The neck is one of the most noticeable parts of the body. It can be the most sensual part or the most age-revealing part of the body.
The skin on your neck is often thinner and more sensitive than the skin on your face and just as prone to changes in pigment, elasticity, texture, and wrinkles. Considering the number of times we move our neck, how exposed it is to the elements that contribute aging and how little care and attention we give it – no wonder the neck is often considered the most age-revealing part of the body.
To have a nice looking neck, you need to spend as much time caring and nourishing it as you do your face. Every cleansing and moisturizing session should not stop at your chin, but continue down the neck to the chest area. The most basic care should include cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing.
Cleansing and Exfoliating
Necks should be cleansed regularly to remove dirt oils, and exfoliated to remove dead skin cells that dull your neck skin complexion. Regular exfoliation will give you a healthier-looking skin and aids in new collagen development.
A face mask can also be used to cleanse and exfoliate, leaving the skin softer and smoother. Remember to reach around the neck to the back of your neck and the ears.
The skin texture on the neck may not be as smooth as you like. Moisturizing will help to keep it smoother, softer and minimize the appearance of aging lines. But a simple once a weekly routine like the one below will also make a difference:
- Cleanse the neck with your facial cleanser and rinse with warm water
- Wipe with a cotton pad soaked in your preferred skin toner
- Wet a small clean towel in warm water, wring out and wrap it around the neck for two to three minutes and relax
- Remove the towel and immediately apply a rich moisturizing cream
- Leave this for 20 minutes and wipe away any excess cream if necessary
More Tips for a Lovely Neck
Your day and night face moisturizers, as well as most treatment creams, should work just as well on your neck. But if you use products containing alpha hydroxy acids or retinols, do a spot-test first to protect against irritation. Since the skin on the neck may be more delicate, reduce irritation by using these treatments on your neck every third evening and slowly work up to nightly application.
During hot weather, exposure to sunlight will trigger the formation of early lines and wrinkles. Therefore a sunscreen should to be applied to shield your skin against sun damage. Be sure to apply sunscreen to the chest area too.
Skin care products, including those containing retinol and peptides, can build collagen and smooth skin—even reducing horizontal ‘neck rings’ and lines.
In-office options include treatments such as fractionated resurfacing, with lasers such as Fraxel and Affirm. They stimulate cell turnover and the production of collagen. You’ll see significant improvement with this type of procedure but it can be costly: Fine lines are often reduced by up to 50% after five or six monthly treatments at about $500 per treatment.
You can tighten loose skin with liposuction performed under local anesthesia. During the half-hour procedure, small incisions are made behind the ears or below the chin and excess fat is vacuumed out via tiny suction tubes. If you have excess skin, you may need to pair this procedure with a neck lift to completely regain firmness.
You can reduce the look of vertical cords, also known as banding, that form when muscle beings to stretch out of shape. This is done with Botox that is injected directly in to the muscle, relaxing the neck. Each treatment lasts 3-4 months. A more permanent option is a surgical treatment called platysmaplasty where the muscle is tightened and anchored through a small incision under the chin. Any post-op bruising and swelling should subside within a week.
While it is perfectly acceptable to use face creams, serums and lotions on the neck, there is now more attention to treating the neck area with specialized products like HTY Gold designed to treat the crepey skin of the neck area, and Bareminerals Skincare Extra Firming Neck Cream designed to firm and smooth the skin while improving the look for cord-like lines on the neck.