At Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season, your family will likely spend a lot of time talking turkey. But, your neckline doesn’t need to be a topic of turkey-related conversation. Instead, you can work with a trusted dermatologist to improve the appearance of turkey neck, double chin, and your whole facial profile with innovative therapies like Kybella and CoolSculpting. U.S. Dermatology Partners Dermatologist, Dr. Jennifer Sawaya of the Center for Aesthetic and Laser Medicine in Scottsdale, Arizona, works with people to help improve their neckline and confidence during the holiday season and year-round. Keep reading to learn more about getting photo-ready for the holidays with turkey neck treatment options from U.S. Dermatology Partners.
What is Turkey Neck?
Turkey neck, as the name implies, is a term used to describe saggy or loose skin beneath the chin or submental fat around the jawline. It earned its name from its similarity to the appearance of a favorite thanksgiving fowl – the turkey. Male turkeys have a fleshy growth on their throats called a “wattle,” and the phrase turkey neck is a reference to this part of the turkey’s anatomy.
What Causes Turkey Neck?
While the wattle is a perfectly natural part of turkey anatomy, for humans, turkey neck is most often a sign of aging. Collagen and elastin are the components that give our skin the smooth, plump, youthful appearance. But, as we grow older, the body begins to produce collagen and elastin more slowly. This decreased production leads to age-related cosmetic concerns like fine lines and wrinkles as well as contributing to the droopy, saggy appearance of skin as we age. In younger patients, turkey neck is likely the result of the storage of excess fat cells.
Can I Prevent Turkey Neck?
While turkey neck is often a natural part of the aging process (and we can’t totally stop the clock), there are some steps you can take to prevent droopy, sagging skin below the neck and address a turkey neck or double chin in its early stages. The first preventive measure you should take is to apply a moisturizing cream daily. Look for topical retinoid creams that promote the production of collagen and elastin, helping to stave off turkey neck. Anti-aging creams with N-acetyl glucosamine have also proven effective in making minimal improvements for people with turkey neck as well as helping to prevent the development of turkey neck.
Additionally, some patients swear by specific neck exercises to keep skin smooth and define the jawline. Most of these exercises involve lifting the chin towards the ceiling. Then, performing a series of movements like chewing, puckering, and shifting the jaw from side to side. These exercises can help to burn fat around the chin, neck, and jaw, making them a good option for those struggling with excess fat buildup. However, they will not likely be as effective in improving the appearance of submental fat that occurs as a result of aging.
How do Dermatologists Treat Turkey Neck?
Depending on the underlying cause of your turkey neck and your individual goals, a dermatologist can provide a variety of treatments to help improve your appearance and confidence. Some of the most commonly recommended treatments include:
Laser Skin Tightening Therapy
Laser therapy can be used to tighten and firm skin. This is usually a good option for those who notice just a little excess skin or minor sagging. Laser therapy may not be a good option for those who have large deposits of submental fat or significant amounts of excess skin. Patients will need to receive a number of laser treatments over the course of four to six months to achieve the desired result.
Kybella is an injectable treatment that is FDA approved to target and reduce fat buildup below the chin (double chin and turkey neck). Through a series of treatment sessions, the active ingredient in Kybella (deoxycholic acid) destroys fat cells and improves the appearance of the neck, chin, and facial profile. Deoxycholic acid is a natural element of the human body that works to breakdown and eliminate fat stores. Kybella harnesses the power of this naturally occurring molecule to get rid of double chin and turkey neck. Most clients see the improvement they desire after just three to six sessions.
Another popular, minimally invasive option to improve the appearance of turkey neck is CoolSculpting. This body contouring treatment uses extremely low temperatures to destroy fat cells in problem areas all over the body, including the neck. Once the fat cells are frozen, the body will naturally process them out over the course of several months. After CoolSculpting, you’ll start to see improved appearance after three to four weeks, with the most dramatic results within two months. However, patients may continue to see a reduction in fat cells for up to six months after treatment.
In some advanced cases, surgical intervention may be necessary. According to Dr. Sawaya, “Most patients see a dramatic improvement with Kybella or CoolSculpting. These treatments, combined with laser treatments for deep wrinkles and continuing daily reinforcement with retinoids to jump-start the production of collagen and elastin, leaves most people looking and feeling better. If this combination of therapies doesn’t deliver the results you want to see, you may wish to consider surgical options. Most surgical therapies to address turkey neck involve making an incision behind the ears, suctioning fat, tightening the muscles, and removing excess skin.”
Which Treatment is Right for Me?
Every person is different, so scheduling a consultation with a dermatologist is the best way to know which treatment will be most effective. Your dermatologist can answer your questions, review all of your treatment options, and help you find the best solution to address your concern within your budget and desired timeline.
Get Started with U.S. Dermatology Partners
If you live in the Scottsdale area, Dr. Sawaya would be happy to schedule a time for you to visit for a consultation to discuss treatment options for turkey neck and other cosmetic dermatology concerns. If you don’t live the area, there is likely to be a U.S. Dermatology Partners location near you. Complete our online request form to get started, and a local team member will be in touch to answer your questions or schedule an appointment soon.
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