neck lift

Neck Lifts: Reducing the Aging Effects of Sun and Smoking

Why has the skin on my neck become so sagging and wrinkled and will a neck lift really help? 

Do you know the phrase, “They that dance must pay the piper”? It is believed to be based on the famous Robert Browning poem, The Piped Piper of Hamelin, which told the story of a village besieged by rats that made a deal with a traveling piper to get rid of them. Without going into what was a rather dark tale, the gist of the story was that the piper fulfilled his part of the deal, but the mayor of the village refused to pay him, which resulted in all of the children disappearing. Hence, the admonishment to be mindful of your actions, because you will eventually have to pay the piper, one way or another.  

What does any of this have to do with neck lifts? 

A neck lift, technically a lower rhytidectomy, is a common cosmetic procedure done to smooth the wrinkles that have formed on the neck, as well as tighten and remove sagging and excess skin. This is often done combining two procedures; a cervicoplasty, which removes the excess skin, and a platysmaplasty, which tightens the underlying neck muscles.

Neck lifts can be very effective procedures and take years off of your appearance. Where “paying the piper” comes in is the reason for the neck lift in the first place. 

There is nothing that we can do to prevent growing older. Yes, there are innumerable products on the market designed to slow the effects of aging, and some are certainly worthwhile. Sooner or later, though, gravity and bodily changes will cause the skin to lose its youthful tone, and, soon, wrinkles and sagging will set in, especially in the face and neck. 

When this happens, cosmetic procedures like a neck lift can definitely make a difference, but lifestyle choices earlier in life can make a huge difference in when that neck lift is needed. Two of the most significant behaviors affecting premature aging in skin tissue are exposure to the sun and smoking.  

Effects of Overexposure to the Sun on Face and Neck

When we’re young and headed to the beach or pool, being told to be careful about getting too much sun can often fall on deaf ears. Warnings that involve consequences in the distant future often do. Unfortunately, the dangers of overexposure to the sun are all too real.

Sunlight is important to us. It helps us manufacture vitamin D. Unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, however, can be very harmful to the skin. We know how serious skin cancer is, but there is also premature aging of skin cells due to the loss of elasticity.

Effects of Smoking on Face and Neck

Smoking causes cancer. Everyone knows that. For the last half a century, tobacco products have carried labels stating this in no uncertain terms. What you may not realize is how much it affects the skin. There are thousands of chemicals released in tobacco smoke. Many of these chemicals affect the skin’s strength and elasticity by causing the destruction of collagen and elastin. 

Nicotine is also known to cause the narrowing of blood vessels, which is why it is so important to stop smoking before having any sort of surgery. This reduction in blood flow reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that get to the cells of the skin, leading to signs of premature aging, such as wrinkles and sagging skin. 

Even worse are the combined effects of smoking and too much sun exposure. This further accelerates premature aging of the skin and makes your debt to the piper come due even sooner. 

Dr. Brian D. Cohen is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with extensive training in cosmetic/reconstructive plastic surgery and has had years of experience performing a wide array of cosmetic surgery procedures, specializing in procedures of the face, eyes, nose, breast, and body and is known for his exemplary and compassionate care by his patients. Knowing that Dr. Cohen has been selected by his peers as a Castle Connolly Top Doctor and Super Doctors for 9 years in a row in 2021 gives you the confidence that he is highly respected for his performance in his specialty.

Information on locations and office hours for Cohen Plastic Surgery can be found by clicking here