What Causes Turkey Neck and How Can it Be Treated?Share this article
Learn about the main causes of turkey neck, a common sign of ageing. Get insights into prevention methods and possible non-surgical treatments for this condition.
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What is “Turkey Neck”?
Turkey Neck is a name given to one of the common signs of ageing where the skin around the neck and jawline begins to sag and lose definition.
Commonly seen from the age of 30 and 40 onwards, the condition can see sagging at the neck, the appearance of a double chin and ‘draping’ of skin as it loses its elasticity.
As the neckline is so visible, it can make many people with sagging skin feel self-conscious and look for ways to restore their jawline and profile and reduce the signs of ageing to give back a more youthful appearance.
What Causes Turkey Neck?
Turkey Neck isn’t just a sagging of skin at the neck but can also affect the jawline and include a loss of definition, a double chin and wrinkles across the neck and decolletagé.
There are many causes for sagging skin around the chin and neckline, and whilst ageing is a natural process as we grow older there are factors that can accelerate it further. Lifestyle factors including diet, sun exposure and weight gain or loss can also see sagging skin occur earlier as well as genetics and the general ageing process.
As well as sagging skin due to the loss of elasticity, there can also be a weakening of neck muscles including the platysmal muscles which will detach and loosen with age resulting in vertical bands from the chin to collarbone¹.
A double chin or loss of definition around the chin is another ageing sign that can be associated with ‘Turkey Neck’ as fat cells accumulate in the neck due to the skin’s natural elasticity and as collagen production begins to slow down. Weight loss and weight gain can accelerate the appearance of a double chin as weight loss can result in general facial sagginess and weight gain can see the fat cells grouped around the chin and neck.
Another factor that can make sagging skin at the neck more prominent and the appearance of Turkey Neck more obvious is the placement of the hyoid bone (a U-shaped bone in the neck) which can sometimes be placed further forward in people and this can reduce the length of the chin and give more of a sagging and aged appearance.
Prevention: How Can You Avoid Turkey Neck?
Whilst ageing is inevitable there are ways to slow down the signs and effects and lessen the appearance of turkey neck, even if it’s not avoidable completely. Many of the steps to take to slow down the ageing process are recommended as good practice on the whole,
Skincare is an essential part of slowing down skin ageing, and many anti-ageing creams and products use ingredients such as N-acetyl glucosamine and retinoids to help battle wrinkles, loss of elasticity and sagging². Whilst there is some evidence to suggest topical skincare products can leave the skin appearing rejuvenated and hydrated, they can’t fully eliminate the signs of ageing on their own.
A healthy lifestyle is another essential part of changing the appearance and slowing down the signs of ageing. Losing weight can be helpful for reducing a double chin, as it reduces the fat cells that can gather at the jawline and neck.
Neck exercises can also be helpful to tighten the neck and facial muscles, which can help maintain more of a defined jawline and appearance. Whilst it tightens the muscles underneath, it can’t eliminate or affect the skin on top.
Daily exercises to try which can strengthen and tighten the neck muscles include:
- Forehead push: Push your forehead against your hand without moving your head forward, and hold for ten seconds.
Place both hands on the back of your head, push backwards with your neck and hold for ten seconds.
- Chewing: Sit up straight and lift your head back so your chin points to the ceiling.
With your lips closed make a chewing motion with your mouth and repeat 20 times.
- Kissing: Sit up straight and lift your head back so your chin points to the ceiling.
Keeping your mouth closed, pout your lips as though kissing and repeat 20 times.
- Neck lift: Lie flat on a bed or sofa with your head hanging over the edge.
Using your neck muscles, slowly lift your head as high as you can before lowering again.
Repeat five times.
Non-Surgical Treatments for Turkey Neck
There are common treatments to help reduce the signs of ageing, and not all require surgery and going under the knife.
Once the skin has lost its collagen and begun to wrinkle and have a dropped appearance, it will need aesthetics expertise on how best to remove it or to give back a youthful appearance. Non-invasive skin treatments offered by Dr. Nyla’s expert Medispas that can help with sagging skin and ageing at the neck, include:
Outside of aesthetic treatments, there are topical methods to help rejuvenate skin and tightening exercises to reduce the signs of turkey neck too.
A good skincare routine is a must for slowing the signs of ageing but using an SPF for combatting the effects of sun exposure and the use of retinoids to stimulate collagen can be hugely beneficial in giving a tighter appearance to skin and lifting the complexion once it’s already begun to wrinkle and sag.
Are Turkey Neck Treatments Safe?
On the whole, many of the treatments that aestheticians will suggest for the signs of ageing on the neck and jawline are safe but can sometimes still have side effects including minor bruising or reactions that fade within a few days.
Many of the treatments suggested for the neck area come with minimal downtime, allowing you to return to daily life quickly.
Treatments that use needles and injections such as botox or microneedling can leave small marks or minor bruising on the skin, but there are also treatment options using radio frequency and light techniques to stimulate collagen and reverse ageing and these can leave redness that fades quickly.
Surgery also comes with its own risks and has a much longer recovery time, and although the results can be more permanent in stopping the signs of ageing it can come with a higher cost and more risks.
Home Remedies and Excercises for Turkey Neck
The use of home remedies can be beneficial in giving a tighter and more youthful appearance, and can be used in conjunction with clinical treatments to help see stronger and better results more quickly.
Exercises to maintain neck muscle strength can promote a stronger jawline, which will reduce the appearance of sagging and fat cells even if it can’t eliminate sagging skin completely.
- California Skin Institute
- Cirino E. (2023). Can You Treat Turkey Neck?