We often focus so much on our face that we forget that it’s just as important to take care of the neck area. After all, your décolletage is the pedestal on which you put your best face forward. Though your face and neck are inevitably connected, both areas should be cared for differently but with the same attention to detail. In fact, it’s vitally important to care for your décolletage because it’s one of the first places you can see age. If you’ve been washing regularly and applying a daily moisturizer, you may think you’re off to a good start. But the neck area needs a lot of TLC and products that really work to reduce fine lines and tone and tighten. Let’s take a closer look at how to achieve a younger looking neck by caring for your décolletage.
THE SKIN OF THE NECK
Structurally, your neck is made up of bones, tendons, nerves, muscles and your spinal column and vertebra. It’s strong yet flexible and allows you to move your head in all different directions. Your skin on top of this complex structure is thicker than the skin found on your face and chest, but it is still extremely sensitive to sunburn and scarring and definitely thinner than the skin found on the rest of the body. As you age, gravity and natural age progression can cause many problems with your décolletage area.
What does that mean for your skin on your neck as you begin to age? There are many ways that your neck can show the signs of aging. First, you may notice those tell-tale lines and wrinkles. You may see horizontal lines from wear and tear or even lines from sleeping. You may also notice a loss of elastin and collagen as you age (or as you gain and lose weight) resulting in your skin becoming loose and saggy. As you age, you may also notice saggy skin known as “turkey chin” or extra fat known as a “double chin.” Fat deposits can collect under the chin and along the jawline. Health issues, like thyroid problems or a lack of iodine, can also lead to goiters, though rarer today than in years past. You may also see age spots, dark spots and sun damage on the neck. The neck is also a common area for skin cancer to appear.
Your neck is one of the most easily missed spots when it comes to applying sunscreen. Since the neck is hidden out of your line of sight, it’s an easy spot to miss. The back of the neck especially is prone to dangerous sunburns and scarring, as well as, sunspots and wrinkles because of missed sunscreen or sunscreen that is not reapplied properly. One of the easiest and best ways to protect your neck (and your whole décolletage) from aging is to use a daily SPF to help prevent sun damage from harmful UV rays. Every time you apply SPF to your face, make sure to apply it to your neck as well. You definitely want to avoid having a face that’s protected and a neck that’s noticeably aged. It’s important to keep them on the same age prevention course.
EUROPEAN MASSAGE TECHNIQUE-DOES IT REALLY WORK?
You may have heard your mother say, “You must always apply moisturizer to your neck in an upward motion?” The idea of applying creams and treatments upward on the neck is based on the Ancient Asian and European ideas that facial massage helps tone and firm muscles by essentially working them out each time you apply moisturizer. Massage has been proven to provide many health benefits, including stress reduction and relaxation. Though the most important way to apply a cream or moisturizer to the neck is to do so very gently, as to not harm the tender skin. Positioning stretches and neck exercises have also shown to help stretch, tone and tighten the neck muscles which help to keep the neck looking more youthful for longer. Be aware that you can get sleeping lines on your chest as well and wrinkles from constantly staring at your phone and computer screen while keeping your neck in the same position. Thus, daily stretching helps counteract these effects.
DAY TO DAY CARE
It’s important to treat your neck daily. Think about your neck area extending from your bosom up to your face. Start by exfoliating the area to remove buildup. Use a glycolic or other hydroxy acid cleanser or astringent. Next, use a daily neck cream that contains an SPF. At night, make sure to wear a nightly neck cream, especially one that contains anti-aging properties like peptides. Oils, like coconut and sunflower, or shea butter provide natural care that boosts big benefits with antioxidants and natural acids that help reduce inflammation and promote smoother, more supple skin.
TOUGHER TREATMENTS FOR THE DÉCOLLETAGE
If you’re doing all of the above daily care techniques but find you just can’t shake those fine line and wrinkles, you may want to turn to a different type of treatment. There are many products and procedures available to help you tone and tighten the skin on your neck.
Isolated platysmaplasty. For patients with saggy skin on the neck and other signs of aging, this treatment works as an incision below the ears that lifts the skin and tightens.
Neck lift and lower facelift. Usually done together, the procedure continues to become less invasive but is still a surgical procedure that helps reduce saggy skin, fat deposits, and muscle banding. A neck lift is called a lower rhytidectomy.
Neck contouring. A surgical procedure that helps tone and tighten and redefine the shape of the neck. Can be done alone but is sometimes performed in conjunction with other facial surgeries.
Neck Liposuction. Best for patients between their 20s through 50s, it works to remove the double chin to give a refined look to the neck. For those with advanced aging, the procedure will not have the same effects because the skin isn’t as elastic as it once was.
Ultrasound Tightening. A non-ablative skin tightening technology that reduces wrinkles and minimizes skin sagging. It is a safe option for a surgical procedure and has a little downtime and minimal discomfort and pain.
Neck rejuvenation therapy. Either through using a pulsed ablative CO2 laser for resurfacing of the neck or by using a croton oil peel to rejuvenate the skin on the neck. Both provide less invasive results than ablative procedures or surgery.
Botox or Dysport. Both are a botulinum toxin type A preparation that works to paralyze the skin to reduce the look of fine lines or wrinkles. They can be used to treat lines on the neck but are more commonly used to treat facial lines. Botox was first established in the United States while Dysport is from Europe.
No matter which method works best for you, it’s important to think about neck care early and often. After all, your neck has been there for you all along the way. From your first gym class to your first kiss to soothing your first baby. You want to make sure to treat it as well as it’s treated you. Start by showing your neck with as much love as you do your face each day. Make sure to use a daily SPF with at least a level of 30 protection and don’t forget to apply on the front and back and reapply accordingly. Then make sure to keep your skin hydrated with oils and an anti-aging treatment. Remember that your décolletage begins at your bosom and follows up through your face. Don’t neglect regular stretching and exercise that helps tighten and tone the neck. If you’ve tried all of these things but are feeling self-conscience about fine lines or saggy skin, make an appointment to meet with your dermatologist to discover the best treatment for your neck. Whether it be laser resurfacing, rejuvenation therapy or a surgical procedure, your doctor will help you tone and tighten so that you can continue to put your best face forward thanks to that special area known as your décolletage.