5 Reasons Why Your Neck Also Deserves Some TLC
"Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize." This mantra in our daily hygienic routine reminds us that our skin is thirsty for nourishment. As a result, our health and beauty arsenals are stocked with creams, lotions and butters for our face, hands, arms, legs, feet and our overall body.
However, we regularly forget that our necks need plenty of attention, too. Read on for five invaluable reasons why your neck also deserves some TLC. Dr. Payam Saadat, a dermatologist at Los Angeles-based Skin & Beauty Center, weighs in with his expert take on proper neck care and why you shouldn't neglect the neck.
1. There's No Need To Splurge On Additional Products.
Although there are an abundance of neck creams are available on the beauty and health market, it's not absolutely necessary to buy a cream specially marketed as solely a neck cream. Dr. Saadat eases the strain on your wallet as he confirms, "The best thing to do is to use the same moisturizer you use on your face."
Though Dr. Saadat does recommend the Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream (that also targets fragile zones around the eyes and jaw, besides just the neck) and the Lancôme Regenerie Lift Volumentry Neck Cream, if you are on a budget, simply apply your facial beauty routine to your neck as well.
2. The Sun Can Damage Your Neck, Too.
Everyday application of sunscreen is as important as applying moisturizer to your skin, primarily exposed skin. And if your hair is short or habitually styled in an updo, or turtlenecks aren't exactly in your day-to-day attire, your neck is unprotected from temperamental weather conditions, like an extra-bright sun and dry winds. Dr. Saadat tells his patients that if they are not doing anything, sunscreen is the first thing. And, once his patients get used to using sunscreen, the next thing to do is to add anti-aging creams or wrinkle creams, moisturizers and other skincare products like neck creams.
Defense against sunburns and even more detrimental, skin cancer, is vital. Dr. Saadat recommends applying sunscreen every morning, in addition to every 2 to 3 hours if you are outdoors in the sun. Top ingredients to look for? Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These two ingredients in sunscreen formulas are physical blockers that reflect and redirect harmful rays of sun.
Additional beneficial ingredients include Mexoryl (also called Anthelios); antioxidants like vitamin C or green tea extracts; and retin-a and retinol, both forms of vitamin A that help to boost collagen. Waterproof capability is another worthwhile component to keep sunscreen on the skin longer, despite sweating or exposure to water.
3. Look Younger – Not Older – Than Your Actual Age.
Like the backs of hands, the neck is often ignored in the skincare routine of men, women and children. Dr. Saadat explains that the skin on the neck is like the skin on the face: thinner than the skin on the rest of your body.
This thinner skin further emphasizes the need for protection from sun and wind elements. Otherwise your untreated neck may resemble untreated hands from excessive photo aging, or the less-than-youthful appearance caused by ultraviolet ray exposure.
"When you see [some women's] hands, they might have 70-year-old hands, but they are really 45 or 50 years old. You can see the wrinkly, brown spots on their hands. They are pretty weather beaten," says Dr. Saadat. And the same can go for necks!
4. There Are No Real Side Effects.
Other than personal allergies due to certain ingredients (always double check the label, and if your skin becomes red, scaly or itchy, see a dermatologist immediately), taking care of your neck does not result in any negative side effects – only softer, healthier skin.
At the same time, don't forget that these products cannot perform magical transformations. Dr. Saadat says that patients sometimes have unrealistic expectations: "'Oh, I'm going to use this cream, and it's going to make my neck 10 years younger.' Neck cream is maintenance. The creams don't really reverse, they maintain and prevent. It's better to start early so you prevent the damage."
To reverse damage like discoloration, redness and sun spots, treatments include laser surgery, bleaching creams, chemical peels and botox.
5. Best Of All? It's Easy.
When you exfoliate your body in the shower or bath, also take a few moments to exfoliate your neck at least once or twice a week. Without dead skin in the way, creams and lotions can penetrate the skin better. When you moisturize your face, take a few moments to moisturize your neck. A little extra effort can go a long way.
What's more, Dr. Saadat recommends applying all creams and lotions upward on the neck, instead of downwards, to go against gravity. Even simple massage exercises can strengthen the muscles in the neck.