Notice more wrinkles and sagging jowls lately? It could be due to your smartphone usage.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
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Notice more wrinkles and sagging jowls lately? It could be due to your smartphone usage.

Heard of the term “text neck”? It refers to a condition characterised by chronic neck and back pain that is the result of hunching over your smart devices – like phones and tablets – for hours on end, craning your neck at an odd angle. When you flex the neck for extended periods, you exert pressure on and strain the neck and spine, which leads to poor posture and spinal pain. Staring down at your smart devices for ages can also cause wrinkles and sagging skin.

The skin on the neck is already thinner than that on the rest of the body to begin with, and thus is more susceptible to wrinkling. Add to that constant flexing of the neck, and wrinkles will soon start to appear. Looking down constantly can also exacerbate the situation, deepening existing lines and folds. And it seems that “text neck” is on the rise here, with more women now seeking aesthetic treatments for sagging jowls and wrinkly necks.

This is all very bleak news, but there is a ray of hope: This new-age beauty woe can be prevented. Aside from maintaining a good posture and spending less time on your smart devices, using skincare with retinols and peptides helps – apparently, these ingredients improve skin elasticity and encourage skin cell regeneration – as does using a moisturiser with hyaluronic acid, which will plump skin so wrinkles and fine lines appear less obvious.For more deep-set wrinkles and folds, there are non-invasive lifting and tightening aesthetic treatments such as Thermage and Ultherapy.

Sources: Dr Calvin Chan, medical director at Calvin Chan Aesthetic & Laser Clinic; Dr Vanessa Phua, doctor with an interest in aesthetic medicine at Asia Health Partners Pte Ltd; and Dr Low Chai Ling, medical director at The Sloane Clinic.

Thermage CPT, $6,473.50 per session, at The Sloane Clinic.

A non-invasive procedure, this utilises radio-frequency waves to heat up the collagen layers in the skin for an instant tightening effect, and reportedly stimulates collagen production. Results are said to become more obvious after two to six months.

The Sloane Clinic is at #03-14A Ion Orchard (tel: 6509-8108).

Ultherapy, from $2,000 per session, at Scinn Medical Centre.

Ultrasound energy is delivered to targeted areas to reportedly stimulate the growth of new collagen. Skin tissues will be consistently heated at 60 or 70 deg C – supposedly the optimal temperature for jump-starting collagen production – resulting in immediate tissue contraction for tauter skin.

Scinn Medical Centre is at #05-22 Ngee Ann City Tower B (tel: 6235-8066).


1. Do this once a day: Stand in a doorway, raise your arms to the sides and press your palms against the door frame; palms should be at head level and elbows, bent at a right angle. Push your chest forward until you feel a strain on the shoulder muscles. This not only strengthens your muscles but also reinforces good posture.

2. Maintain good posture even while sleeping. Sleep on your back with an additional small pillow under the natural curve of the neck to ensure that there is optimal support for your neck. If you are a side sleeper, try to keep your chin up as you snooze; it’ll help keep the spine straight.

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LPG Intense Hydrating Smoothing Serum, $159.

Formulated with hyaluronic acid, this offers an instant skin-smoothing effect to leave your neck looking plump and line-free, stat.

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Estee Lauder New Dimension Tighten + Tone Neck/Chest Treatment, $170.

With a potent blend of hyaluronic acid, lipids and proteins, this cream promises to leave your neck and decolletage firmer and plumper. Bonus: It comes with a massage tool that’s meant to be used along the jowls to lift and firm them.

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Clinique Sculptwear Contouring Massage Cream Mask, $79.

If you’re looking for something more potent, this mask is it. It has sea fennel extract, a retinol-like ingredient, to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Though it’s a mask, it has a comfortable texture that doesn’t feel heavy on the skin.

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Cosme Decorte AQ MW Neck Renew Cream, $115.

This neck cream has plant extracts that reportedly keep collagen and elastin from breaking down. It also has rice sterols (extracted from rice bran oil), said to have a skin-tightening effect, to counter sagging jowls – think of it as a corset for your skin.