When it comes to your skincare routine, it's easy to focus solely on your face. But the delicate skin on your neck and décolletage deserves just as much TLC. This often-overlooked area is one of the first places to show signs of aging, as it's thinner and more fragile than facial skin.
That's why it's so important to extend your skincare regimen down to your neck and chest. With consistent care, you can keep your neck looking taut, smooth, and youthful. With just a few extra minutes devoted to this area, you can preserve its beauty and complement your facial skincare efforts.
But first, a personal anecdote
I first started wearing makeup around the time I got my first pimple – for obvious reasons. Armed with a copy of Seventeen magazine and a bottle of Covergirl foundation, I was extremely satisfied with the results. Until I got to homeroom.
“What’s wrong with your face?” asked the kid beside me.
As a teen girl, I was mortified. I didn’t know why, I only knew that to stand out in junior high was the kiss of death when all any teenager wants is to blend in. Or at the very least, avoid negative attention at absolutely all costs.
“Your neck is a different color than your face,” he replied to my questioning look.
Two things: I’ve gotten a lot better about letting folks know how I feel about unsolicited comments.
And secondly, from that moment on, I never forgot to blend in my makeup south of my jawline.
I was reminded of that little bit of adolescent cringe when I came across an ad for a “neck repair” product just the other day. While it’s true that the neck tends to get overlooked in our multi-step skincare routines, improving the look and feel of that delicate area doesn’t require special products so much as special attention. Mostly, remember to migrate your moisturizers south of the jawline.
Interested in a little extra credit? We gathered some great tips from experts that don’t require too much additional effort to get A+ results.
If you do nothing else, always remember to wear a good sunscreen and apply generously to the face and neck. UV rays are the single largest contributor to damaged skin which can lead to sunspots and wrinkles.
"There is a medical term known as poikiloderma of Civatte, which is damaged skin and broken capillaries and pigmentation on the outside edges of your neck caused by sun damage, as that is an area that the sun hits and is often forgotten,” says Shereene Idriss, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in Manhattan. (Real Simple)
These days, we live a good portion of our lives staring at screens. It can cause digital eye strain and something else called “tech neck.” You know, that sore feeling you get from the base of your skull that radiates down through your shoulders and back. It can also cause the skin around under your jaw to fold and create grooves across your neck.
The solution is seriously simple: elevate the height of your monitor or screens to just above your eye-line and adjust your posture, leaning slightly back. Even a few degrees can alleviate the weight of strain on your spine.
K. Daniel Riew, M.D., director of cervical spine surgery and co-director of spine surgery in the department of orthopedic surgery at Och Spine at New York-Presbyterian recommends aerobic exercise that doesn’t strain the back and neck like cycling, briskly-paced walking, or swimming to get the blood flowing. This will help clear the toxins that cause pain and inflammation. (Health Matters)
An Apple A Day
Healthy skin starts from within, and eating a balanced diet that includes all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs is a great place to start. Collagen, the protein that keeps skin bouncy and radiant, can be affected by low levels of Vitamin C. Fruits and veg like apples, oranges, and broccoli can help improve the production of collagen, reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles across the neck and “plumping” skin along the jawline. (Healthline)
Get a Gua Sha
A gua sha is an old school tool – like 220 C.E. old school – used to encourage self-healing. Typically made of jade or quartz, the smoothly rounded flat stone is “scraped” up and along the face and neck to improve circulation, encourage lymphatic drainage, and reduce interstitial fluid that cause the skin to look puffy and bloated.
With consistent use, after two weeks you can potentially see a more sculpted, toned neck and face, and experience a boost in mood to boot. (MindBodyGreen)
Cleanse and Exfoliate
If you’re using foundation and other cosmetics on your jaw and neck or nothing at all, cleansing and exfoliating is just as important as your daily face routine. The neck has sebaceous and sweat glands, same as your face, and dirt and debris can clog pores and cause outbreaks.
“"When people don't cleanse their neck, they tend to get 'dark neck,'" Gretchen Frieling, MD, a Boston-based triple board-certified dermatopathologist. Aka dermatitis neglecta, a condition where things like makeup, sweat, dirt, and bacteria build up on your neck, causing the skin to become a shade or two darker than your face.” (Well+Good)
Avoid ‘dark neck’ by cleansing and exfoliating the neck as you do for your face. Micellar Water is a great gentle cleanser that’s simple to use: with a cotton pad, use upward sweeping motions to clear skin of residual make-up, excess dirt and oil, and tone the skin all at once.
Proper exfoliation polishes dull skin by removing dead skin. When you exfoliate your face with an Alpha Hydroxy or other exfoliant, just pull your product down past your jaw to your chest. If you prefer a physical exfoliant, a Super Loofah Facial Mitt is specially designed for delicate skin. This is great in the shower where the warm water and steam opens pores and helps to effectively exfoliate without damaging the fragile skin barrier.