12 ways to prevent neck wrinkles

Raagini Yedidi, MD - Contributor Avatar

Reviewed by Raagini Yedidi, MD, 

Raagini Yedidi, MD - Contributor Avatar

Reviewed by Raagini Yedidi, MD, 

last updated: Jun 07, 2022

4 min read

Just like any other type of wrinkle, neck wrinkles and lines are a normal part of aging. Still, many people want to prevent them from showing up for as long as possible. Here are some things to avoid that encourage neck wrinkles––plus 12 tips for preventing them.

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What causes neck wrinkles?

As collagen and elastin in the skin decrease with age, wrinkles form. Neck lines are influenced by many factors including age, genetics, and lifestyle habits. 

Some things like a family history of neck wrinkles and your age can’t be changed. But there are plenty of actions you can take to reduce wrinkles including (Wong, 2021):

  • Avoiding too much sun exposure

  • Quitting or reducing smoking

  • Practicing stress management techniques

  • Maintaining a nutritious diet

  • Avoiding toxins in the environment like air pollution

  • Practicing proper posture

When do neck lines start appearing?

Fine lines on the face and neck start appearing in your 20s and 30s. For some people, it may seem like wrinkles appear suddenly. Usually, any form of wrinkle begins as a tiny fine line that goes unnoticed. 

Lots of people won’t see more drastic signs of aging until their 40s, 50s, or older. Besides age, when neck lines start appearing depends on many factors including genetics, sun damage, smoking, and posture.

How to prevent neck wrinkles

Here are some tips to reduce the appearance of neck lines and help prevent future ones from forming.

1. Wear sunscreen

The most important step to prevent premature aging and neck wrinkles is wearing sunscreen. Research suggests there is a significant association between unprotected sun exposure and wrinkle development (Wong, 2021).

Protecting your skin from the sun’s powerful ultraviolet rays can also help prevent cell damage, early aging, and medical conditions like skin cancer

Be sure to put sunscreen on your face, neck, chest, and any other exposed areas of skin. Aim to use sunscreen with at least SPF 30. You can also wear protective clothing and hats to block sunlight.

2. Avoid or quit smoking

Cigarette smoking has a wide range of negative impacts on health––including how your skin looks. One study looked at the effects of smoking on twins and found the twin who smoked had worse eye bags and jowls (sagging skin below the chin and jawline) (Okada, 2013). 

There may also be a dose-dependent relationship between cigarettes and wrinkles, meaning the more cigarettes you smoke throughout your life, the worse wrinkles might appear (Goodman, 2019). 

3. Use antioxidant serums

A common (and natural) type of anti-aging skincare ingredient is antioxidants. Popular antioxidants used in skincare include vitamin C, vitamin E, flavonoids, and polyphenols.

The role of antioxidants is to fight off free radicals to prevent damage to cells, which can help protect your skin (Ganceviciene, 2012).

4. Be mindful of posture

If you work at a desk or spend a lot of time looking down, you could be creating a positional fold in your neck. With younger skin, these folds bounce back into place once you straighten your posture.

Over time, these folds can turn into fine lines and eventually deep wrinkles. Practicing proper posture, being mindful of how you hold your phone, and sleeping in proper positions may help prevent neck wrinkles.

5. Retinol creams

If you haven't heard these buzzwords before, retinoids and retinol are popular skincare ingredients. Retinoids help reduce the appearance of wrinkles by stimulating collagen production, new cell growth, and elastin production (Ganceviciene, 2012).

The strongest retinoid, isotretinoin (brand name Accutane), is only available through a prescription from a dermatologist. Lower-strength retinoids are available over-the-counter. 

6. Moisturize your skin

Research suggests people with dry skin types might be more likely to experience skin wrinkles and sagging (Wang, 2009). 

While most people remember to moisturize their face, it’s common to forget to smooth those skincare products down the neck and upper chest. Moisturizing can keep water in the skin for longer, maintaining hydration and making skin look plumper. One study found that using anti-wrinkle creams for three months reduced wrinkle depth and improved skin tightness (Poetschke, 2016).

7. Exfoliate

Many people use exfoliating tools (like loofahs) and chemical exfoliants (such as alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids) to help remove dead skin cells. 

Research suggests this may reduce signs of sun damage plus improve wrinkles, elasticity, tone, and hydration. Be careful not to over-exfoliate because this can make skin feel more sensitive and lead to redness (Moghimipour, 2012). 

8. Eat a healthy diet

A healthy diet is essential for all areas of your health. On top of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and many more health conditions, poor nutrition also contributes to early skin aging

Research suggests a diet full of vegetables and fatty acids lowers the risk for wrinkles and improves skin health. Avoid refined or processed foods, which lack nutrients and can have a great deal of added sugars (Wong, 2021).

9. Manage stress

Believe it or not, feeling stressed all the time could impact your skin health. High stress levels increase cortisol (the “stress” hormone) in the body, which can weaken the skin barrier (Chen, 2014). 

A weak skin barrier can increase your risk for breakouts, dryness, and neck lines. Try practicing stress management techniques like deep breathing, exercise, meditation, talking with friends, or any hobbies you enjoy. 

10. Silicone neck patches

Growing in popularity are silicone adhesive pads, a neck wrinkle treatment designed to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. One study found wearing topical adhesive pads over several hours temporarily lessened the appearance of crow’s feet (Mazzarello, 2018). 

They work by preventing skin from folding, and you can wear them while working or sleeping. Researchers are still examining the effectiveness of silicone neck patches, so how well they work long-term isn’t clear yet.

11. Botox and filler

Botox and dermal fillers are an option for preventing and reducing the appearance of neck lines. Fillers are done by injecting gel to fill in the wrinkle and make skin appear more plump.

Botox involves injecting a small amount of the neurotoxin botulinum toxin into the wrinkle. This helps smooth the appearance of lines. 

12. Surgery

For severe neck wrinkles, some people may choose to have a face lift to address sagging skin. Surgery is often a last resort as it’s the most invasive and expensive option. It also requires more downtime to recover, and it can be difficult to know exactly how the procedure will turn out. 

If you’re considering a face or neck lift, you’ll have to meet with a cosmetic surgeon to see if you’re a good candidate and if it’s the best option.

Whether you’re hoping to prevent wrinkles before they start or reduce their appearance, there are lots of options to help. You can’t completely stop the aging process to prevent wrinkles, but you may be able to slow it down. 


If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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How we reviewed this article

Every article on Health Guide goes through rigorous fact-checking by our team of medical reviewers. Our reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the writer.

Current version

June 07, 2022

Written by

Ashley Braun, RD, MPH

Fact checked by

Raagini Yedidi, MD

About the medical reviewer

Raagini Yedidi, MD, is an internal medicine resident and medical reviewer for Ro.