WIND YOUR NECK IN

Does the skin on your neck re­ally need spe­cific care?

Women's Health (UK) - - CONTENTS - words SARAH-JANE COR­FIELD-SMITH

I’m putting my neck on the line in say­ing this: I rarely think about mine. A no man’s land of flesh be­tween face and fleshier bits, is it re­ally nec­es­sary to bother with a skin­care rou­tine for your neck, just as you do with your face? A Reuters sur­vey found the av­er­age UK woman spends 17 min­utes ap­ply­ing skin­care prod­ucts on Monday morn­ing (granted, this falls to four by Fri­day), so there’s cer­tainly time to give your south-of-chin re­gion a lit­tle TLC. And, turns out, 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 (BAAPS) found that de­mand for neck pro­ce­dures has risen by 16% 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,’ ex­plains Katie Gray, global head fa­cial­ist at Emma Hardie (emma­hardie.com). ‘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 that con­sumers in the US seem to be aware of. A re­cent study by the American So­ci­ety for Der­ma­to­logic Surgery found that, when it comes to age­ing, 68% of peo­ple

were con­cerned about lines and wrin­kles on the neck and chest area, whereas only 55% cited fa­cial creases. It’s not all about sur­face – the in­ter­nal com­po­nents of your neck need to be con­sid­ered, too. As you get older, neck mus­cles be­come more ap­par­ent. ‘They bulge out, draw­ing the jaw­line down,’ ex­plains Dr Tracy Mount­ford, founder of Cos­metic Skin Clinic (cos­met­ic­skin­clinic.com). And with no sup­port­ive bone struc­ture to keep skin lifted, grav­ity can run riot. But keep­ing your head held high helps. 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 (om­skin­care.co.uk). 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 (dr­ri­tarakus.co.uk). Her ad­vice? ‘In­cor­po­rate neck care into your skin rou­tine and ex­tend your SPF pro­tec­tion down your neck to pre­vent free-rad­i­cal 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 Dr An­jali Mahto, con­sul­tant der­ma­tol­o­gist at the Cado­gan Clinic (cado­gan­clinic.com). 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 much 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. ‘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 like 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 which is ‘mono­task­ing’, a term that ba­si­cally refers to break­ing down your beauty regime into tar­geted zones, with a spe­cific prod­uct for each. Case in point: Stel­lar Dé­col­letage, the first brand to fea­ture prod­ucts that solely tar­get the dé­col­letage (neck, shoul­ders and chest). Founder Helen Erich­sen ex­plains how the com­pany was born. ‘I’ve al­ways led an out­doors life­style and this took a toll on my skin, specif­i­cally in the dé­col­letage area,’ she says. ‘I couldn’t find any prod­ucts that tar­geted this area, so I started blend­ing a mix of pre­mium skin­care prod­ucts and ap­ply­ing them to my chest and neck. When I saw the amaz­ing re­sults, I started work­ing with a chemist to cre­ate prod­ucts with key in­gre­di­ents that deal with the unique needs of this area.’ Gray be­lieves mono­task­ing is re­ally about be­com­ing mind­ful of your skin’s dif­fer­ent 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 when you have a bit left on your hands.’ So is it re­ally worth shelling out for a sep­a­rate neck cream? Clearly, that’s a yes. A tar­geted prod­uct will con­tain all the in­gre­di­ents this unique area of the skin re­quires and, by con­cen­trat­ing on your neck as a zone, you’ll give it the same at­ten­tion you give your face. Now, that is worth stick­ing your neck out for.

‘YOUR NECK LOSES ELASTICITY BE­FORE OTHER PARTS OF THE BODY’

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