How Not to Feel Bad About Your Neck
When it comes to the area just south of your chin, trust us, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. But whatever you are in the battle against things like gravity and sun damage, there’s a lot of good you can do for your neck and décolletage.
20s – Ample amounts of collagen and elasticity mean your neck and chest are enviably smooth and supple. Keep them that way with daily SPF applied from your chin to your bra line. If pimples and sweat bumps are an issue, use an anti-acne wash and be sure to either shower or use a cleansing wipe after workouts, says N.Y.C. dermatologist Debra Jaliman. TRY THESE Elta MD broad spectrum SPF 45, $29; eltamd.com for stores. Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action wipes, $5; drugstore.com.
30s – That sprinkle of brown spots on your skin didn’t appear overnight. It developed after years of sun exposure, as UV light caused cells to churn out extra melanin, explains Leslie Baumann, a Miami dermatologist. Products (like Neostrata’s) with hydroquinone, a bleaching agent, can help fade the damage. Those with retinol will stave off more hyperpigmentation by making cells turn over more quickly. TRY THESE Neostrata HQ skin lightening gel, $47; neostrata.com. Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Day SPF 30 (with retinol), $21; neutrogena.com.
40s – You’re not imagining the looser skin around your neck or the “cleavage wrinkles.” Both, says Dr. Jaliman, are related to decreasing elasticity. To the rescue: creams (like the tinted one below) with human growth factors, which trigger skin-cell division, thereby boosting collagen. Seeing more spots? Work in kojic acid or hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid (in the Skinceuticals treatment) to exfoliate excess melanin. TRY THESE Neocutis Journee Bio-Restorative day cream, $120; dermstore.com. Skinceuticals Neck, Chest & Hand Repair, $70; skinceuticals.com.
50s and Over – With menopause come lower levels of estrogen and less collagen production, which in turn creates more wrinkly, crinkly, and yes, thinner skin, says Mt. Kisco, N.Y., dermatologist David E. Bank. Step up your application of a formula with human growth factors to twice daily. And look for a firming cream (your new best friend) that also helps repair sun damage with antioxidants. TRY THESE Skin Medica TNS Recovery Complex (with growth factors), $165; skinmedica.com. Erno Laszlo Firmarine neck cream, $115; ernolaszlo.com.
EXTRA HELP: Bigger fixes are just a doctor’s appointment (or two) away!
BOTEX A favorite for frown lines and forehead wrinkles, this neurotoxin can be injected to relax vertical platysma bands, smoothing and tightening the neck for up to six months, says Dr. Nank. Cost: $500-$1,000 per treatment
FRAXEL Want to speed up collagen production, tighten neck wattles, blast away discoloration, and improve texture? Opt for this heavy-duty laser. Cost: about $1,000 per treatment (typically, three needed, with one week of downtime per session)
INTETNSE PULSED LIGHT (IPL) This laserlike treatment (with one to seven days of downtime) gets rid of discoloration on your décolletage by essentially stripping away layers of skin, says Dr. Jaliman. Cost: $750 per treatment (three needed)
RADIO FREQUENCY With zero recovery time and results that last a few years, onetime procedures like Thermage use radio-frequency energy to stimulate collagen and tighten skin, says Dr. Baumann. Cost: about $3,500