Signs of aging go beyond the face and horizontal skin lines in the neck are among the most common complaints of patients. A Korean study looks at how hyaluronic acid fillers can help address these concerns.
As human beings, we are all drawn to look at each other’s faces for purposes of recognition and social interaction. Sadly, this is also why forehead wrinkles or facial jowls are most frequently noticed signs of aging. But these age-related changes do go beyond the face—the same thinning of the skin, loss of moisture and wrinkling brought about by aging are also present in the neck. And on closer scrutiny, these changes become more obvious and very troubling.
These changes in the neck skin, coupled with a weakening of the neck muscles result in two distinct changes—bands that can be vertical or horizontal in orientation. A number of procedures are currently employed in treating neck bands, from radiofrequency that ‘blurs out’ the lines to surgery which tightens the muscles and removes sagging skin.
Clinicians are looking at less invasive methods, particularly for horizontal skin lines. And as fillers like hyaluronic acid (HA) are common for wrinkles or jowls in the face, might they have a similar role in filling out these furrows in the neck?
A 2017 research by Korean dermatologists reports their preliminary findings in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology on the possibility of using HA fillers in treating horizontal necklines. Using small syringes—the ones used to deliver insulin for diabetic patients—they injected HA gel in 14 subjects who presented with visible horizontal neck folds. The amounts injected were determined according to the perceived severity of the neck fold and, to get a full visual comparison, only one-half of the necks were treated with the filler. These patients were all serially photographed and followed up for a period of two months to assess the efficacy of the HA injections.
The published results show that there was a significant improvement in the injected areas, and respective evaluations by both subjects and investigators indicate satisfaction with the results. Aside from bruising and swelling that quickly resolved, no adverse effects were reported in all cases.
While the preliminary findings indeed show promise, the researchers caution that further studies should be done to fully gauge the efficacy of using hyaluronic acid fillers for neck folds. The skin and soft tissue are much thinner in the neck to begin with and the presence of the muscles in the neck means that injection areas are very small. This lends to using very small syringes, minimal amounts, and refined techniques of infiltration. Furthermore, patients must be followed up way beyond the two-month period to determine hyaluronic acid filler’s efficacy in the long term.
Nevertheless, the potential for fillers like hyaluronic acid fillers to address areas beyond the face is a welcome development for patients and clinicians alike. Doctors are constantly looking for new ways to use the versatility of hyaluronic acid as a soft-tissue filler, and “younger- looking” may soon mean rejuvenating both the face and neck.
Written by Jay Martin, M.D
Reference: Lee, SK, Kim, HS. “Correction of horizontal neck lines: Our preliminary experience with hyaluronic acid fillers”. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2017: 1-6. Doi:10.1111/jocd.12382