Can You Treat Turkey Neck?

Medically reviewed by Daniel Bubnis, MS, NASM-CPT, NASE Level II-CSS on April 18, 2017Written by Erica Cirino on April 18, 2017

Why do people get turkey neck?

“Turkey neck” is a rather unglamorous term for wrinkled, sagging skin on the neck, which is a common side effect of aging. It occurs when your neck muscles begin weakening and your skin loses its elasticity, or ability to stretch and stay tight.

Exercises that treat turkey neck

Consistent exercise of the neck muscles can help build them back up. It also improves blood circulation in your neck which can give it a tighter, more trim appearance.

Many facial and neck exercises claim to help alleviate turkey neck. Yet, to date, no reputable studies have analyzed whether or not these exercises actually work. Exercise is good for your health and can tone your muscles, but it doesn’t eliminate excess skin. So, while exercises might help tighten up your neck muscles, the skin on top of them might not see change.

Four facial exercises for turkey neck

Some commonly suggested facial exercises include:

Forehead push

  1. Place one hand on your forehead.
  2. Push your head against your hand without allowing your head to move forward.
  3. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
  4. Then, hold both of your hands behind your head, pushing backwards with your neck, and hold for 10 seconds.

Chew

  1. Sit with your back straight.
  2. Lift your head back so your chin points toward the ceiling.
  3. Keep your lips closed and make a chewing motion with your mouth.
  4. Repeat 20 times.

Kiss

  1. Sit with your back straight.
  2. Lift your head so your chin points to the ceiling with your lips closed.
  3. Pout your lips as if you were giving a kiss.
  4. Repeat 20 times.

Neck lift

  1. Lie on your bed with your head hanging over the edge.
  2. Carefully and slowly lift your head up as high as you can, using your neck muscles.
  3. Repeat five times.
  4. Do not continue this exercise if you experience neck pain.

Cosmetics that treat turkey neck

N-acetyl glucosamine, a natural form of the chemical glucosamine, is found in many types of neck and other antiaging creams. There is some research suggesting such creams can help improve the appearance of turkey neck by firming and smoothing the skin while reducing the effects of hyperpigmentation.

In one study, 42 women had continuously improving neck appearances while using a cosmetic cream containing N-acetyl glucosamine over a 16-week period.

In a larger study of 85 women, twice-daily use of a neck cream also improved neck appearance in 94 percent of study subjects.

Surgeries that treat turkey neck

Surgical procedures are by far the quickest and most effective treatments for turkey neck. Traditional surgeries require cutting and tend to leave scars, while some of the newer treatments are less invasive. Here’s a list of common surgeries and medical procedures that can help get rid of turkey neck:

Botox (botulinum toxin type A)

Botox isn’t surgery by definition, but it is a time-consuming treatment done by specialists. It’s noninvasive and requires no recovery time. Results last about 3 to 4 months, and repeated injections are necessary to maintain firm skin.

Hyo neck lift

This is a relatively new surgical neck lift procedure that helps tighten and smooth neck skin. Recent research suggests the procedure is a promising way to reduce or eliminate the appearance of sagging neck skin.

MST operation

This surgery is a minimally invasive technique that involves rejuvenating the neck by tightening the skin with barbed threads. The surgery leaves only small scars.

Skin tightening laser

Various medical devices can heat and tighten the skin. A laser is a noninvasive treatment producing mild to moderate results. Repeated treatments over 4 to 6 months are necessary for results. The benefit is that there is no recovery time involved for this procedure.

Z-plasty

Also called anterior cervicoplasty, this surgery was introduced in the 1970s. It involves direct excision of the neck’s excess skin. It’s fast and effective, but leaves a visible scar on the back of the neck.

What is the outlook for someone who has turkey neck?

The outlook for someone with turkey neck is dependent on which type of treatment or treatments that person uses. Neck exercises appear to be the least effective type of treatment, while surgeries and medical procedures are most effective, and cosmetic creams fall somewhere in the middle.

If you’re concerned about your turkey neck, talk to your doctor, who can recommend the treatment or treatments that are most appropriate for you.

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