The neck’s best thing

Neck-spe­cific beauty prod­ucts: waste of money or mir­a­cle-worker? Read on!

Women's Health Australia - - NEWS - By Sarah-jane Cor­field-smith

Does the neck de­serve its own beauty rou­tine? Wel­come to ‘mono­task­ing’

I’m putting my neck on the line in say­ing this: I rarely think about mine. It’s a no-man’s-land of flesh be­tween face and fleshier bits, so is it re­ally nec­es­sary to bother with a skin­care rou­tine for your neck, just as you do with your face? One UK sur­vey found the av­er­age woman spends 11 min­utes ap­ply­ing prod­uct in the morn­ing (granted, this seems to fall to four min­utes by Fri­day), so there’s time to give your south-of-chin re­gion a lit­tle TLC. And with good rea­son.

Your neck is one of the first parts of your body to show vis­i­ble signs of age­ing. Fact. A 2016 re­port by the Bri­tish As­so­ci­a­tion of Aes­thetic Plas­tic Sur­geons found that de­mand for neck pro­ce­dures had risen by 16 per cent since 2014. How­ever, preven­tion is bet­ter than cure, and skin ex­perts are now sug­gest­ing you should start pay­ing your neck the at­ten­tion it de­serves. You know, be­fore it’s too late. But you can’t just treat it like your face.

“Neck skin is thin­ner and has fewer oil glands than the skin on your face,” says Katie Gray, global head fa­cial­ist at Emma Hardie. “As a re­sult, the neck loses elas­tic­ity be­fore other parts of your body.”

But while the needs of the skin on your face change sea­son­ally and hor­mon­ally, those of your neck don’t vary. So, your fo­cus can re­main on keep­ing the skin look­ing as taut and free of sun dam­age as pos­si­ble – a fact con­sumers seem to be aware of. An Amer­i­can So­ci­ety for Der­ma­to­logic Surgery sur­vey found, when it comes to age­ing, 68 per cent were con­cerned about lines and wrin­kles on the neck and chest area, and only 55 per cent cited the creases be­tween their brows.

But it’s not all about sur­face – the in­ter­nal com­po­nents of your neck need to be con­sid­ered, too. As you age, neck mus­cles be­come more ap­par­ent. “They bulge out, draw­ing the jaw­line down,” ex­plains Dr Tracy Mount­ford, founder of The Cos­metic Skin Clinic in Lon­don. And with no sup­port­ive bone struc­ture to keep skin lifted, grav­ity can run riot. But hold­ing your head high is im­por­tant – lit­er­ally. “In the age of smart­phone ad­dic­tion, con­stantly look­ing down at a de­vice is a hin­drance when it comes to pro­tect­ing your neck,” says skin spe­cial­ist Dr Om Prawarisa at OM Skin­care. Ex­po­sure to the el­e­ments doesn’t help, ei­ther – it’s key to pro­tect your neck just as you do your face. “You can have flaw­less skin and a youth­ful com­plex­ion, but a crepey neck is a to­tal give­away of ma­tu­rity,” says cos­metic spe­cial­ist Dr Rita Rakus. Her ad­vice? “In­cor­po­rate neck care into your skin rou­tine and ex­tend your SPF pro­tec­tion down your neck to pre­vent dam­age from UV.”

Have short hair, or love a pony?

It’s easy to for­get the back of your neck. “It’s es­sen­tial to ap­ply SPF30 down the neck and around the back, too,” says con­sul­tant der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr An­jali Mahto. Stud­ies show UV dam­age causes

sag­ging skin, and guess what?

When the back of the neck sags, it’ll take the front with it.

That’s weather beaten. On to a more for­mi­da­ble foe – nat­u­ral age­ing. “Oe­stro­gen boosts col­la­gen pro­duc­tion in the skin, which is what main­tains that youth­ful plump­ness,” ex­plains Dr Mike Bell, skin­care sci­en­tific ad­viser for Boots in the UK. “As oe­stro­gen lev­els fall with age, the cor­re­spond­ing de­cline in col­la­gen ex­ac­er­bates the loss of firm­ness in the skin on the face and neck.” Col­la­gen acts as scaf­fold­ing for your skin, keep­ing it taut and strong. The amount of col­la­gen you’ll re­tain is down to ge­net­ics, but there are a few stem-cell-based in­gre­di­ents, such as epi­der­mal growth fac­tor and gly­colic acid, that can en­cour­age your skin to cre­ate new col­la­gen. Then there are an­tiox­i­dants such as vi­ta­mins E and C and niaci­namide, which pro­tect your skin cells so they can go about their busi­ness cre­at­ing col­la­gen with­out be­ing dis­rupted by attacks from ag­gres­sors such as UV rays.

Feel­ing lost? Don’t panic. You know some­thing is worth look­ing into when the beauty in­dus­try in­vents a whole new word for it.

The lat­est of these is ‘mono­task­ing’, a term that refers to break­ing down your beauty reg­i­men into tar­geted zones, with a spe­cific prod­uct for each. Gray be­lieves mono­task­ing is about be­com­ing mind­ful of your skin’s var­i­ous ar­eas and how you should care for them in­di­vid­u­ally. “By in­vest­ing in a sep­a­rate neck cream, sub­con­sciously you’ll spend more time fo­cus­ing on it,” she says. “You’re iso­lat­ing an area and treat­ing it prop­erly – and reg­u­larly. This is bet­ter than think­ing about it ev­ery now and then and quickly ap­ply­ing a small amount of face serum as an af­ter­thought.”

So is it re­ally worth shelling out for a sep­a­rate neck cream?

The ex­perts say yes. A tar­geted prod­uct will con­tain all the in­gre­di­ents this unique sec­tion of skin re­quires and, by fo­cus­ing on your neck as a zone, you’ll give it the same at­ten­tion you would give your face. Now, that’s worth stick­ing your neck out for.

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