We’re all au fait with the importance of a regular routine for the skin on our faces, but how many of us are guilty of lax application when it comes to anything below the chin? Read on to discover how to take care of the areas that get left behind and the best products to tackle ageing on your neck, décolletage and hands…
A Targeted Approach
Unlike the skin on your face which is buoyed by the cushioning of oil production and fat cells, the skin on your neck and décolletage is thinner. As a result collagen and elastin production is less, and, notes Dr Yannis Alexandrides, Founder of 111SKIN, it’s also “subject to much more movement, which means as we age the skin becomes looser – a tell-tale sign of ageing.” Add into the mix a tendency towards photo-ageing (caused by neglecting such an exposed area when it comes to sunscreen application) and it’s no wonder that the UK has seen an increase in surgical neck procedures in the last decade. If this sounds familiar, then you’re not alone. According to renowned Beverly Hills dermatologist and brand founder Dr Harold Lancer there’s a disparity between the care that people lavish on their face versus their necks and lower: “I see a lot of women who are happy to spend lots of money on their face but then there is a mismatch between the face and chest. If you go to a museum you see a bust — from the nipple line upwards they come together and as such it needs to be treated as one.”
Understand Your Ingredients
Although it might seem unnecessary to choose a separate product for the skin below your chin, facialist and founder of the eponymous skincare line, Emma Hardie, believes it’s imperative: “Neck creams are generally formulated with an easier to absorb texture and include tightening, firming ingredients to combat sagging or loose skin.” When it comes to ingredients look for those that will stimulate the production of collagen and elastin to promote suppler skin such as retinol, niacinamide and vitamin E. Vitamin C meanwhile is a must for brightening any existing UV-induced pigmentation and helping skin to appear more youthful. Emma Hardie’s new Lift & Sculpt Firming Neck Treatment also contains plumping Hyaluronic Acid and an active called Neodermyl “which acts a ‘needle-free’ collagen and elastin filler.” Application of your chosen product will also go a long way to improving the look of the area, look for one with a specialist applicator to help stimulate circulation, or simply apply your product in firm strokes over the jawline and down, to improve lymphatic drainage and banish puffiness.
While specific products will go a long way to treating damage, the best way to avoid an ageing neck and décolletage is prevention. “Stay out of the sun whenever possible and always be sure to slather your décolletage in a high-grade physical and chemical sunscreen when wearing a skin-baring neckline,” advises Dr Lancer. Taking preventative measures even when it comes to something as everyday as your sleeping position can also help. To prevent gravity doing its worst and creases forming overnight, get into the habit of sleeping on your back. “Waking up with an occasional crease from sleeping on your stomach or side may not seem like a big deal, but over time, these creases can become permanent fixtures on your skin,” says Dr Lancer. And as if that weren’t enough to convince you, beware: ‘tech neck’. The latest phenomenon afflicting those guilty of too much screen-time, the formation of these lines and wrinkles is caused a result of constantly looking down at devices.
Don’t Forget Your Hands
Thanks to fewer lipids and sebum present in the makeup of the skin, and faced with a barrage of daily assaults, (think everything from drying chemicals to changing temperatures and constant washing) the skin on your hands is just as prone to the signs of ageing as your neck and décolletage. As such it needs the same level of dedicated care. Aside from limiting your exposure to drying water and harsh detergents and solvents, a nourishing hand cream is an essential; we suggest keeping one in your handbag, desk drawer and by your sinks at home so you’re never too far from regular nourishment. As with your neck cream, ingredients such as retinol will stimulate collagen helping to keep lines at bay, while hydrating ingredients such as shea butter will help keep them moisturised. To prevent age spots from forming, swipe your daily SPF over the backs of your hands once you’ve applied it to your face.