How & Why To Take Care Of Your Neck

The skin on our neck tends to be much thinner, which explains why it's one of the first areas to show signs of ageing. From the importance of serums, to why mobile phones don’t help, this is how the experts advise you take care of yours…
UPDATED JULY 2020

The Skin On Your Neck Is More Delicate

“With a different cell composition to other parts of your body, the skin on your neck is entirely different,” explains expert facialist, Kate Kerr. “The dermis is thinner, so there isn’t as much collagen either, which means you’re more likely to see premature wrinkling. Think of it this way, your neck is about as delicate as the skin on your eyelids – that should give you some perspective as to how gentle you should be.” Dr. Kemi Fabusiwa, Medical Doctor & Aesthetician agrees: “This is why it’s so important not to rub or be overly vigorous with the skin in this area. Instead adopt gentle sweeping motions and massage your products in gently.” 

Tech Neck Is A Thing – Really 

“The constant bending of the neck – caused by looking downwards at a device – is actually more damaging than you may think,” adds Dr. Kemi. “It causes fine lines and wrinkles to form as the skin becomes consistently creased. As well as the cutaneous damage, the unnatural curvature of the spine caused by the neck being bent at a 45-degree angle affects the way the spine is able to weight-bear, which doesn’t help with back and shoulder pain either. It’s why, on top of a diligent skincare routine, you should pay attention to how you carry your device, and maintain regular neck stretches to prevent too much creasing.” 

You Don’t Need A Whole New Routine 

“The industry is saturated with dedicated neck creams, most of which are a dedicated ploy to make extra money,” says Kate. “Because most are focused on anti-ageing, any neck product is bound to have the same ingredients as a regular face cream. Admittedly, a dedicated neck cream might be richer, thereby helping to soothe dryness, but they’re usually not necessary.” Dr. Kemi adds: “You can apply the same products that you use on your face onto your neck. Just remember that the skin here is thinner and therefore more delicate, so some exfoliating acids and retinols have the potential to irritate. If I was to recommend a cream, it would be Mario Badescu’s. It’s rich, with potent antioxidants and vitamins to reduce any free-radical damage that contributes to ageing. The addition of hyaluronic acid also helps to hydrate and plump sagging skin.” 

Serums Work Well 

“Ideally, you want a product that stimulates collagen, has antioxidants to protect against the environment and added SPF to ward off UV damage,” advises Kate. “You might also want something that specifically targets pigmentation – a common side effect of perfume use. But it’s unlikely one product will target everything at once. Instead, use different serums and sweep them in upward motions post-cleanse. Serums have smaller particles, so they’re more likely to really penetrate the skin.” 

Specific Ingredients Target Different Issues

“It all depends on your concerns, but generally speaking, if you’re looking to boost collagen production, seek out serums laced with retinol – just make sure it’s a lower dose, as thin skin won’t cope with high percentages,” says Kate. “It’s also worth trying products on your neck that contain growth factors, peptides and hyaluronic acid – all of which stimulate collagen and boost elasticity. If pigmentation is your concern, vitamin C should be your first port of call to strengthen the capillaries on your neck over time.”  

Fewer Sebaceous Glands Mean Less Moisture

“It’s important to note that the neck lacks sebaceous glands, which are the oil-secreting glands found on our faces,” says Dr. Kemi. “For this reason, you can afford to apply thicker and richer formulas here, without the worry of the skin breaking out. Keep the neck as moisturised and nourished as you can, and never skip daily SPF. This will protect you against any UV damage, as well as prevent collagen breakdown and, eventually, the laxity of the skin. Even on cloudy days SPF is important. UV-radiant from the sun can still penetrate through windows and cause damage to the skin.” 

How You Apply Your Product Counts 

“Try to think of the neck as an extension of the face and treat it no differently in terms of both skincare and application,” advises Kate. Dr. Kemi agrees: “Keep your motions light and gentle, always sweeping upwards, never downwards. This alone will prevent the skin from being pulled or stretched on the neck. Try not to stop just as the neck either. Consider the ears and lips as exposed areas that need protection, too.” 

Investigate Certain Procedures

“While good skincare is always beneficial in the long-term, there are certain procedures which can help – although it’s worth noting these tend to only yield temporary results,” explains Kate. “Neurotoxins (like botox) can be used to soften signs of sagging, while hyaluronic fillers can blur and diffuse fine lines, having a softening effect. As a less invasive option, IPL is great and often used to treat a common condition known as poikiloderma. This is when you see redness form on the sides of the cheeks and down onto the décolletage, making the skin quite bumpy. It’s treated by using products that help to induce constriction of capillaries – which is why IPL is so effective.”
 

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