You have your skin care routine down perfectly ― never has your face looked more vibrant and glowing. But then you look down, and there it is: the neck. Often plagued with wrinkles, bands and sagging, the neck is one of the quickest and most obvious body parts to show aging.
Even using your traditional skin care routine on the neck doesn’t always seem to help these issues. So what are the best ways to combat and smooth these age-showing fine lines? We’ve asked experts in the field.
Why do necks age so quickly, anyway?
“Interestingly, the face and the neck are connected; however, the aging of the neck is a little unique,” explained Andrew Paul Ordon, a plastic surgeon and an Emmy-nominated co-host of the talk show “The Doctors.” “There are a couple of reasons for that; the skin of the neck is extremely thin. It’s subject to sun damage. But what’s unique about the neck [is that] the neck moves ― the neck is a joint just like your elbow or your knee. And over time, we form creases over our joints.“
It is normal for collagen and elastic tissue to break down with normal skin aging, which accounts for neck wrinkles and sagging. This typically starts to show around the mid-20s, and even more so for those with increased exposure to sunlight and pollutants, such as cigarette smoke.
These creases and bands on the neck have become even worse in recent decades due to a condition called “tech neck,” which is a result of looking down at electronic devices for extended periods of time.
“Neck bands commonly appear at a younger age and are exacerbated by neck movement, such as moving the neck up and down or holding the neck in a downward position, while you are scrolling your phone or working on your computer,” explained Robyn Gmyrek, a Manhattan-based dermatologist.
Is there a way to prevent aging in the neck?
Stopping sagging and wrinkles before they start is the best solution. “It is always easier to prevent rather than repair damage or rejuvenate,” Gmyrek explained. Here are some of the possible measures to take:
Sunscreen is the No. 1 suggestion by all the experts. Damage from the sun increases the look of aging on all parts of the body. Already use sunscreen for your face? “My recommendation is to always apply the same skin care routine you do on the face to the neck,” said Dr. Azza Halim, a physician based in Florida.
Topical treatments and creams are another means of prevention. Gmyrek suggests topical antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin E, which can help reverse the damage caused by sunlight and pollution. To help stimulate collagen, retinoid creams are a solid choice.
Diet also can factor in to how our skin looks. A diet rich in antioxidants and with minimal sugar prevents collagen damage, according to Gmyrek. Ordon also explained, “Weight fluctuation plays a big part in your neck. If you have done yo-yo dieting, that is going to contribute to laxity of the neck.”
The best treatments for neck wrinkles
If you’ve already developed these pesky wrinkles and sagging, then it could be time for treatment. Here are some of the in-office options:
Ultherapy, which uses ultrasound, goes farther down into the skin’s layers than creams to help stimulate collagen at the deeper layers and helps prevent sagging neck.
Non-ablative fractionated resurfacing lasers, such as Clear and Brilliant or Fraxel, can help improve the texture of your skin.
Radiofrequency microneedling devices all stimulate collagen and elastic tissue, which Gmyrek says are helpful in treating horizontal neck bands. Keep in mind, multiple treatments are needed if you go for this procedure.
Injectables are another option that help fill neck bands and horizontal lines. “Dermal fillers do not treat muscle but do help smooth out fine lines and plump up the skin on the neck giving it a more youthful appearance,” Halim said. Others may prefer Botox for bands and neck cords, which will soften up their appearance by relaxing the muscle.
Expert-recommended skin care products for the neck
Not up for for such expensive in-office treatments? The experts have shared their favorite products to help keep your neck looking the same age as your face.
Sunscreen! Always sunscreen.
A serious repair cream
A gentle retinol
A great vitamin C serum
A solid hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture
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