science has to say about this.

A new serum and cream packed with hyaluronic acid and antioxidants were tested in one study. The results were fewer wrinkles, better skin elasticity, reduced pigmentation, and less redness and dryness.¹¹ The patient satisfaction scores were also through the roof!

The product with active ingredients also enhanced the skin’s collagen quality.¹² Collagen, as you might know, is the protein that gives our skin its structure and firmness. Improving its quality can be a game-changer for aging skin.

Aside from this formulation, other topical ingredients can also help tighten your neck skin, such as:¹³

  • Niacinamide (Vitamin B3): Niacinamide regulates cell metabolism, enhances skin elasticity, and reduces pigmentation, leading to smoother and firmer skin when applied topically.

  • Retinoids (Vitamin A Derivatives): Retinoids, including retinol and tretinoin, stimulate collagen production, can help reduce wrinkles, and promote skin firmness. Retinol, in particular, is commonly used in anti-aging skincare products.

  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): Vitamin C boosts collagen synthesis and protects against oxidative damage. Applied topically, it encourages firmer skin by promoting collagen production.

  • Sun Protection: Regular sunscreen use safeguards your skin from UV radiation, helping prevent collagen and elastin degradation, which helps preserve firmness.

So, if you’re looking for a non-invasive approach to making your neck look younger and healthier, topical agents with these ingredients could be a worthy addition to your skincare routine. Just remember, while the results may not be as immediate or dramatic as surgical options, they are a less invasive way to improve skin over time. It’s always best to consult a specialist to find out what will work best for you!

Alternative procedures

The beauty of modern science is that we have many treatment options! Let’s talk about a few that might pique your interest.

First up, we have fat-reducing deoxycholic acid injections.¹⁴ These can be done roughly every six weeks, but it’s advised not to have them more often than every four weeks due to possible side effects like edema (swelling caused by fluid retention). This treatment can target pockets of fat.

Next on the list is cold treatment or cryoablation, which involves freezing the fat cells, to reduce excess.¹⁵ This is typically done monthly until you reach your desired look. 

And then there’s heat treatment, often known as radiofrequency treatment.¹⁶ Unlike cryoablation, this is usually a single treatment. The procedure uses radiofrequency energy to reduce excess fat.

Remember, the golden rule for any treatment is to consult a specialist first. Your skin is unique, so what works wonders for someone else might not fit you best.

Neck lift

A neck lift may involve removing fat, tightening muscles, and rearranging the skin around your neck to reshape your neck and jawline.¹⁷ It’s a surgical procedure that aims to bring a firmer, more contoured look to your neck. 

This surgery involves general anesthesia, and recovery can take a few days to a couple of weeks depending on the intensity of the procedure. To consider this type of surgery, it’s necessary to have a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon.

Tips for firmer neck skin

To keep your neck as youthful and radiant as possible, start with a dedicated daily skincare routine focusing on boosting skin regeneration and elasticity.¹⁸ Extend that love to your neck just like you wouldn’t skip moisturizing your face. And speaking of your face—you’re already slathering it with sunscreen to protect against UV damage, so ensure your neck isn’t missing out on that sun protection. It’s just as susceptible to the signs of aging.¹⁹

Last, make sure you’re using high-quality products designed by dermatology experts to ensure your skin gets the love it deserves.

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FAQs

Is there a way to tighten skin under the neck?

Yes, there are various methods to address skin sagging under the neck. You can opt for a surgical procedure like a neck lift or non-surgical treatments like laser skin resurfacing or Botox injections. Topical creams and serums with retinoids, vitamin C, and niacinamide are also options that may help.

How do you fix a saggy neck?

You can fix a saggy neck through multiple avenues, such as neck lifts and laser skin resurfacing. Botox injections can be effective if you’re looking for a minimally invasive option with certain outcomes. Topical agents like creams and serums may also help improve skin texture and reduce wrinkles.

Can you tighten “turkey neck” without surgery?

Yes, you can address “turkey neck” without resorting to surgery. Treatments like laser skin resurfacing, Botox injections, and topical agents have shown promising results in firming saggy areas and improving overall skin texture.

How often should I opt for treatments like deoxycholic acid injections or cryoablation?

Deoxycholic acid injections can be done roughly every six weeks but not more often than every four weeks due to the risk of edema. Cryoablation is usually done monthly until you achieve your desired results.

What topical agents can I use for neck rejuvenation?

Topical agents like serums and creams containing hyaluronic acid and antioxidants can be an effective, non-invasive method for neck rejuvenation. In a study, these topical agents not only improved skin texture, wrinkles, and pigmentation but also enhanced the quality of collagen in the skin.²⁰ It’s a less invasive way to improve your skin condition gradually. Topicals such as retinoids, vitamin C, and niacinamide can also be effective.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Campos, L.D., et al. Collagen supplementation in skin and orthopedic diseases: A review of the literature. Heliyon. (2023, March 28).

  2. Ganceviciene, R., et al. Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermatoendocrinol. (2012, July 1).

  3. Ganceviciene, R., et al. Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermatoendocrinol. Ibid.

  4. Ganceviciene, R., et al. Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermatoendocrinol. Ibid.

  5. Pérez, P. and Hohman, M.H. Neck Rejuvenation. StatPearls. (2023, March 1).

  6. Pérez, P. and Hohman, M.H. Neck Rejuvenation. StatPearls. Ibid.

  7. Oram, Y, and Akkaya, A.D. Neck Rejuvenation with Fractional CO2 Laser: Long-term Results. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. (August 2014).

  8. Oram, Y, and Akkaya, A.D. Neck Rejuvenation with Fractional CO2 Laser: Long-term Results. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. Ibid.

  9. Pérez, P. and Hohman, M.H. Neck Rejuvenation. StatPearls. Ibid.

  10. Pérez, P. and Hohman, M.H. Neck Rejuvenation. StatPearls. Ibid.

  11. Boen, M., et al. A Prospective Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Clinical Trial Evaluating the Efficacy of a Novel Combination of Hyaluronic Acid Serum and Antioxidant Cream for Rejuvenation of the Aging Neck. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. (November 2020).

  12. Boen, M., et al. A Prospective Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Clinical Trial Evaluating the Efficacy of a Novel Combination of Hyaluronic Acid Serum and Antioxidant Cream for Rejuvenation of the Aging Neck. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. Ibid.

  13. Ganceviciene, R., et al. Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermatoendocrinol. Ibid.

  14. Pérez, P. and Hohman, M.H. Neck Rejuvenation. StatPearls. Ibid.

  15. Pérez, P. and Hohman, M.H. Neck Rejuvenation. StatPearls. Ibid.

  16. Pérez, P. and Hohman, M.H. Neck Rejuvenation. StatPearls. Ibid.

  17. Mejia, J.D., et al. Isolated Management of the Aging Neck. Semin Plast Surg. (November 2009).

  18. Ganceviciene, R., et al. Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermatoendocrinol. Ibid.

  19. Ganceviciene, R., et al. Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermatoendocrinol. Ibid.

  20. Boen, M., et al. A Prospective Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Clinical Trial Evaluating the Efficacy of a Novel Combination of Hyaluronic Acid Serum and Antioxidant Cream for Rejuvenation of the Aging Neck. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. Ibid.

Maria Borowiec is a certified Nurse Practitioner at Curology. She received her Master in Nursing from University of California, Los Angeles in Los Angeles, CA.

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• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
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Maria Borowiec, NB-BC

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