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Neck bands, also known as necklines or necklace lines, are horizontal lines which traverse the front of the neck. Sometimes, they are more noticeable than wrinkles in the face due to the relative lack of fat in the neck area. Neck bands are generally a result of natural aging, but they can be prominent in young people. They can increase the appearance of sagging or crepey skin in the neck, and may contribute to a loss of contour underneath the jawline.
While neck bands development cannot be completely prevented, there are sound ways to limit their severity.
What are Neck Bands?
As we get older, our skin loses elasticity and structural support due to a decrease in elastin and collagen. Normally, neck lines appear as fine wrinkles in your 30’s or early 40’s. They can develop into deeper grooves in your 50’s and 60’s.
Necklines are related to the platysma muscles, the thin, vertical muscles that contract when we extend our chin forward or tense our neck. They are also related to the fold patterns that occur from repeatedly bending the neck and looking down.
Neck Band Prevention
To keep neck bands at bay for as long as possible, practice the following:
Avoid Excessive Neck Strain
These days, we’re all susceptible to the repetitive of looking down at our mobile phones and tablets. This forward bend folds the skin of the neck, and as we get older it’s less likely to bounce back.
Practice Responsible Sun Exposure
To protect your skin’s elasticity and structure, avoid excessive or unprotected sun exposure, and never use a tanning bed. If you must be outdoors, wear protective clothing or wide brimmed hats, and use full spectrum sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays. Don’t forget to cover your neck and upper chest, which are often overlooked.
Extend Facial Care to Your Neck
The same skin care routine you use on your face should be extended to your neck. If you use Vitamin C serum or retinoids on your face, their wrinkle-reducing properties can benefit your neck too! When applying moisturizer, remember your neck too. Wrinkles are generally less apparent on hydrated skin.
Early Neck Band Treatment Options
If your neck bands are present as fine wrinkles, Botox or dermal fillers can improve their appearance and prevent further sagging.
Botox works by relaxing the platysma muscles of the neck which prevents wrinkles from forming or deepening. Botox can improve the appearance of dynamic neck bands, however it’s not permanent. The results of Botox typically last 3 months before touch ups are needed.
Dermal fillers can help when Botox alone is not enough. The gel-like substance (hyaluronic acid) is injected just under the skin to reduce deep lines by plumping the area behind them. Because the skin of the neck is very thin, it’s important to visit a skilled practitioner to avoid lumps or uneven fills. The results of dermal fillers are near immediate, and can last for several months.
The ideal candidate for Botox or dermal fillers is someone whose necklines are not deep and grooved, is at normal weight, and has little fat underneath the jawline. Some options for those who wish to address fullness under the chin (‘double chin’) are described here and here.
When to Consider Neck Lift Surgery
You might consider neck lift surgery, or platysmaplasty, if your neck bands are continuously visible or deeply grooved. This type of surgery can be performed on its own, or in conjunction with neck liposuction or a face lift.
About Neck Band Surgery
Platysmaplasty tightens the platysma bands in the neck by making a few small incisions behind the ears and underneath the chin. The procedure greatly improves the appearance of neck bands and can enhance the contour under the chin.
Since the neck is integrated into almost all our daily movement, patients should expect to take a full week off of work for recovery. During this time, you’ll be prescribed pain medications if needed, and you will likely wear a compression bandage until the muscles of the neck fully heal.
While you’ll notice a change within a few weeks, complete results will be visible several months after the procedure when swelling diminishes.
Like all wrinkles, neck bands are harmless but they can be bothersome. To avoid them, treat your neck as you would your face. Consult your doctor if and when you’re ready to explore treatment options.