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“Are those wrinkles on your neck?”
I remember the moment like it was yesterday. The year was 2017 and the place was a cramped, toothpick-sized kitchen in an apartment on the Lower East Side. As for the aforementioned question, that came from one of my closest friends at the time. “Kathy,” let’s call her, staring up at me with hazy drunk eyes, waiting for a response, but I didn’t stick around long enough to give her one. Instead, I bolted to the only bathroom in the apartment where I holed up for the next half hour, inspecting every square inch of my neck, slowly starting to hate it.
You see, despite growing up with a rare genetic skin condition comparable to eczema and psoriasis, I’d always considered myself a pretty confident person. Sure, I had my insecurities just like anyone, but believe it or not, my necklines had never been one of them. In fact, until that fateful night, I hadn’t given them much thought at all. Ignorance is bliss, amirite?
But suddenly, my neck wrinkles were all I could see. It was like I’d been living with blinds down my entire life and now, suddenly, the windows were flung wide open for the first time. From there on out, turtlenecks and chokers became my religion—my saving grace if you will. When I couldn’t hide the band-like lines behind my beloved ‘90s makeup and wardrobe staples, it was a different story: I began to feel like a shell of my former self. In public, I found myself constantly wondering if people were looking at the wrinkles while I slathered on all the anti-aging serums in my arsenal, praying to the skin gods that they’d go away if I moisturized hard enough. Spoiler alert: They didn't work for me. It wasn’t until I started working at a beauty magazine and meeting my fair share of skin experts that I saw a potential solution: filler.
What Is Neck Filler?
Used to plump thin lips and fade everything from fine lines and wrinkles to acne scars, dermal fillers like Juvederm and Restalyne just about do it all. Still, when the girls of GoodSkin Los Angeles—a European-inspired anti-aging clinic—invited me to try filler for the first time, I had my apprehensions. Would it even work? I wondered. It would be beyond mortifying if it didn’t, I told myself. But in my mind, desperate times call for desperate measures, and I was as desperate as they come.
“GoodSkin blanching works by smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles by both lifting the skin and creating tension using a specific hyaluronic acid filler that’s suitable for this technique,” Goodman explained to me later over email. “The technique requires both the correct type of filler as well as the correct depth, otherwise the result will not look like smooth skin.”
Meet the Expert
Lisa Goodman is an aging expert with 10 years of experience working as a physician assistant alongside celebrated cosmetic surgeons before founding Goodskin Clinics. She is primarily based in Los Angeles.
Depending on where you go, treatment can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000, so it doesn’t come cheap. I, however, was lucky enough to score the visit for free through work (perks of working in the beauty industry). But would I pay for it if I had to? The answer is easy: absolutely.
Benefits of Neck Filler
- It plumps fine lines and wrinkles with hyaluronic acid gel
- Results are immediate and long-lasting
- The overall procedure is very quick
Filler vs. Botox vs. Laser
I couldn’t help but wonder: Why not use Botox or lasers, both of which are also famed for their line-ironing abilities? Goodman’s response was matter-of-fact, “This was the correct technique to use on you, versus Botox, because your lines did not originate due to ‘tech neck’ or overactive platysma muscles, and lasers would not have been suitable for your skin condition,” she explained. Unlike many others, the wrinkles on my neck hadn’t actually formed from looking down at my devices too much, but rather because my skin was so strapped for moisture and had experienced trauma from the perennial flare-ups I battled as a teen.
How to Prepare for Neck Filler
Two weeks prior to the appointment, you should avoid taking blood thinning agents like aspirin, ibuprofen, and all other NSAIDS.
As far as skincare is concerned, wean off prescription retinoid and retinol products two days before treatment and stay out of the sun as much as possible (no tanning!).
What to Expect During a Neck Filler Appointment
A few months later, I found myself stepping foot into one of the nicest New York City apartments I’d ever seen in real life. It was an Airbnb the GoodSkin team had rented out for the weekend, which I later learned was on the market for a cool 10 million. Equipped with plush leather couches and a cozy fireplace, I began to forget my hesitation and feel at ease in the foreign apartment. Soon, a receptionist whisked me up not one, but two flights of stairs, where I was reacquainted with Lisa Goodman. After taking a few requisite “before” photos of my neck, we sat down for my consultation. She patiently listened to me tell her about my skin history and spent a few minutes inspecting my neck. Her recommended solution? A filler treatment known as “blanching,” which is the name of an anti-aging technique specific to their practice.
The whole shebang, which involved injecting different points on my neck with hyaluronic acid filler, took less than 20 minutes, and on the pain scale, I’d say it was about a solid three—not too painful as far as skin treatments go. (The aforementioned lasers are supposed to be far more painful. )
After carefully injecting the hyaluronic acid solution into my necklines, Goodman gave the area a good massage to help the filler settle, and voilà—we were done. As I peered into the mirror post-procedure, I realized I looked like I’d just been strangled; she had warned me earlier that this was the only side effect and would likely heal within the week.
There are a few precautions you should take immediately post-treatment to ensure the best results and prevent further bruising and swelling. First, you should avoid blood-thinning agents like aspirin and ibuprofen (just like before treatment) as well alcohol, as it acts as a blood thinner by preventing blood cells from sticking together and forming clots.
You should also avoid activity like exercising, as well as massage, as the pressure on the table can affect your results and increase bruising.
Extreme heat like saunas, steam rooms, hot tubs, and direct sun exposure should also be avoided.
To ease pain and swelling, apply ice and Arnica gel (which alleviates bruising and pain), and, if necessary, take acetaminophen for pain relief.
You can see the lines for yourself right here. Maybe they don't seem so bad to you, but to me, these lines ruled how I felt around other people and how I felt about myself.
After hibernating under scarves and turtlenecks for 10 days post-treatment, my neck was back to normal—except now, "normal" meant visibly smoother skin with barely any lines left. To say I was happy with my results would be a huge understatement. Hell, I was ready to name my first-born after Goodman at this point, and something tells me anyone else who’s been treated by her feels similarly. I finally felt free from the worry these necklines brought to my everyday life, and while an injectable treatment isn't what's best for everyone, addressing the issue with filler did bring me peace in the end.
It’s been about four months since I visited the GoodSkin Clinic, and I’ve got to say: My neck still looks better than ever. Results, while varying, are generally supposed to last anywhere from seven months to a year or more, so you’d best believe I’ll be showing up to see Goodman with bells on again come fall.
Disclaimer: Juvederm, Restylane, and Radiesse have been approved by the FDA to smooth moderate-to-severe facial wrinkles and folds. Check with your dermatologist or practitioner to discuss off-label uses.
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American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Injectable hyaluronic acid.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons. What are the steps of a laser skin resurfacing procedure?
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U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Dermal fillers approved by the center for devices and radiological health. Updated November 26, 2018.