Do you have a neck wattle? This loose, wrinkly thin skin under your chin and on your neck can make anyone feel self-conscious. But the good news is you can get rid of it without surgery.
Your age, genetics, skin structure, weight gain, and even rapid weight loss can all work against you in loosening the skin on your neck. You could even not be in your 30s before you start to see your neck drop from loose skin. And many don’t want to consider going through the expensive and painful journey of plastic surgery to fix it.
To tighten up a saggy neck, you’ll have to improve the integrity of the skin to rebuild its elasticity. Skin elasticity allows it to “snap back” into place, which becomes lost with age allowing the skin to loosen and sag. I wish I could say this can be done with a snap of your fingers, but it is achievable and will take some time and effort.
Imagine your skin tightening up and smoothing the vertical lines on your neck again. Here you’ll discover what is causing the neck wattle in the first place so you can stop it from getting worse. And then you’ll uncover what can work to tighten up your skin again, so you lose the neck wattle.
What Causes Neck Wattle
So exactly is neck wattle? A neck wattle is a loose, wrinkled skin that can hang from your chin and neck. It’s also known as the turkey wattle or turkey neck, and it can make many feel self-conscious since it can be one of the first things people see.
The skin on your neck becomes thinner and looser as it loses its elasticity. Skin elasticity is your skin’s ability to “snap back” to its original place. But as you lose this skin elasticity on your neck it loosens, sags, and wrinkles causing the dreaded neck wattle (1).
There are a handful of causes of neck wattle:
Age: Once you hit your mid-20s, your body starts to make less collagen each year. Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body; dermatologists know it as the “support structure for your skin.” So as your collagen production declines, so does the integrity and elasticity of your skin. This causes your skin to break down and creates the thinning, loosening, and wrinkling under your chin. This collagen loss builds on itself each year, compounding to the point in middle age, you may only be making half you once did in your early 20s (2).
Genetics: Your genetics will play a significant role in the thickness and strength of your skin (3). If you were born with thinner fairer skin, then it’s much more likely you’ll get the neck wattle at an earlier age. If you were blessed with genetics that gives you thickened skin and strong collagen production, you’ll have an easier time keeping youthful-looking skin. Not much is to be done about this, it’s all the luck of the draw.
Lifestyle: There are lifestyle factors that play a role in determining if your skin thins and wrinkles faster than it should. If you were a smoker, had too much UV/sun exposure without sunscreen, ate a bad diet, and even air pollution can all cause your skin to age faster (3,4). One study found skin aging is 60% genetics and 40% lifestyle/environmental (5). So just because you may not have been given the best genes doesn’t mean you can’t do your best to slow aging by having better lifestyle factors.
Weight Gain: If you gained a lot of weight, your skin will stretch out and loosen. The longer you have been overweight, the worse your skin will end up stretching out. Age also plays a factor here. If you were overweight when you were young, then you could still have strong skin elasticity. But the older you were when you gained weight, the less collagen you produced and, thus, the harder it was on your skin.
Weight Loss: Ironically, losing weight can make your neck wattle appear worse. This is because you no longer have as much fat on your neck to fill out the skin. Instead, what’s left is loose, thin, wrinkly skin, kind of like if you deflated a balloon. The loss of elastin and collagen in your neck skin has stretched out the skin causing the neck wattle to appear after you lost weight.
How to Get Rid of the Neck Wattle
So now that you know what causes the neck wattle, how do you get rid of it without surgery? The truth is once the skin is stretched and loosened to the point the neck wattle appears, it may never fully go back due to the damage. But with that said, you can definitely reduce its appearance and stop making it worse by making some changes.
Step 1: Replenish Lost Collagen
The first step is to replace the lost collagen. Supplementing with collagen peptides has been found to quickly reduce the appearance of wrinkles and bring back skin elasticity (6). One of the leading causes of the neck wattle in the first place was lost collagen production, so it makes sense to start replenishing it in your body.
