New York dermatologist Julie Russak, MD puts the purpose of a neck cream simply: “It’s designed to help the skin on the neck produce more collagen and elastin in order to maintain its firmness and reduce a crepey texture.”
But with thousands of jars, droppers and bottles all claiming to do the same for our aging necks, how do we ensure we’re choosing the right one? Dr. Russak walks us through the ultimate neck-cream checklist to ensure we’re getting the most from our formulas.
Choose the Proper Formula
Because the skin on the neck much thinner than the skin on the face, Dr. Russak instructs us to look for rich creams to treat the area. “The skin on the neck doesn’t have much of a dermis, a support structure that produces collagen, and the thin skin is very sensitive. Rich creams will provide more moisture and work much better on the neck than serums, as they can be too drying or irritating for the neck.”
Top Ingredients to Look For
Focus on ingredients that really work to hydrate the skin. Heavy-hitting ingredients to search for: “Mild retinols that can penetrate the skin without irritating the surface in order to boost the skins regenerative process; peptides to stimulate collagen production and increase elasticity in the skin; and anti-inflammatory niacinamide, an antioxidant we naturally have in the skin that helps to maintain the moisture and barrier of the skin and help regenerate the skin.”
Master the Pre-Application Steps
“Cleansing the skin before applying products allows the them to better penetrate the skin,” says Dr. Russak. “Be sure to wash the skin on the neck with a mild face wash,” she adds, noting that harsh exfoliants or physical scrubs should stay off the neck. “After cleansing, apply the neck cream in an upwards motion from the bottom of the neck all the way up to the jawline.”
Consider Derm-Approved Products
“One of my favorite neck creams is Revision Skincare’s Nectifirm ($92), because it contains all of the key ingredients that we want for the neck in a rich formula,” Dr. Russak notes, calling out key ingredient such as niacinamide and peptides. “It also works together with your skin’s microbiome to help deliver its active ingredients down to the dermal layer, exactly where we want them and need them to work effectively.
More derm-loved favorites include SkinCeutical’s retinol-based Tripeptide-R Neck Repair ($120), which tackles horizontal lines, skin tone and texture; and Senté Neck Firming Cream ($90), powered by caffeine and vitamin C to visibly brighten discoloration.
Pair it With an In-Office Treatment
For supercharged results, dermatologists often pair neck creams with in-office procedures. Dr. Russak’s favorite add-on treatment: injections of calcium hydroxyapatite, a hyperdiluted calcium molecule.
“Calcium acts as a currency molecule for cells called fibroblasts, the cells that produce collagen in our skin. By supplying an abundance of calcium hydroxyapatite, we stimulate fibroblasts to help our skin start naturally producing more collagen and elastin. This helps the skin become thicker and remarkably improves texture. Pairing this treatment with at-home neck creams has proven to be the absolute best in neck rejuvenation.”