Your neck skin has a different cell composition than the other parts of your body. How different? Basically, your neck skin is about as delicate as the skin on your eyelids.
Did you ever think about why you often see celebrities whose faces look younger thanks to surgery, but whose necks show their real age?
Turkey neck is caused by flaccid muscles, loose skin, and fat. This is because the skin on your neck is thinner, dryer and a lot more vulnerable to the elements that cause the skin to depreciate.
Your neck is supported by muscles and, like any other muscle in your body, they can weaken with age and lack of use. This means the thin skin that lies over the top of the neck muscles isn’t adequately supported and is likely to sag, giving you what is known as a turkey neck.
As you age, your skin also loses elasticity, which is another common cause of loose skin on the neck.
The thing about your neck is that it requires care, and while your face might be glowing and plump from all of your mists, masks and toners, your neck will show signs of stress and age sooner.
If you thought your hands show your age, take a look at your neck. That poultry-like excess of skin is one of the hardest to fix, as it's an area we exercise the least.
The good news is that regular exercises can subtly build the muscles in the neck and improve circulation to give a firmer appearance. The neck is not the easiest of areas to treat, but if you follow our tips, you’ll turn your neck from turkey back to spring chicken in no time.
Why your skin neck needs extra care
Your neck skin has a different cell composition than the other parts of your body — just think about how rare neck pimples are.
Dermatologists explain that neck skin is different. The dermis is thinner and more prone to wrinkling. When you don’t have a thick dermis, there isn’t as much collagen in the skin, and all the support to keep it from wrinkling. Which means, basically, that your neck skin is about as delicate as the skin on your eyelids.
Moreover, your neck is naturally oil-free. Its skin is missing what skincare experts call “nature’s moisturizer”: oil. The same substance you frantically try to blot away from your T-Zone is also what gives your skin moisture and youthfulness. The neck has fewer sebaceous glands, which secrete oil.
People with more sebaceous glands have better wound healing and fewer signs of aging. Simply put, moisturized or oiled-up skin looks better than dry skin.
A sheet of muscle called the platysma runs in bands from the jawline to the clavicle. Watch any Instagram video of the Rock pounding plates at the gym and you’ll see the platysma when his neck bulges.
The platysma is also exerted when you stick out your chin or make an “Eek” noise. Over time, those movements can stretch out the lines of the neck. Bottom line is that, from the perspective of anatomy, we have a lot more going on to accelerate the aging appearance of the neck.
And, let's be real, perpetually looking down at our mobile devices isn't doing us any favors in the neck wrinkles department.
No need for neck creams
Experts say that most neck problems begin to plague us as we reach middle age. Which basically means, you may feel bad about your neck post-menopause – in most women it comes, roughly, between 40 and 50.
The question many women ask their skincare specialists is, do they need a special neck cream? The answer is absolutely not!
Most firming neck creams are better at preventing neck droop than fixing it.
Preventative measures such as the use of the same products you put on your face are a good idea — so long as you do it before your neck has dramatically changed appearance.
As for the claim that a cream or lotion can lift sagging skin, dermatologists say that’s not possible. A cream or lotion cannot penetrate the skin deeply enough to do this.
The truth is that buying a separate product for your neck area is unnecessary and more often than not a total waste of money. Surprisingly, these products rarely contain ingredients that can help improve the signs of aging, or they come in jars, and appallingly, they almost never contain sunscreen!
There’s absolutely no research showing the neck needs special ingredients!
Consistently use the exact same exceptional skincare routine you use for your face on your neck and chest too. The only time you ever need to use separate products for that area is if you’re addressing different skin concerns such as acne or very dry skin.
Below we present you some suggestions on what you can do to keep your neck looking as young as possible.
Apply sunscreen generously
Clothing often exposes the neck and chest to the sun, making these areas especially vulnerable. Crinkly skin below the chin is caused primarily by sun damage leading to collagen loss.
Daily sunscreen is a must for prevention. Always protect your exposed neck with daily application of broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater. This is the best single step you can take to keep this area of your skin looking youthful and smooth for years to come. Moreover, if used as directed with other sun protection measures, wearing sunscreen decreases the risk of skin cancer.
Keep the moisture in
When removing make-up, always clean the skin of the neck with a micellar solution or milk. You will see that the pollution on it accumulates for a day no less than on the face.
Just as you would your face, work on exfoliating your neck once a week with a very gentle exfoliate or a mild peel. This helps to encourage cell renewal and freshens the skin up, remove the old skin cells and stimulate the production of collagen. After that, do not forget to use a tonic or lotion.
At night, use a bit richer night cream. Neck skin dislikes greasy and heavy creams because they are not absorbed well. The most suitable for the neck are active moisturizers such as serums, which contain natural plant extracts. As the skin is thinner, it will penetrate easily, so give it as much moisture as possible.
Improve your sleeping habits
Sleeping can help tighten the skin on your neck, too. Try to sleep with your neck 'long' and stretched out. Anything that tips your chin towards your chest will add horizontal lines to your neck. Sleeping on your back is the best way to minimize wrinkles in your face and neck.
If you prefer to sleep on your side, it is vital to support your neck, specifically the gap between your shoulder and head.
Sleeping on unsuitable pillows may promote wrinkles, therefore you should get yourself a flat pillow. If you sleep with two pillows, ditch the second one to minimize the angle between the face and neck. Silk pillowcases also help to minimize wrinkles as they don’t drag on your skin as you sleep.
Check the way you sit
Sitting with 'computer neck' is also a bad posture habit, experts note. Hunching over your desk or laptop all day with rounded shoulders will make your neck look older.
Instead, try to sit with a straight back, relax your shoulders and hold your head high. Stretching your neck on a day-to-day basis can train the skin to be taut rather than loose. Try to sit up straight when on a computer or laptop, holding your head up high.
Try and place your computer higher up on your desk, so you’re not looking down at it all day. Same goes for your phone or tablet – hold it up, so the neck isn’t creased. You might look a bit strange to yourself at first, but you’ll definitely be helping prevent any neck wrinkles.
Tone it with exercise
You can also exercise your neck – do simple head moves every day which tighten the muscles and the skin. Exercises are the crucial element of the neck skin care.
For example, sit back on a chair with your back straight and slowly lean your head back until you’re staring at the ceiling. Pout your lips as though you are kissing the ceiling and hold the pose for a few seconds. Repeat 10 times.
Neck rolls not only release muscle tension but also assist in toning the neck, throat and chin.
Tilt your chin toward your chest. Rotate your head to the left, raise it up toward the ceiling and down to the right in a circular fashion. As you feel the release of tension, wrinkles in the throat area begin to dissolve.
There are plenty of other exercises and even face yoga courses designed for the neck that you can easily practice wherever you are. While it doesn't happen overnight, exercise can help you to achieve a more youthful appearance by combating sagging and drooping neck muscles and skin.