The face is often the focus of our anti-aging efforts. But there’s a good chance you’re neglecting an area that, when not taken care of properly, can make you look significantly older than you actually are: the neck. Because the skin on the neck is some of the thinnest on the body, it develops signs of aging quicker than most, meaning it needs just as much attention (if not more!) as our faces.
Unfortunately, even the best skin-care experts are susceptible to aging skin along the neckline. However, years of schooling and patient experience have armed them with all the fail-proof knowledge they need to both prevent and reverse signs of aging in this delicate area. From in-office treatments to at-home products, here’s how top dermatologists and facial plastic surgeons treat all that visible wear and tear along their own neckline.
“I use the Alastin TransFORM Body Treatment ($205) for my neck. It works wonders due to the TriHex technology within the formula which helps the skin to build collagen, thus improving overall firmness. I also use the SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair SPF ($70) which has antioxidants and helps to decrease sun damage. Finally I use SkinMedica’s TNS-Advanced+ Serum ($295) on my neck to further help with collagen production. The formula has growth factors and stem cells which help with toning and tightening the look and feel of the skin.”–Montclair, NJ dermatologist Jeanine Downie, MD
“Nora Ephron has a book called I Feel Bad About My Neck, and I always bring that up when I start conversations about neck care, because for so long there wasn’t much we could do to treat the area, but now there are so many wonderful combination treatments for addressing the area. I’m 62 years old, and my daughter got married recently and leading up to the big day, my neck was my biggest insecurity. My superstar combo for restoring the lower face and neck areas goes like this: first, Sofwave, then three Morpheus treatments for the lower face and jowls. I also follow that up with neurotoxin treatments. In terms of products, we have an exciting new SkinfluenceMD DNA Youth Recovery Body Cream that can be used all over the body including the neck area. It works by utilizing an advanced delivery system that effectively transfers three different kinds of plant-derived enzymes that repair damaged DNA strands.” –New York dermatologist, dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD
“The holy grail of ensuring you have a beautiful neck and jawline is getting a facelift, and the key to having surgery results last for many years is keeping up with maintenance in the form of a good skin-care routine. Getting some preventative treatments that boost collagen and elastin production can help, too. The same principles apply for anyone looking for anti-aging who is not ready to go the surgical route.
Unlike the face, the neck and décolleté often get overlooked when talking about preventative measures. However, they show signs of aging just the same. With assistance from my team at WiseMed Spa, I have found a couple of neck products that support anti-aging efforts when used regularly. The first of these is the Neocutis Neck & Décolleté cream ($135) that helps tighten and firm skin while diminishing unevenness and dark spots. Another powerhouse potion is the SkinCeuticals Tripeptide-R Neck Repair ($135) that contains retinol. Not only does it smooth fine wrinkles and lines, but also helps with skin regeneration. Truthfully, there is no skin-care product that can work miracles, and in order to take a strong anti-aging stance, one should consider investing in nonsurgical treatments that are aimed to build up collagen in the area, improve elastin production and help with the tone and texture as well. The trio of Ultherapy, Morpheus8 RF microneedling and Hyperdiluted Radiesse are the best of noninvasive neck and décolleté treatments I’ve discovered. When done in conjunction, these three can yield some remarkable results.”
—Wayne, NJ facial plastic surgeon Jeffrey B. Wise, MD
“My favorite neck cream is Revision Nectifirm Advanced ($154). It’s smart skin care that delivers results. Nectifirm uses our own skin’s microbiome to deliver active ingredients under the skin. It does everything and more that you need for the neck: firms neck skin, helps the neck appear more lifted and makes the skin look tighter and smoother. It is very important of take care of the skin on your neck in the same way you take care of your face. Bring all of your products down to the neck and chest, especially SPF, for long term anti-aging.”
—New York dermatologist Julie Russak, MD
“Microneedling RF (Morpheus 8) and Synchronous Ultrasound (SoftWave) layered in a therapy combination is my best superpower duo for keeping the delicate and fragile ‘neck and dec’ area smooth and taut. Adding a neuromodulator for the platysma bands makes it a trifecta. Extending treatment to the corners of the mouth, chin and mandible improve the support structure and both lift the neck while reestablishing the distinction between the jawline and the neck eliminating the ‘Jeck.’
Topically, by day, I use Skin Medica’s Neck Correct ($135) followed by a broad-based SPF like Tizo Age Defying Fusion Tinted Sunscreen Tinted Sunscreen ($27) or EltaMD UV 40 Daily Face Sunscreen Moisturizer ($34) to improve crepiness of the décolleté and prevent some damage. Its concentrated group of specific peptides support skin plumping for the delicate skin in the area. It also has a unique feature using a watercress extract to help reduce the appearance of the platysmal bands. For an intense treatment-like cream, I like the Defanage 6-Week Perfection Neck Tightening Cream ($127), which contributes to skin strength and dermal thickness in the fragile neck area.”
