Let’s face it – necks are a problem.
The skin of the neck is thin and unsupported and prone to wrinkling, sagging and puckering as we get older.
Because it is thinner than the skin of the face we can’t use powerful laser and IPL treatments like we can on the face, and because it is not supported by bone and fat pads we can’t use dermal fillers in the same way that we can on the face.
So often it’s the neck that gives us away!
Many treatments touted for the neck do not work well in my opinion.
Fortunately there are a number of treatments that we can use that do make a difference.
Surgical Neck Lift
Probably the most effective way of truly lifting a neck. Almost always performed in conjunction with a lower face lift.
Very effective but carries all the risks and downtime of a surgical procedure, will leave surgical scars, and costs $15,000-$30,000 plus.
Fat dissolving injections.
Injectable treatments that remove fat from the neck can be highly effective.
They are relatively inexpensive and give permanent or very long term results.
Where the main issue is too much fat in the neck and under the chin and jawline they are our preferred treatment, but for patients who primarily have lose skin they are not effective.
Anti – wrinkle injections
Anti-wrinkle injections can be very effective for people who have prominent vertical muscle bands in the neck.
They are very safe and the results last for 3-6 months.
With thread lifts special long sutures are placed under the skin.
Sometimes these are anchored and are designed to actually lift the skin up, sometimes they are free floating sutures that essentially are acting as a filler and collagen stimulating material.
Anchored threads are the most commonly used, but to be honest I have never seen them give a good effect on the neck.
This is hardly surprising considering how fine the threads are and how mobile the neck needs to be.
They just are not strong enough to maintain the lift effect. Thread lifts last 6-18 months and cost around $4,000.
Energy devices – HIFU, Radiotherapy, Ulthera etc.
There are a plethora of energy devices on the market designed to use radio frequency or ultrasound energy to tighten skin.
I have trialed a large number of them. It’s a lovely idea- heat or ultra sound energy designed to stimulate and tighten up the collagen.
Unfortunately I am yet to see one of these treatments give consistently good results, even on the face, which is much easier to treat than the neck.
Treatments like this have been around for many years, the most recent example is HIFU.
I have seen dozens of patients who have had HIFU treatments – I have not had a single person tell me it worked for them.
Skin needling and Dermapen
The idea behind these treatments is that repeated minor trauma to the skin by way of needling the skin will stimulate collagen production and improve the skin’s texture.
These treatments can certainly work, especially when combined with platelet rich plasma (the “vampire facial”).
I have seen some of our patients get great results on the texture of the skin on the face. Unfortunately most people need more help on the neck, and improvement in texture and fine lines is not enough.
Platelet Rich plasma (PRP).
PRP can be needled into the skin as in the “vampire facial” or injected directly under the skin’s surface.
Like skin needling it can greatly improve the texture and fine lines on the skin, but does not give a great skin tightening effect.
IPL and Laser
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and laser are very effective at treating sun-damage, pigment and redness, and can greatly improve the appearance of the neck’s skin.
Both can improve texture and stimulate collagen, but they do not tighten the skin sufficiently to improve laxity in the neck.
Collagen Stimulating treatment
This is a very exciting new development. Some dermal fillers used at medical cosmetic clinics such as Envisage have their effect by stimulating collagen production.
When used in a dilute form spread over an area they don’t give extra volume, but do have a strong effect on the skin.
By increasing the collagen content of the skin they can have a very beneficial effect on the skin’s tone and texture.
On the neck this improves lines and wrinkles and can appear to have a tightening effect.
Treatment is quite painless and results appear slowly over 3-6 months.
Our recent results with this treatment have been so good that many patients that I have told need a surgical neck lift in the past I now would suggest they try this treatment first.
Article by Dr Christopher Leat – Medical Director Envisage Clinic Benowa
|Dr Christopher Leat – Medical Director Envisage Skin Clinic Founder and Director.Dr Christopher Leat has 33 years’ experience in Medicine and is a member of The Royal College of Physicians of London. Dr Leat has devoted the last 18 years to Cosmetic Medicine and is recognized throughout Australia as one of the most experienced doctors in the field of Cosmetic Medicine.|