Maintain a Youthful Neck
A slender, elegant swan neck is a universally admired component to feminine beauty. Unfortunately, the neck is also one of the first areas to betray one’s age. The skin on the neck is thinner than facial skin and has fewer oil glands, making it prone to dryness and crepiness.
Furthermore, the neck is in constant motion — each time you turn your head, bend your neck forward or even lift your arms overhead, you create creases on your throat and the back or sides of your neck. Even sleeping can cause wrinkles; a pillow that’s too high can lead to the formation of the horizontal neck lines charmingly known as Venus’ rings.
Also, this part of the body is almost always exposed to the damaging rays of the sun. Since skin on the neck is so thin and delicate, and the natural breakdown of collagen and elastin that occurs with age is more apparent on the neck; the lack of subcutaneous fat to support the skin accelerates slackening and wrinkling. However, if you cut a more portly figure you may be plagued with the dreaded appearance of “wattle” accompanied by a distressing superfluity of chins. So it doesn’t matter if you’re chubby or svelte — aging is a pain in the neck!
As you can imagine, addressing the signs of aging on the neck requires a multi-pronged approach, including nutrition, sun protection, “cosmeceutical” topical skin care and professional medical treatments, if needed.
Eating healthfully is the cornerstone of any anti-aging regimen. To keep your skin looking its best, be sure to get sufficient Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamins A (retinol), C, D and K2. The best sources of fat-soluble Vitamins A, D and K2 include cod liver oil, liver paté, pastured eggs and dairy products made from grass-fed milk. Fat-soluble vitamins are just that — they need to be ingested with (healthy) fat for proper assimilation. For optimal health and smooth, wrinkle-free skin, extreme low-fat dieting is ill advised. If your idea of a meal is salad composed primarily of iceberg lettuce with a drizzle of non-fat dressing (made from dubious non-food ingredients), you will need to revamp your diet to include real foods and healthy natural fats. In the long run your skin (and your waistline) will thank you.
That you need to protect you neck from sun exposure should be pretty self-evident — include your neck in your daily sunscreen application. While there are products specifically targeted for the neck area, I’m not entirely convinced that you need special products; you can use the same anti-aging serums and creams that you use on your face. Ingredients to look for: DMAE and Alpha Lipoic Acid (to firm and tighten skin), retinol and peptides (to treat fine lines).
Try Two Timing Tightener by Skin Biology, an amazing skin tightening serum with a high concentration of DMAE that’s perfect for your face, neck and décolletage. If you’re willing to splurge on special neck products, then ones that receive consistent rave reviews include Perricone MD Firming Neck Therapy and Clarins Advanced Extra Firming Neck Cream.. For daily sunscreen, Dr. Denese SPF 30 Neck Defense Day Cream will have you covered.
Other ways to treat neck wrinkles and firm sagging skin include traditional Chinese acupuncture and Indian Ayurvedic massage. In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture needles are inserted at meridians (points of convergence of the body’s energy channels, or “qi”) which, when used for anti-aging, can stimulate collagen formation and improve overall skin tone.
Ayurvedic massage is based on similar principles of stimulating pressure points, but it can be done at home as part of an anti-aging and health regimen. Using an Ayurvedic oil to suit your skin type, you spend at least 15 minutes to massage energy centers to encourage relaxation and rejuvenation. Follow this with a warm bath or shower and an Ayurvedic mask infused with either sandalwood or rose. With either acupuncture or Ayurveda, I suggest working with a trained practitioner to develop a program aimed at your areas of concern (neck wrinkles, sagging skin, etc.).
Last month, when I was attending an anti-aging seminar, I spoke with a lovely lady who confided, sotto voce, that she’d had her neck surgically lifted. I must confess that her neck looked undeniably natural and youthful. But I’m far from ready to go under the knife, so I listened intently when Dr. Shannon Ginnan of Medalase discussed non-surgical treatments for neck rejuvenation.
One option to consider, for those who are not ready for a surgical neck lift is the ClearLift laser treatment, which is a gentle, non-ablative laser treatment that reduces fine lines, wrinkles and firms the skin. Since it’s so gentle, it can be used on delicate thin-skinned areas such the eyes, neck and chest. Ginnan explained that getting ClearLift laser treatments done at a relatively young age could keep further aging at bay, allowing one to postpone undergoing surgical neck lift for decades.
Maintaining a youthful-looking neck requires discipline and diligence in eating a healthful diet, vigilant sun protection and following a skin care regimen. You’ll be pleased with the results: better-looking skin in general and improved overall health.
A native Washingtonian, Beauty Blogger Lia Phipps is an interior designer with an irrepressible, life-long fascination with health and beauty. When she is not selecting fabrics and paint colors for clients, she occupies herself with trying new products and dispensing beauty advice to friends, acquaintances and anyone who is willing to listen to “Tips from Phipps”.