—Santa Monica, CA dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD
“I personally use the SkinMedica TNS Advanced+ Serum ($295) and Alastin Restorative Neck Complex with TriHex Technology ($123). I also use Botox Cosmetic to relax my neck bands and to help smooth my jawline. I routinely use my no-downtime, tissue-tightening devices, nonablative fractional resurfacing, or microneedling combined with radiofrequency or Ultherapy to reduce the laxity and treat the crepey skin.”
—Delray Beach, FL dermatologist Dr. Janet Allenby
“It is important to me to treat my neck and chest areas as a continuation of my face. This being said, daily application and reapplication of sunscreen is my number-one priority. In addition to this, I apply my treatments of growth factors, peptides and antioxidants onto my neck to promote and protect the collagen and elastin. A topical hyaluronic acid is also important to keep my neck supple.
My favorite products for my neck include the Alastin Restorative Neck Complex with TriHex Technology ($123) to help remove, rebuild, and replenish collagen and elastin. I follow this with NeoCutis Bio Serum Firm ($275) because it has growth factors and peptides to give proven results of improved firmness, elasticity, tone, and texture which are seen in as little as six days and continue to improve over time. Growth factors are important as we age and our cells need a little extra stimulation. After our early 20s, we begin to lose collagen-building abilities. If I need more hydration, I love to use SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator ($184) which immediately [moisturizes] the skin. Lastly, but most importantly, I apply Colorescience Sunscreen Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield SPF 50 ($45) which is chemical free.
I use many noninvasive treatments in combination [with my at-home products] to keep my neck supple. Hydrafacials are a regular procedure to cleanse, nourish, and hydrate the face and neck. I do Ultherapy every 12 to 18 months to help tighten the skin. Ultherapy is a customized ultrasound treatment that goes deeply to stimulate collagen and elastin. To help remove superficial sun damage and stimulate skin rejuvenation from the top down, I do laser therapies such as Permea, Fraxel, Pico, or IPL starting in the fall.”
—Fresno, CA dermatologist Kathleen Behr, MD
“Neck care is just as essential as face care. My number one secret for a youthful neck is to start using a zinc-based sunscreen while young and use it every day! [I use] sunscreen and always reapply. For my skin type, I use the DermaCare Neck Décolleté Cream ($104) as needed. Also, I do [fractional CO2 laser] every other year.”
—Richland, WA dermatologist Sidney B. Smith, MD
“During the day, I cleanse my neck daily, apply a neck cream, and then put on sunscreen daily—rain or shine! At night, I clean the neck area with micellar water and apply neck cream.
The sunscreen I use is the ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Sunscreen SPF 50 ($60) because it is sheer, 100-percent mineral, and contains a clinically proven DNA repair enzyme. The neck creams I use include Revision Nectifirm Advanced ($154), Senté Neck Firming Cream ($96), and NeoCutis Neo Firm Neck and Decolleté Tightening Cream ($135).
For skin laxity along the jawline, under the chin, and on the neck’s skin, I am a fan of Ultherapy and have been getting treatments regularly since 2011. It really does lift that skin! For sun damage, textural changes, and some discoloration, I had fractional CO2 resurfacing in 2008 and a TCA 30% chemical peel in 2012. I also use Botox off-label for treating my vertical platysmal neck bands, which really makes the neck look more youthful.
The next thing I plan to do is to have some [filler] injected to improve skin quality and optimize the response to future energy-based device treatments.”
—San Antonio, TX dermatologist Vivian Bucay, MD
“Applying a skin-tightening cream twice daily, in an upwards movement covering the full neck up to the jawline, [is important]. Currently I use the Revision Nectifirm Advanced ($154). It is my favorite neck cream for skin tightening and collagen production. I use it two times a day.”
—Melville, NY dermatologist Kally Papantoniou, MD
“For me, a lifetime (55 years) of sun protection has kept my neck’s skin color and texture the same as the rest of my body. I treat my neck exactly as I treat my face—same cleanser and topicals. The ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Sunscreen SPF 50 ($60) is my daily go-to sunscreen for my face and neck. I love the silky, easily absorbed texture and invisible physical block. For moisture, I vary between Caudalie Premier Cru Anti-Aging Rich Cream ($129) and Alastin Skincare Ultra-Nourishing Moisturizer with TriHex Technology ($78). I don’t use creams labelled for neck because while they might be lovely, it’s easier for me to use one product for both the face and neck.
My biggest issue is volume loss. I went through menopause with chemotherapy at 43 and saw a big change in facial volume and bone density. Tightening the skin by stimulating collagen with my annual Thermage and filling in volume with filler injections work together to keep my jawline and upper neck well defined. Also, [Botox Cosmetic] in my platysma muscle two to three times a year reduces the wear and tear from muscle pull which helps keep the jawline defined and reduces the development of ‘necklace’ line wrinkles.”
—Nanuet, NY dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, MD