Out of the many body parts that people concentrate on for wrinkles, fine lines and crepey skin, the face receives the most attention. The neck seems to be a forgotten place for skin care. However, the neck is almost as visible as the face, and the skin on the neck ages as fast as the skin on the face. The skin on the neck is thin and wrinkles and fine lines form in the same way as those that form on the face.
So how do neck wrinkles form? Universally – as on the rest of the body — wrinkles are the result of several factors: genetics, biological changes such as decreased collagen production in the body, sun exposure, smoking, pollution and poor diet.
Neck wrinkles can be managed by initiating some changes to your daily routine, and by incorporating these changes into your lifestyle. As always, it depends on how deep the wrinkles are. The deeper the wrinkles and fine lines, the harder it is to ensure a viable treatment plan works to your satisfaction. One of the first things to do is to avoid sun exposure. The sun emits UV rays that contain free radicals — unstable atoms that can damage cells. These free radicals can destroy collagen and elastin, which inevitably lead to the formation of wrinkles. Stay in the shade as much as possible, and if you need to go out, keep covered. Use long sleeved clothing and a wide brim hat, or an umbrella. Use a broad spectrum UVA and UVB SPF 50 sunscreen daily and reapply every 1-2 hours that you are exposed to the sun.
Stop smoking. The skin can absorb nicotine from cigarettes, causing adverse effects such as premature skin aging, delayed wound healing and increased infections. Smoking affects the elastic fibers — collagen and elastin — that keep the skin plump and firm, and narrows blood vessels to the skin, restricting the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the skin. Smoking also contributes to melanocyte formation in the skin, leading to age spots and dark spots.
A poor diet consisting of a high fat intake is closely related to obesity, diabetes, fatty liver and skin aging. High fat diets delay healing of the skin by promoting stress and inflammation. Studies have shown a correlation between sugar and grilled or fried foods with skin aging. Foods to limit are potato chips, french fries, refined sugars (doughnuts, pastries), processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon and pepperoni, fatty meats such as beef and alcohol. Foods that are beneficial to your skin’s health are raw vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low fat dairy, lentils and beans, oatmeal and fish.
While the above information can be used for preventative care, you have several options if you have wrinkles and fine lines that you want to keep in check. Botox has been used to decrease the appearance of dynamic wrinkles (those formed by movement such as squinting or smoking). Botox though does not do much for static wrinkles (wrinkles at rest) and can get costly. Microneedling uses a device with tiny needles to stimulate collagen. Several treatments are needed, the skin may flake while it heals and deeper treatments may cause bleeding or bruising. Dermal fillers are substances injected into the skin to fill in the lines and wrinkles. Most of the fillers are made of hyaluronic acid such as Juvederm or Restylane. The most serious risk associated with dermal fillers is accidental injection into a blood vessel, which can cause skin necrosis, stroke or blindness. Chemical peels use chemicals to remove layers of skin which in turn triggers the body to repair itself, stimulating collagen production. Chemical peels can cause redness, scabbing and swelling. Medical-grade silicone pads such as those made by SilcSkin help to create an environment between the skin and the pad, helping to increase the hydration, plumping out the skin and reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. This technology also helps treat scars. Treatment times vary though 6-7 continuous hours is recommended. The added benefit is that the pads can be worn while sleeping which allows them to do their magic without disturbing the wearer.