There are different types of collagen, so make sure the supplement you’re taking contains all five of the right kinds of collagen. Plus, you want to take collagen that doesn’t taste gross so avoid cheap collagen supplements. Otherwise, the bad taste will keep you from wanting to take it. Lastly, many collagen peptides include a bunch of artificial fillers that could make your skin look worse.
I take and recommend Ageless Multi-Collagen. It contains all five of the right types of collagen, it’s tasteless and odorless, mixes easily, and doesn’t contain any cheap artificial fillers. I just add a scoop to my protein shake daily and don’t notice it’s in there. But do notice my skin thickening and tightening up.
Contains 5 of the key types of collagen in scientifically ideal forms. Uses hydrolyzed collagne peptides making it easier to digest. Mixes easily, no clumping, with no odor or taste.
- Supports healthy, youthful looking skin & skin elasticity
- Supports joint health & comfort
- Supports hair health & growth
- Supports healthy body composition
Step 2: Exercise
Improving your body composition by lowering your body fat and building lean muscle will help tone and tighten your body, including your neck. One of the main reasons weight loss causes the neck wattle is losing the fat that “filled out” the loose skin. But when you start exercising properly, you can add some muscle to tone and tighten. Otherwise, you’ll be skinny fat, making the loose skin appear saggy and wrinkly like putting cottage cheese in a plastic bag.
Start a simple strength training routine to build muscle and add cardiovascular exercise to help burn fat further. This will gradually lower your body fat and improve your physique. Body fat is measured with calipers on skinfold sites on your body. As your body fat lowers, this skinfold becomes smaller and smaller since the fat isn’t extending the skin. So losing body fat will slim down your neck fat, improving the appearance of the neck wattle.
Then you can also add in specific neck exercises to further tone and tighten the area. For example, moving your head back and forth multiple times and side to side can strengthen your neck muscles. To make these exercises more difficult, just hold your hand on your head to add resistance. Finally, you’ll strengthen the under chin muscles making your neck look tighter.
Step 3: Serum + Moisturizer
The next step is to use a serum to deliver active nutrients deeply into your skin to counter the neck wattle. You’ll then also want to moisturize to lock in hydration. You’ll want to use a combination of both a serum and moisturizer for the best method to improve the appearance of your neck skin.
Not all serums work the same, and how well they work depends mainly on their ingredients. It is best to use a natural serum that doesn’t have a lot of harsh chemicals. I personally recommend Ageless Glow since it contains 4 science-backed natural ingredients formulated to fix sagging loose skin on the neck and face.
Then also be sure to wear sunscreen on your neck, upper chest, and face if you’ll be going outdoors. The UV radiation from the sun will break down your skin integrity even worse, which is the last thing you want to do (7). The skin on these areas is naturally thinner, so it’s easy for the sun rays to do more damage.
The dreaded neck wattle can appear before you even hit the age of 30, and even though most women suffer from it, so can men. There are a handful of causes that create the loosening, thinning, and wrinkling of the skin under your chin leading to neck wattle.
While it’s important to stop doing what is causing the neck wattle in the first place, it’s also critical to start working on reversing it. You can still replenish lost collagen, lower your body fat to tone and tighten your neck, and use a serum + moisturizer + sunscreen combination to rejuvenate and once again improve your neck skin.
I want to say this is all going to happen overnight, but it will take some time. The neck wattle wasn’t created overnight, so it does take some time and diligence to get rid of it. Depending on how bad the neck wattle is, you may never fully get completely rid of it.
But you can certainly improve its appearance; your results will depend on your efforts. Neck wattle, double chins, and face fat can all be fixed with some time and effort. Now that you know how it’s time to fix and tighten up the neck wattle!
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and he’s a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) by American Council on Exercise. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college levels. He has over 15 years of experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He strives to bring inspiration and results for people to live healthier lives through smart diet and exercise.