The neck and chest are important areas of aesthetic focus that are often neglected, despite the fact that skin in these areas is thinner and more vulnerable to damage from UV rays and other environmental factors than that of the face.
Any decline in skin thickness, elasticity and suppleness has more intense effects in these areas making them more prone to wrinkle and discolour.
Visible signs of damage often appear in the early 30’s and without intervention become severe by age 50, frequently creating a telltale aging imbalance between face and body that’s in stark contrast to the harmony of youth.
Non-surgical rejuvenation treatments reverse those signs of deteriorating skin quality on the neck and chest that are not amenable to surgery.
At Heber Davis all anti-ageing neck and chest rejuvenation treatments are performed by qualified doctors or specialised cosmetic nurses.
An ounce of prevention…
As with facial rejuvenation, prevention is the best cure and the number one preventative measure is to apply a SPF 30+ sunscreen to ALL exposed skin on a daily basis, whether or not you intend to be in the sun.
Regular application of cosmeceutical skin care products forms the basis of skin maintenance and rejuvenation. In addition, prescription lightening agents and strong forms of vitamin A may also be recommended to treat pigmentation and to improve the quality of sun damaged skin.
“Aging skin” can imply many different things. Neck and chest skin prematurely accumulates red and brown discolourations, skin tags and warty lumps, sun spots, wrinkles and lines, fatty deposits and textural changes. Choosing the right rejuvenation treatment depends on identifying and targeting what’s of most concern:
Redness and Brown Pigmentation on the chest or neck
Brown spots (see image above), cherry angiomas and surface capillaries that enlarge to form spider like spots are common signs of sun damage. These respond well to laser or Broad Band Light treatment which is selectively absorbed into abnormally coloured skin.
Poikiloderma of Civatte
The sides of the neck and upper chest are uniquely prone to a condition that’s common in Australia known as Poikiloderma of Civatte. Poikiloderma causes a red or red-brown discolouration with a “chicken skin” texture that characteristically spares the shaded area under the chin. Though the exact cause of Poikiloderma is unknown, contributing factors are thought to include fair skin, accumulated sun damage, use of cosmetics and perfumes that make the skin more sensitive to the sun, and hormonal factors.
Poikiloderma can be difficult to treat, so prevention is better than cure. Apply SPF 30+ sunscreen on a daily basis and avoid all perfumes on or near the affected area, including those in soap. Prescription bleaching agents and vitamin A, together with exfoliants containing alpha hydroxy acids also help improve skin quality and texture.
Treatment of Poikiloderma: Significant improvement is possible following a course of laser or Broad Band Light treatments which target the brown pigmentation and microscopic blood vessels that discolour the skin.
Senile Warts (Seborrhoeic Keratoses, Seborrhoeic Keratoses)
Senile warts, known medically as seborrhoeic keratoses, are waxy skin growths that occur commonly on the chest, neck and back in middle age. Although the exact cause is unknown, they seem to run in families. They often begin as small flat brown or flesh coloured rough bumps but if untreated can thicken and develop a rough warty texture.
Senile warts are benign and treatment is purely cosmetic. Treatments include burning, freezing or cutting and each carries some risk of permanently scarring the skin.
At Heber Davis we use the Erbium laser as a more controlled and precise treatment with better cosmetic outcomes. The laser light is absorbed by water in skin cells, causing instantaneous vaporization. A mere 20 or 30 millionths of an inch of tissue is removed at a time, allowing your physician to treat only as deep as is needed. After the seborrhoeic keratosis is removed, new skin quickly regrows in its place leaving you with smoother, healthier, more vibrant skin.
Sunspots, also known as solar keratoses or actinic keratoses, are rough spots that often occur against a background of sun damage in skin that is wrinkled, mottled,and discoloured from too much sun. Sun spots or actinic keratoses are generally small, 2-6 millimetres in diameter, red and rough and often have a white or yellowish scale on top. In addition to feeling rough, actinic keratoses may feel sore or painful when fingers or clothing rub against them.
