If you’re ready to take your neck seriously, here’s what you need to know about seriously taking care of…
Listen, if Nora Ephron can dedicate a book to it, it stands to reason that we can all pay a little more attention to the skin on our necks. Not the most glamorous skincare target, sure, but also definitely not the least glamorous (sorry, dry, cracked heels), the skin on your neck deserves some attention regardless.
I once read a quote from a dermatologist that said something along the lines of, when it comes to caring for the skin at the north end of your body, assume your face starts at your nipples. Anatomically, you can see that this isn’t accurate but as far as skincare goes? Yeah, it works. Taking care of your skin requires that you pay attention to your chest and neck as well as your face proper.
Why? Let’s paint a little picture. Imaging someone who took impeccable care of the skin on her face for her whole life. She was religious about cleansing and serums and SPF and moisturizing, and it shows. But she only cared about the space between her forehead and chin. She never cleansed or moisturized or SPF-d her neck and chest, and that shows, too. In the end, it’s about the whole package.
The skin on your neck is some of the thinnest on your body (similar to the delicate, thin skin around your eyes), which means that it’s extra-sensitive, particularly to the sun. When sun hits unprotected skin, it causes damage which leads to collagen loss (remember: collagen is a protein that gives structure and support to hair, skin, nails, bones, etc.). When that collagen starts slipping away, the skin gets even thinner. Eventually, there’s no collagen-based support for that skin and it just sort of hangs there.
Of course, just like the skin on the rest of your body, other environmental factors affect your neck as well. Your neck has pores that can clogged. Your neck has oil glands that can overproduce (though not nearly as many as the rest of your skin so it needs quite a bit of moisture but more on that later). Your neck has hair follicles that can get angry. Skin is skin, whether it’s on your neck, your face or behind your knees. And since the skin on your neck is often exposed just as much as that on your face (unless you’re a serious, year-round fan of the turtleneck), it needs just as much love and care.
If you’re ready to take your neck seriously, here’s what you need to know about seriously taking care of it:
Your neck needs to be washed.
If your standard head-to-toe loofah pass in the shower feels ok, by all means keep at it. But if you want to go the extra step of making sure your neck really gets cleansed every day, simply extend your nightly facial cleanse down a few inches. As you oil cleanse to remove makeup, be sure to target your neck as well to get rid of dirt and microscopic debris. Then when it’s time for your second round of cleansing, be sure to go south of your chin again. Of course, be gentle about it, but definitely make sure to cleanse your neck every night.
Your neck needs to be moisturized.
While there are some sebaceous glands that produce oil on your neck, they’re not nearly as prevalent as, say, your face. And while you may curse the oily skin that can result from overactive sebaceous glands, in the long run, it’s this oil that keeps your skin hydrated and plump. Since your the skin on your neck doesn’t have this luxury, you’ve got to take it upon yourself to moisturize the heck out of it.
Not only does well-hydrated skin look better than its dry counterpart, it’s also better at healing itself and shows fewer signs of aging. Fortunately, there’s no need for neck-specific products here; the serums, oils and moisturizers you use on your face will work just as well on your neck…as long as you actually apply them! And when it comes to application, be sure to do it in an upward motion, starting from your chest/the base of your neck, sweeping up toward the chin. Over time, pulling down on this skin will only help gravity take hold, so do your best to apply up.
You neck needs to be exfoliated.
Hopefully this isn’t a surprise since at this point I’ve drilled it into your head that the skin on your neck needs to be treated to the same stuff as the skin on the rest of your body, exfoliation included. Don’t go crazy here, and be sure to use a very gentle product with small grains (thin, sensitive skin!), but yes, do exfoliate once a week. This will remove any dead skin cells that have built up and help moisturizers sink in better.
Your neck needs SPF protection.
Please make me stop telling you to to use sunscreen! Every day! On every part of your body! Just do it. Find a face moisturizer with SPF built in if you’re worried about forgetting.