Explaining “Tech Neck,” a Growing Concern of the Social Media Age

There are unexpected consequences of constantly checking Instagram.

by Arden Fanning Andrews

Tech Support - Beauty Intel - September 2017
Kim Reenberg; hair by Sabrina Szinay for Kevin Murphy at The Wall Group; makeup by Susie Sobol at Julian Watson Agency; digital technician: Todd Barndolllar at Capturethis; photography assistants: Andrew Harrington, Kiri Wawatai; fashion assistant: Raymond Gee; model wears Baserange swim top; Ariana Boussard-Reifel earrings.

“Neck consults are on the rise earlier than ever,” says Dr. Shereene Idriss of Manhattan’s Wexler Dermatology Group. The reason? Rising complaints (both physical and aesthetic) about “tech neck,” which can result from too much time bent over a phone or laptop.

To combat increasing concerns, dermatologists, skin care specialists, and facialists are implementing new strategies and techniques to minimize the visible damage caused to delicate décolletage by the repetitive tilting that goes along with constantly checking a screen. Julie Lynge, the Sausalito, California–based body therapist known for her Facelift Massage Therapy, which aims to prevent unflattering textural skin changes, recommends training yourself to arch your back, even just by reclining with a tennis ball strategically placed between the shoulder blades, which is enough to lengthen shortened chest muscles that accentuate fine lines across the décolletage. “Everything is connected to your neck,” she says. “Constantly looking down creates micro-movements in your face that weigh on the skin.” The healing power of touch is equally embraced by New York’s FaceLove team, whose pop-up at tenoverten’s culty Fulton street salon offers treatments like their PureLove massage, mixing acupressure, facial exercises, and neck and shoulder manipulation to boost circulation and recuperate lazy muscles.

For a more extreme approach, new microcurrent and radiofrequency therapy devices are at the forefront of non-invasive options. At Mario Tricoci’s illustrious Chicago day spa, clients are booking repeated sessions of the new Powerlift 2.0 Youth Firm for Neck and Decollete treatment, which implements Dermasound technology to address sagging and laxity. The multi-step process includes exfoliating skin with a mix of ultrasonic waves and pure water, multiple passes of a microcurrent wand that instantly lifts skin and stimulates collagen production, a smoothing peel for “neckband wrinkle reduction,” and finally an ultrasonic product infusion that allows line-plumping ingredients to penetrate 10,000 percent deeper into the skin than they could from applying by hand. For an appointment-free lift, the just-launched Newa Skin Rejuvenation System is the first of its kind to administer 3Deep Radiofrequency technology in an at-home device. The handheld, when smoothed across the jawline with its activator gel, penetrates energy into the dermis to stimulate collagen painlessly—and with clinical studies showing a reduction in wrinkles and sagging in as little as a month, it rivals the results of old-school injectables without a long winded trip to the dermatologist.

Dr. Idriss encourages caution, though, as a social media obsession has contributed as much to the perception of the problem as it does the cause. “A handful of patients fall into what I like to call the danger zone of perception versus reality,” she explains. “Under the wrong guidance, these patients run the risk of undergoing excessive treatments and eventually changing their appearance altogether, which is usually not a good look.”

Dr. Sarah Arron, Associate Professor of Dermatology at the University of California, agrees. “In the modern day we blame it on our cell phones, but I wonder if Renaissance ladies blamed neck woes on hours spent bending over needlepoint!” she jokes, of rising complaints of Teck Neck.

Whatever the cause, “having a good skin care regimen for the neck and décolletage is a must,” she says, recommending three must-have staples in your medicine cabinet: A retinol-rich product like HydroPeptide’s new Nimni Cream to boost collagen, a vitamin C serum like Lather’s paraben-free Vitamin C Peptide Renewal serum to brighten and smooth, and, as we’ve come to expect, rigorous sunscreen application with an SPF of at least 30. Juice Beauty’s organic SPF 30 Oil-Free Moisturizer touts an antioxidant-packed formula to step up the skin-friendly benefits of your UV-free routine. Aside from those textural changes that are “easier to prevent than to treat,” Dr. Arron touts the power of a simple, familiar exercise that both relaxes platysma (the muscle fibers extending from the collarbone to the jaw) and reduces jowls. Her timeless remedy for one ultra-modern ailment? “Look up and smile.”

10 Celebrities Who’ve Quit Botox and Fillers Throughout the Years

Cameron Diaz is no stranger to aging and beauty, having penned two books on the subjects of health, wellness, and living your best life. However, when promoting her first title, The Body Book, in 2014, Diaz told Entertainment Tonight that she had tried Botox and it had changed her face—not for the better. “I’ve tried [Botox] before, where it was like a little tiny touch of something. It changed my face in such a weird way that I was like, ‘No, I don’t want to be like that,’” Diaz said. “I’d rather see my face aging than a face that doesn’t belong to me at all.”

