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Can Red Light Therapy Tame the Turkey Neck?

Turkey neck is a common, natural sign of aging, but it poses a significant cosmetic concern for older adults. Depending on its cause, there are many surgical and non-surgical ways to address turkey neck. One of the newest approaches to taming turkey neck is red light therapy (RLT).

What’s Turkey Neck?

The not-so-lovely term “turkey neck” refers to the saggy, wrinkled skin people sometimes get as they age, although younger adults can develop turkey neck. Also known as a “wattle,” turkey skin is loose skin and neck muscles.

Turkey neck develops due to loose neck skin, weakened underlying muscles, changes in fat tissue, or a combination of all three. Not everyone develops turkey neck; certain factors can increase your risk of developing sagging neck skin. These factors include:

  • Aging: Over the years, gravity pulls the skin on your cheeks downward and eventually underneath your jawline and in your neck.
  • Weight: Weight gain can allow extra fat to accumulate around your neck, while weight loss can cause skin to become looser.
  • Genetics: If your mother or father had turkey neck, you might inherit extra tissue or fat in your neck.
  • Lifestyle: Smoking, sun damage, exposure to environmental toxins, and a poor diet can affect the elasticity of your skin.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as steroids, can increase the amount of fat in your neck.
  • Weak neck muscles: The two platysma muscles on the front of your neck can weaken or separate to cause a double chin, neck creases, or turkey neck.

While you cannot overcome some factors for developing turkey neck, you can reduce some risk factors. You may also be able to reduce the visible appearance of turkey neck through loose skin treatment with RLT.


Treatment for Turkey Neck

Facelifts and neck lifts are common surgical interventions for turkey neck. Surgeons remove extra skin and fat from the chin and neck during these procedures. They may also tighten the neck muscles as needed.

Non-surgical treatments for turkey neck

If going under the knife isn’t right for you, you may try non-surgical treatments that improve your skin’s elasticity and cosmetic appearance. These non-surgical treatments include:

  • An anti-aging skincare routine that includes products that prevent the loss of collagen, which is a protein that prevents skin from sagging
  • Skin resurfacing, using heat
  • Microneedling
  • Exercises
  • Botox® injections

These treatments often provide subtle changes, and very few address the underlying cause of turkey neck on a cellular level. Fortunately, red light therapy offers real results when it comes to taming turkey neck.


Red Light Therapy for Turkey Neck: A Beam of Hope for the Aging Neck?

Also known as photobiomodulation (PBMT) or phototherapy, red light therapy for turkey neck uses the power of light to trigger beneficial changes in body cells and tissues — including those involved in turkey neck.

Light travels in waves. Scientists measure these waves in nanometers (nm). At specific wavelengths, light appears to have color. Red light typically has a wavelength of between 620 to 700 nm.

At these wavelengths, light passes painlessly through the skin to the tissues below, where it stimulates changes. More specifically, the light excites activity in the cells’ mitochondria. Scientists often call the mitochondria the “powerhouse” of cells because they produce energy for everyday activity. Stimulating mitochondrial activity helps the cells repair damage and to function at their optimal levels. It also helps stimulate the production of collagen.


Does RLT Work for Turkey Neck?

Yes — red light therapy works to tighten the skin in ways that reduce the visible appearance of turkey neck.

To gain the most significant benefit from red light therapy for turkey neck, you should undergo 10- to 20-minute sessions three times each week for one to four months. You may benefit from monthly maintenance sessions to help your skin maintain youthful elasticity. Neck wrinkle reduction with RLT can also reduce the appearance of other skin problems associated with premature aging, such as crepey skin and jowls.

Because it causes no side effects, you can combine red light therapy with other types of treatment. Even better, you can get home-based RLT devices for neck concerns so you can achieve and maintain a more youthful-looking neck in the privacy of your home.

For more information about red light therapy for turkey neck, speak to a healthcare professional, trainer, therapist, or provider who has training and experience in using RLT for turkey neck.

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