Sun spots are precancerous, which means they can develop into skin cancer. The best treatment for an actinic keratosis is prevention by minimising sun exposure. Once they occur, treatments for sun spots include freezing, cutting or burning, prescription creams, laser or photodynamic therapy.
Skin tags are common, benign skin growths that begin in middle age as a smooth bump and develop into a small piece of hanging skin with a small, narrow stalk. About 50% of people suffer from skin tags, which commonly occur on the neck, armpits and groin.
Skin tags respond well to Erbium laser treatment. This treatment is particularly suitable for those with multiple tags. The Erbium laser is minimally invasive and requires no pain relief or sutures. It causes no disruption to the surrounding skin and creates tiny superficial wounds that are simply dressed with Vaseline and heal well over a few days.
Poor skin texture
Many factors influence the treatment your doctor may recommend to rejuvenate the skin of your neck and chest, including age, health, skin type, and the amount of sun damage. In some cases, more than one treatment may be used to produce better and longer-lasting results.
Neck skin rejuvenation procedures fall into the following key categories:
Either prescription or non-prescription products. Topicals are usually used to treat milder signs of aging, such as fine lines and superficial wrinkles. Topicals also offer preventive value and can both reduce the need to repeat procedures and delay need for retreatment.
Microdermabrasion uses a diamond-tipped wand to remove some of the top skin layer (epidermis) and to stimulate fresh skin growth. This non-invasive treatment produces virtually no discomfort, requires no topical or local anesthetic, and involves practically no recovery or downtime. Multiple treatments spaced two to three weeks apart are needed.
Chemical Peels are used to treat crepy skin, skin discolouration, age spots and dull skin texture by applying a chemical solution to remove the outer layers of skin and to stimulate fresh skin growth. The new skin is usually smoother, less wrinkled, and more even in colour. Chemical peels may produce reddening and peeling similar to sunburn, which typically lasts a few days to a week or more, depending on the strength and depth of the peel.
Fractional Rejuvenation is a non-invasive technology that precisely targets the small areas of skin where damage has occurred, leaving the surrounding, healthy skin untouched and better able to assist in the healing of the damaged cells.
Fractional laser resurfacing treatments can be used for resurfacing the neck to improve skin quality, reduce wrinkles and to help tighten neck skin slightly. Small columns of laser are fired into the skin and parts of the skin in between these columns are left untreated. This helps to reduce the risk of treatment, and allows for much safer treatment of off-face areas than traditional carbon dioxide lasers.
Spot fat on the neck and chin
Lipodissolve is a non-surgical treatment for small collections of fat on the neck and chin by injection of a naturally occurring soy based solution. These areas are usually well suited to lipodissolve. Because the neck and chin usually carry less fat than elsewhere, results can be dramatic. A course of treatments over a number of months may be needed to achieve optimum results and each treatment may create some short term redness and swelling. The key advantages of Lipodissolve are that it helps tighten the skin and is uniform in its results.
Large volumes of unwanted fat are best treated with liposuction.
Excessive skin laxity of the neck is best treated surgically.
More subtle tightening can be achieved using infra red rays generated by the SkinTyte light source. Infra red rays help heat the skin which stimulates collagen fibres to shorten, resulting in skin contraction and tightening that can lead to subtle lifting of the neck without surgery or downtime.
Vertical neck bands
Vertical neck bands are caused by ageing changes in the platysma muscle which is the band of muscles that runs from the collar bone to the jaw line, and which in youth can normally only be seen when the teeth are clenched hard. This muscle, over time, can separate into bands, creating an aesthetically undesirable gaunt and haggard appearance.
Anti-wrinkle or muscle relaxant injections relax these muscles which helps to soften them. Muscle relaxants can also be injected along the jawline to help reduce the downwards pull of the platysma muscle, allowing the natural lifting effect of the lower facial muscles to prevail and resulting in a rejuvenating lift of the lower face.
Horizontal neck bands
Recurring movements of the neck over time create permanent horizontal bands or lines.
These bands can be treated using anti-wrinkle or muscle relaxant injections or dermal fillers.