How to Stop Your Neck from Looking Saggy

August 26, 2015
Buh-bye, wattle.

Let's pretend you're 33 and you've been slathering SPF and retinol on your mug for years. From the chin up, you look 26. But head south and all of a sudden you're 45. Huh? "Your face, neck, and chest register as one entity," says New York City derm Francesca Fusco, M.D. "So they must be uniform in texture and tone to look youthful." Ruh-roh.

While facial anti-aging is now mainstream, the neck is often still overlooked—not great, considering this: "The epidermis there is delicate, scars easily, and has only a thin fat layer underneath," says Harold Lancer, M.D., a Beverly Hills dermatologist. Plus, with fewer oil glands, it's super thirsty for moisture. And finally, there's the very current problem of "Tech Neck," in which constantly looking down at your phone can etch deep, stubborn lines. (There's no app for that.)

The upside of all this modern-ness? More and better treatment options, from effective creams to noninvasive, in-office treatments. With Fusco's help, we scouted three women in need of a neckover, put each on a customized regime for two months—that's how long it takes to see results—and compared befores and afters. Follow their journeys to ID the right routine for you. 

RELATED: The Anti-Aging Products You Should Be Using in Your Twenties, Thirties, and Forties

The Problem: Sagging

With her ultra-fair skin and decades of sun exposure, 43-year-old Cheryl's collagen has taken a nosedive, leaving her neck skin a bit...turkeyish. "I'd notice how droopy my neck looked in pictures, so I started using anti-aging creams and serums a couple of years ago," she says. Daily, she applied Prevage Triple Defense Shield SPF 50 ($79), Prevage Anti-Aging Neck & Decollete Firm & Repair Cream (with retinol and amino acids to lift; $115), and Prevage Anti-Aging Daily Serum (with collagen-protecting antioxidants, $162; all available at elizabetharden.com). But even though her topical game was on point, her age and environmental damage caused her to seek more help.

The Neckover


Left: Before; Right: After

In-Office Treatment: One Ultherapy session ($1,000 to $2,500, ultherapy.com for locations). Since topicals weren't doing the trick for Cheryl's advanced case, Fusco recommended this noninvasive ultrasound treatment that strengthens existing collagen and helps the treated area build more of the stuff for a tighter look and feel. Still, Cheryl was told not to expect a twenty-something neck. "Ultherapy sets the clock back around five years—it's a nice reset," says Fusco.

RELATED: 3 New Anti-Aging Treatments You Really Oughta Know About

At Home Follow-up Treatment: A.M. and P.M. With Fusco's approval, Cheryl continued to use her Prevage products.

The Verdict: A day of mild soreness aside, Cheryl felt immediate tightening after her procedure, and three weeks post-treatment, "I'm noticing much less sagging," Cheryl tells us. As for upkeep, she can go in for another treatment in two years to maintain her youthful results.

RELATED: How Your Face Changes in Your 20s, 30s, and 40s

For two more neckovers, plus to find out what neck creams you should use for every skin issue, pick up the September 2015 issue of Women's Health, on newsstands now.

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