by Alexandra Nicole Nuralam

How to Get Rid of Neck Wrinkles, According to Dr Shyamalar

The neck is a commonly neglected area in skincare routines, even though we’ve probably read that we can prevent wrinkles and sagging if we take our moisturizers down to our neck. Whether or not you follow this advice, you can still develop lines that don’t have any connection to how you apply your skincare products — or your actual age. Because the skin on our neck is thin, it can often show signs of ageing sooner than other parts of the body.

Here, we ask one of Australia’s leading dermatologists, Dr Shyamalar Gunatheesan (@drshyammi_dermatologist), for her insights on what causes neck lines, how to treat them, and how to prevent them.

What causes neck lines?

It turns out that these horizontal wrinkles are caused by the combination of frequent, prolonged bending of the neck and ageing of the skin. “The platysma is a broad, thin muscle covering a large part of our neck.

Repeated movements of our cervical spine, which is highly flexible, in turn, activates the platysma resulting in grooves beneath the skin,” says Dr Shyamalar. “As we age and with UV damage, the loss of elastin and collagen means that these creases or wrinkles can’t spring back up, resulting in etched lines on the neck.”

Why are some people more prone to having neck wrinkles?

If you have more lines than other people, it doesn’t mean that you’re bending your neck more often than they do; other factors influence how your neck ages, such as sun damage, smoking, and skin tone. “Genetics seem to be a major determinant as babies also have horizontal lines,” says Dr Shyamalar. “With ageing and sun exposure comes laxity of skin, accumulation of chin and neck fat, which augments the appearance of horizontal neck lines and rolls.”

Is looking down at our phones too long a legitimate cause?

All of the time you spend looking down at your iPhone or iPad could be contributing to those neck lines. “Technology cannot be solely blamed for this phenomenon as any activity such as reading for prolonged periods of time would also be a contributing factor. However, given research shows that an average individual spends at least 4 hours looking down on a smartphone, tablet or computer, this phraseology seems pretty fitting,” explains Dr Shyamalar. “We would also need to examine the role of blue light emission from these devices that could potentially result in oxidative stress damage to the skin, thereby resulting in wrinkling.”

What can I do to prevent neck wrinkles?

Often, we neglect the delicate skin of our neck, chest and hands in our daily skincare routine. This is a definite no-no, given that these areas age faster as they are more susceptible to UV damage. Dr Shyamalar says it’s important to cleanse gently, pat dry and apply moisturizers and actives starting from the face all the way to the neck and décolletage. She recommends products with vitamins B3 and C, as well as antioxidants, which will help replenish and mitigate the breakdown of collagen and elastin.

“A good SPF sunscreen ideally with visible light protection is a must in the daytime,” says Dr Shyamalar. “At night, you can opt for retinoids with low irritancy, which are best suited for the sensitive neck area.”

What are some in-office treatments to get rid of neck wrinkles?

In-office, Dr Shyamalar suggests fillers and Microbotox to improve the appearance of neck wrinkles. “Carefully placed hyaluronic acid filler along the wrinkle lines can work by lifting the skin and effacing the creases with immediate results,” she advises. “The improvements can last up to a year. Non-cross-linked hyaluronic acid can also be injected into the lines and surrounding tissue to increase collagen production and hydration of the skin.”

“Another technique is Microbotox, where small aliquots of onabotulinumtoxin are placed superficially underneath the skin of the neck. This has also been used to reduce platysmal banding and horizontal wrinkles,” she explains.

As for non-surgical techniques, Dr Shyamalar gives three different options: “We can use micro-focused ultrasound energy to boost collagen production. Plasma fibroblast skin tightening is also another option; it is a revolutionary skin-tightening treatment that ablates the skin, resulting in microdots that scab off,” she clarifies. “The plasma energy creates an ionising effect on the air above the skin.”

Non-ablative skin firming devices is also another option. “These utilise either infrared energy or radiofrequency to heat up the dermis, which is the second layer of the skin, and subsequently stimulate fibroblasts to increase collagen production.”

Do neck exercises work in prevention?

Sorry to disappoint but this one has not been adequately proven. “I do feel being aware of our posture and relaxing the skin and musculature of our neck will have a positive effect on skin laxity and consequent wrinkling,” says Dr Shyamalar.