As millennials, it feels like we spend a good 60% of our day staring down at our phones. With this constant bent-neck positioning comes the dreaded Tech Neck – also known as Millennial Neck Sag (both fancy names for neck wrinkles). While this wrinkly neck diagnosis might not plague you just yet, it could appear in the years to come, due to all the technology-induced stress placed on our necks. We spoke to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, to get to the bottom of all things Tech Neck – and here’s what you need to know.
Tech Neck Is Real
“Tech neck is a term that refers to the development of wrinkles in the neck as a result of constantly bending your head down to look at your mobile device,” says Dr. Zeichner. “Just as chronic squinting or sipping through a straw can cause wrinkles around the eyes and the mouth, the same may be true about your neck. It is a real phenomenon, however it is unclear how significant of an impact it truly has.”
Treat Your Neck Like Your Face
Like any other part of your body, your neck skin will wrinkle with age and sun exposure. “The collagen and elastin in the skin becomes hardened and weak – damaged collagen means that the skin foundation is not as thick and strong as it once,” says Dr. Zeichner. And these afflicted fibers lead to loose skin that won’t bounce back to its original shape.
“The most important thing you can to do prevent aging skin on the neck is not to forget about treating neck skin,” Dr. Zeichner notes. And what does this regimen exactly entail? Use sunscreen, of course, as well other anti-aging ingredients.
Maintaining a steady body weight is also vital in combating Tech Neck. “Rapid weight gain and weight loss means that the skin can become stretched, leading to laxity as you get older,” says Dr. Zeichner.
How to Prevent Neck Wrinkles
Dr. Zeichner suggests making neck care part of your daily facial routine. “Prevention in the morning and repair in the evening as you would treat your face,” he says. And if you want to be more targeted, look for products specifically designed for the neck.
And if your Tech Neck is really driving you crazy, your dermatologist can tell you about skin tightening lasers and injectables.
Now, stop looking down at that phone!