With most of the country quarantined and more and more people having to work from home, we are spending increasingly more and more time either staring down at our phones or laptops or watching television. While these activities are sometimes necessary both for work and relaxation, the position we’re putting our bodies in is aggravating neck and back strain, and leading to an increase in the dreaded “tech neck.”
Tech neck can be defined as a condition caused by repeatedly craning your head down and sometimes forward to look at a screen. This can apply excess pressure on your bones and muscles, and over time can result in back and neck strain, headaches, pain, and even damage to the spine. While there are specific exercises, therapies, and medical treatments aimed at correcting and relieving this condition, did you know that tech neck also can affect the tone, texture, and look of your skin?
When you repeatedly crane the head forward and down, there are horizontal creases created in the skin on your neck that is reinforced over time. Just as with any expression that you make with your facial skin, any repetitive action can cause wrinkles and lines to deepen on your neck. Unfortunately, as we age our collagen production slows down and gravity starts to take its toll, causing our faces to sag and our lower face, or “jowls”, to dropdown. Another unwelcome side effect may be excess fat that begins to be stored under our chin as our metabolism naturally slows down. To make matters worse, the blue light emitted from our devices is thought to be detrimental to our skin. Blue light, also known as high-energy visible light (HEV) is part of the visible spectrum of light present in daylight, but also found in fluorescent and LED lighting, and in the phone, computer, and tv screens. There appears to be some evidence that prolonged exposure to blue light may lead to more inflammation and increased pigmentation in the skin. This results in the breakdown of collagen, elasticity, and more red and brown discoloration in the skin.
As it seems unlikely that any of us are going to be decreasing our use of these devices anytime soon, what are the options available to improve and even help reverse these effects? One of the first things anyone should be doing is taking frequent breaks when we find ourselves sitting for long periods staring down at a phone or computer screen. Several simple stretches can be found online to help relieve neck and back strain, but some conditions may be more serious and require a physician visit. This can help prevent the aggravation of skin conditions caused by tech neck, but what are some specific things we can do to improve the appearance of the skin on our neck?
While a surgical neck lift may sound appealing in that it’s a “one and done procedure”, it won’t help improve the actual integrity of the skin, and now there are so many non-invasive options available that provide a safer alternative to going under the knife. Ultrasound and radiofrequency procedures may help provide some tightening to lax skin, as well as treatments such as Fraxel, Laser Genesis, and SkinPen micro-needling. These procedures may be more gradual in that they require a series of treatments but are safer and have less healing and downtime than surgery. Intense Pulsed Light treatments help address discoloration on the delicate neck skin to even out skin tone.
Injectables such as Botox, Dysport, and Jeuveau can reduce the appearance of horizontal lines on the neck, as well as providing some lifting and tightening of the lower jawline. Injecting into the platysmal bands of the neck can tighten lax muscles. Kybella is a non-surgical injectable that is used to target excess adipose tissue, aka fat, under the chin. A series of these treatments melt away fat deposits to help restore a smoother, tighter jawline. Dermal fillers are another option that can be used for deeper neck lines and for sculpting a more defined jawline. Quite often it’s a mixture of injectables and procedures that are needed to achieve the best results.
Procedures can deliver excellent results in achieving a smoother, firmer neck, but that’s only half the equation. Quality skincare products will not only help protect your investment but will continue to deliver lasting results in the fight against aging. First and foremost, every single person should be wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily. Chronic, long-term exposure to sunlight has been proven to damage our skin, not only leading to DNA damage which can result in cell mutations and even skin cancer, but it also causes skin thinning, brown spots, and increased redness from permanently dilatated blood vessels. There are several options out there to choose from, as well as newer formulations such as Revision Intellishade SPF 45, which not only protects from UVA & UVB radiation, but also infrared rays and blue light (HEV), and Isdin Eryfotona Actinica SPF 50+ which contains a plankton-derived enzyme to help repair DNA damage from the sun. An antioxidant serum, such as SkinBetter Alto Defense Serum, is a must paired with your sunscreen. The synergistic blend of 19 antioxidants not only protects your skin from oxidative stress but also brightens, reduces redness, and helps promote elasticity and firmness. Since the skin on the neck is different from facial skin, a targeted neck cream like Revision Nectifirm Advanced will help lift and firm that delicate skin. Using a blend of eight peptides, with antioxidant and Microbiome technology, this product will help reduce the appearance of crepey skin, roughness, and discoloration while also helping the neck appear more lifted and firmer by addressing excess adipose tissue under the chin.
Neck wrinkles, roughness, skin discoloration, and sagging skin are definitely all issues that can be addressed through a combination of procedures and targeted skincare. While we can’t really make the cause of tech neck go away completely, we can definitively make a huge difference in the appearance of this area with a dedicated plan of treatments and products. Call our office today to set up a consultation with a licensed skincare professional to learn more about these products and procedures, and to discuss which of these are right for your individual skincare needs.