Can Exercise Tighten a Turkey Wattle?

Studio shot of woman with eyes closed

While Botox injections, liposuction and surgical neck lifts can improve or eliminate your turkey wattle, there may be a more natural alternative. Excess skin under the chin, also known as turkey wattle or turkey neck, is often the first sign of aging. However, age isn’t the sole factor. Sun damage, weight gain or loss and your genetics also contribute to turkey wattle.


Neck skin is thinner and has less collagen than your facial skin, according to Alan Matarassok, M.D. Because the neck area is particularly vulnerable to environmental damage, it may explain why the first signs of aging often appear in the jowls and neck. The platysma is the muscle that gives your neck its youthful contour. Just as muscles throughout your body atrophy when they aren’t used, when the platysma muscle sags, loose skin begins to develop under your chin. The resultant lack of muscle tone also enables fat deposits to form under the chin, which contributes to the loss of definition of your jaw line.


While conventional treatment for the turkey wattle calls for medical or surgical intervention, proponents of facial exercise say regular exercise of your neck muscles can improve or eliminate loose skin under your chin. Because the neck muscles are attached directly to the skin, facial exercises that contract those muscles will shorten, lifting and spreading the skin to give you a more youthful appearance.


Facial fitness expert Cynthia Rowland says you can eliminate your turkey wattle by exercising your neck muscles. Tilt your head back and press your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Hold for a count of 10 and relax. Rowland, who has made guest appearances on "The Doctors" and "The Rachel Ray Show," says with regular practice, you should begin to see results within two or three weeks.

To strengthen the network of muscles surrounding your chin, Hatha yoga and facial toning instructor Rose Hong Tran recommends practicing “The Scooping Jaw” exercise. To execute, place your lower lip over your bottom teeth and imagine you are using your jaw to scoop up a heavy object. Repeat the movement 10 times, and at the final scoop, hold your jaw in place for 10 seconds.


If you are unable to commit to a long-term exercise program, ask your doctor or dermatologist about the non-surgical facelift that uses ultrasound technology to encourage collagen growth. As an alternative to invasive surgery, surgeons can remove fat deposits from your neck area and tighten neck muscles through a small incision under the skin. Although most patients experience moderate improvement, a small percentage report a marked change in their appearance.