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What Causes Neck Bands and How to Treat Them

Updated: Apr 12

The first signs of aging start to show long before our mind comprehends that we are indeed on the path of getting old. Sun exposure, pollution, stress, and life, in general, leave their marks on our skin years before we start to think about aging. They say our hands show our age, but we dare say that it is the neck that first gives us clues about what is yet to come.


Dressed in a significantly thinner layer of skin than our face, our skin neck experiences a loss of skin laxity and collagen many years before we start our fight against wrinkles. Due to its loss of fat deposits caused by aging or weight loss, certain neck muscles become increasingly visible and lead to neck lines, saggy skin, double chin, and the dreaded “turkey neck”. These muscles are also known as platysmal muscles, platysma bands, or, more commonly, neck bands.


What are neck bands?


Whether you call them neck bands, platysma bands, or neck wrinkles, the truth remains: no one can escape them. The platysma muscle is the flat muscle surrounding the front of the neck. As we age, the muscle pulls apart and rolls up into bands. The bands take the shape of soft tissue and extend from under the chin to the lower neck.



neck bands on white female

The vertical neck bands are situated on both sides of the neck. If when we are young, they are hidden and show their presence only in rare cases, such as a grimace or when we clench our teeth during a workout, as we get older and lose our fat deposits and collagen that camouflage them, they become more visible.


At Georgetown Wellness & Weight Loss Clinic, neck bands are a typical reason for patients to visit us. Depending on the patient’s medical history, lifestyle, and goals, we have a variety of treatments to help address their neck bands.


What causes neck bands?


Scientists are still working on pinpointing the exact causes of neck bands, but we know that aging has a lot to do with them. Some studies also show that genetics has a saying in the appearance of neck bands, as they become visible sooner in people with thin skin. Dramatic weight loss may also accelerate the appearance of platysmal bands as the body suddenly loses its fat deposits, including the ones that kept the vertical neck bands hidden.


However, more recent studies have concluded that vertical neck lines are not a consequence of sagging skin or loss of skin laxity and muscle tone. New research shows that muscle activity is the cause of visible vertical lines on the neck and loose skin is the consequence and not the trigger.


This leads us to a new potential cause behind prominent platysma bands: exercise. Whenever we work out, we put all our muscles to work, including the platysmal muscles. If you take a closer look at your neck while you exercise, you’ll notice your platysmal bands sticking out. Over time, high-intensity workouts may affect all your facial muscles, including your platysmal bands, which will become more visible due to the continuous stretching and sagging of your skin.


Is there a way to prevent neck bands?


Since visible neck bands may be the result of a combination of factors, including the aging process, prevention is not exactly in the cards for us. However, we can delay their appearance and reduce their prominence.


While we can’t stop the aging process no matter how much kale we eat, limiting sun exposure and applying sunscreen daily may help preserve our skin‘s elasticity and prevent collagen loss and crepey skin. People worried about the appearance of their neck should also avoid tanning beds and wear wide-brimmed hats whenever they spend time in the sun.


Protection should extend to the neck and upper chest, as should your skincare routine. Use a vitamin C serum and retinoids on your neck, and don’t forget to moisturize the area. Hydrated skin camouflages the presence of fine lines and wrinkles. If you’re a fan of high-intensity workouts or you’re lifting heavy weights, make sure you focus your attention on the neck and relax it whenever possible.


How can I treat neck bands?


Since prevention can’t help us delay the appearance of vertical lines forever, the sooner we intervene and treat our neck age lines, the better. Current treatments allow patients to combat the appearance of vertical bands of the neck without having to necessarily undergo a neck lift and subject themselves to a surgical procedure.


Botox injections

Botox injections are not reserved exclusively for wrinkles. Studies show that the botulinum toxin type A may also reduce the appearance of platysmal bands. Botox is now successfully used to treat neck bands because it relaxes the muscles in the neck and creates a smoother appearance of the neck skin.


Botox treatments prevent the appearance and deepening of wrinkles and sagging skin on the neck with no recovery downtime and minimal discomfort. The Botox injection delivers a purified neurotoxin to temporarily paralyze the vertical muscles along the neck for a more youthful appearance. In our Georgetown Wellness clinic, this is a very popular treatment and we receive patients from all over the United States and abroad.


While some patients may experience minor bruising after the procedure, the treatment is non-invasive and allows them to return to their activities after they leave the doctor’s office. The results are visible within a few days after the procedure but are not permanent. Patients who want to reduce the appearance of platysma bands should schedule their botulinum toxin injections every 3 or 4 months.


Dermal fillers

Dermal fillers are an option, especially if the botulinum injections fail to deliver the desired level of improvement. Dermal fillers contain a gel-like substance, such as hyaluronic acid or poly-L-lactic acid, and are injected under the skin to add volume to the area behind the neck bands and plump up the skin. The results are visible as soon as the procedure ends and can last for up to 12 months.


However, specialists believe that dermal fillers work better to treat horizontal neck bands and deliver the best results for platysmal bands when used in combination with Botox injections. The results are visible in a few days, and the patient will notice smoother neck skin and lifting of the jaw. Georgetown Wellness & Weight Loss Clinic carries a premium line of different dermal fillers so that we always have the right one to deliver the best results for your treatment.


Platysmaplasty

Platysmaplasty or neck surgery is usually the last resort for patients with deeply grooved neck bands that continue to be visible even after several Botox treatments. The surgery can be performed on its own or combined with a facelift, and the results will be visible within a few months from the procedure.


The facial plastic surgeon will make several small incisions behind the ears and underneath the chin to reconstruct the platysma muscles, rejoin the separate sides, and tighten the platysma. The procedure dramatically improves the appearance of neck bands and sharpens the jawline, but it has more side effects than Botox injections and requires at least one week for recovery.

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