However, Diaz doesn’t judge anyone who wants to go under the needle. “They’re to help people feel a little better about themselves,” she told the Huffington Post in May 2016. “If they do feel better about themselves, then those procedures have worked. I have no problem with that. And [in] a lot of instances, it does make you look like you’ve taken a nap … or that you might be a little younger than you looked maybe the day before.”

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In an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians that aired in 2010, Kim Kardashian tried Botox. “I had some bruising around my eyes after the procedure, which is totally natural, but because I hadn’t looked into the side effects, I freaked out. Botox just wasn’t necessary for me at [that] age,” the reality mogul reportedly said.

Just a few years later, when pregnant with her second child, Saint West, went on the defensive after filming a makeup tutorial, when many of her fans believed she’d had some work done on her face. “No I don’t do fillers or botox when pregnant like some tabloids are reporting, you would have to be really sick to endanger your child like that,” she reportedly wrote on her site, So at least that issue’s open and shut.

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Nicole Kidman is arguably one of the most famous Botox users, but after many years of injections, she too bid adieu to the Botox. In her quest for staying youthful and healthy. She admitted to German magazine TV Movie in 2011 that she’s “also tried Botox.” But she “didn’t like how my face looked afterwards, which led to her quit going under the needle. “Now I don’t use it anymore—I can move my forehead again,” she joked.


Naomi Watts likes to keep the matter of injections close to her chest. (Face?) “Personally, I feel for me it’s tough to do Botox — but it’s also tough not to! Sometimes, I think I need the help. Whatever anyone else chooses is fine with me, no judgment,” she told New Beauty Magazine in 2016. “Of course, I want to look the best I can, but I am playing characters that should match my age and the women and the material that I am interested in are usually going through something. I have to be able to live in my face and tell the story of the character I’ve taken on. But…I’ll never say never.”

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The seemingly ageless model and actress has a balanced outlook when it comes to Botox and fillers, preferring the latter over the former, according to People. And when talking with New Beauty Magazine, Brinkley believes that “if you want to look refreshed, [Botox] has to be [administered] with a light hand.”

Because what’s most important when it comes to beauty, Brinkley says, is looking like yourself. “Don’t change your face; maybe just change a wrinkle or two that’s bothering you,” she said. “You still should look like you.”

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The Revenge Body host may be fitter than ever these days, but that never stopped her from being interested in dabbling with some fillers and Botox in the past. However, after Khloe Kardashian tried ’em, she reportedly knew they weren’t for her: “[Facial fillers] did not work for me. I looked crazy, and I still think the effects are in there — I went to have it all dissolved like three times,” she said, according to MTV UK.

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The OG Baywatch babe may be a portrait of plastic surgery in excess, she’s admitted that Botox and fillers may not have been her best decision. In 2015, Pamela Anderson opened up about her decision. “I am the last person to try Botox but I did,” she told People. “I felt like my eyes sunk into my head so far that I didn’t look look like me anymore! I’m not into all that stuff.”

Yet she does admit that trying to look youthful is not necessarily a bad thing. “I think a little bit of maintenance is good. There are things we can do to perk ourselves up. Some people go to far. I’m not obsessed,” she said.

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The singer-cum-fashion designer may be known for her blonde hair and those famous Daisy Duke shorts, but Jessica Simpson has admitted to falling under the spell of injectables. After having Restalyne injections for fuller lips for a few years, she recanted from the cosmetic procedure. “[The injections] went away in, like, four months,” she told Glamour back in 2006. “My lips are back to what they were. Thank God! It looked fake to me. I didn’t like that.”

Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Fashion Footwear Charitable Foundation

Kelly Ripa may be the perkiest morning show host around, but even Ripa’s been enchanted by the proverbial fountain of youth. After being told by her a.m. colleagues her face was looking angry, Ripa reportedly joked that she knew it was time for Botox. But in 2016, the pint-sized star confided to Megyn Kelly (on-air…). “I got bad Botox about … what was it, a year ago? And it was bad. It did something to my good side, so then I had two bad sides,” she joked, according to People. “I’m starting to look myself again, but there was about a six-month period where people were like: ‘What’s wrong with Kelly? She doesn’t smile anymore.’ And I was like: ‘I am smiling!’” Needless to say, that’s when Ripa decided to put the needle down.

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Actress Dana Delany had arguably the scariest experience with injections, Botox, and fillers—a story that could probably swear off even the most ardent of filler fans. “[My dermatologist] injected my forehead, hit a nerve and created a huge hematoma,” Delaney told Prevention in 2010, as reported by the New York Daily News. “The nerve has been dead ever since. It affected the muscle in my right eye, so my eye has started to droop a little bit. I notice it more than anybody else, but I was symmetrical before and now I am not.”

Enough to make you think twice, right?

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Nantucket Film Festival)

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