How Old Is Your Neck?

Makeup isn’t really my thing. I’m more likely to throw away a tube of mascara because I’ve forgotten when I bought it than because it’s empty. But the other day, as I looked in the mirror, I was thrown back some years to a cosmetics party a friend had convinced me to attend.

The woman selling the products that rouge-filled day made a comment that I tucked away in the back of my mind. She said a woman shows her age at her neck and chest—sagging skin and wrinkles in this area will give her away every time. Now, I don’t mean to brag, but my neck didn’t look anywhere near as old as I was on that day. Score!

Fast forward to the recent day in front of the mirror, and all I could think was…How old is my neck? From what I was suddenly seeing, it had aged quite a bit since that party some ten years ago. There were more creases in it (is that another word for wrinkles?), and the skin had a more relaxed look than it once did (is that another way of saying it’s sagging?).

For some reason it was the sagging I wasn’t ready for, the thing that made me want to go looking for answers. And before you freak out on me, let me say that the answers I sought had absolutely nothing to do with plastic surgery or being ungrateful about getting older. I just like to know the whys and hows of things, necks included. Also, who doesn’t want to look their best?

So what gives? Why does our skin sag? How can I slow it down, stop it altogether, or even unsag what has already sug? I’m going to warn you, when you go looking for information on this topic, you’ll see it referred to as “turkey neck.” We are not calling it that here. End of story.

Okay, first things first: why does the skin on your neck sag? There seem to be a few factors. The skin on your neck is thin and highly susceptible to sun damage and dehydration. It doesn’t like it when we’re too rough with it either or when we gain extra weight. And, something that may surprise you, it looks different depending on your posture.

So how do we combat all this? Some of the answers are probably obvious to you. When you’re in the sun, for instance, always wear a wide-brimmed hat and/or use some sunscreen. When you apply moisturizer to your face, be sure to include your neck, and be gentle during the process. (See here for a general review of skin and skin care.) And do lose those extra pounds—it will benefit your entire being, not just your neck.

As for your posture, for a younger look, former model Oleda Baker recommends maintaining a straight back and holding your chin up, as opposed to curving your back and looking down. Go ahead, practice in your mirror. The difference will surprise you.

Those techniques are good for daily practice. What other, natural approaches have potential for making your neck look younger?

If you’re lucky enough to live near Fort Collins, Colorado, you have a valuable resource right in your backyard. Zi Zai Dermatology, owned by my former employer Diana Hermann, applies principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture in its skin care services and products. (I adore Zi Zai’s tagline, “Seek health, find beauty.” Sums things up in four simple words.)

Specifically, the clinic offers a service called Aesthetic Wellness, a protocol featuring Constitutional Facial Acupuncture and, potentially, individualized herbal formulas to rejuvenate your face and neck.

Hermann has also created a line of small-batch, handcrafted skin care products for mature (or dry) skin. Each product is carefully formulated for the stage your skin is at. I vividly remember the delicious smells coming from the crafting of these products in the lab. The starter kit comes in a lovely package and includes smaller-sized products in the line, allowing you to see which ones you like without committing to larger containers.

For those of you not close enough to Fort Collins to take advantage of Zi Zai’s services, I dug a little into other options. And guess what? Selene River Press is about to release a Vimeo of Tom Hagerty’s “Shape Your Face” facial exercises! These six unobtrusive exercises have proven successful at giving eyelids, lips, the chin—and, yes, that ole neck—a natural lift. Keep on the lookout for the launch announcement.

A handheld Kansa wand has been used in Ayurvedic traditions for longer than you can imagine. It’s easy to find videos on how to use one yourself, or do an Internet search for a practitioner who offers Kansa treatments in your area.

And, as always, Maria Atwood has us covered on the nutrition side of things. In her post “Help! My Body Is Getting Flabby,” she discusses the role that collagen—or lack thereof—plays in our skin not being as firm as we would like as well as which foods and/or Standard Process supplements support us in producing collagen.

In the end we probably shouldn’t get too down about our neck growing older. It comes with the luxury of continuing to be on this planet, after all. Still, it’s nice to know there are some natural ways of fooling onlookers as to how long we’ve been here. 🙂

Image from iStock/as3d

Paula Widish

Paula Widish, author of Trophia: Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health, is a freelance writer and self-healther. She loves nothing more than sharing tidbits of information she discovers with others. (Actually, she loves her family more than that—and probably bacon too.) Paula has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Public Relations and is a Certified Professional Life Coach through International Coach Academy.

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