When it comes to looking after our skin, we tend to focus on our face, neglecting areas below, like our neck (often referred to as the décolleté). Is it too late to give it some attention?
Like the face, the neck is at risk for aging from various factors including ultraviolet rays, pollution and free radicals. Although it may benefit from being covered up a bit more with sweaters and scarves, time will take its toll, especially if ignored. This area of skin is smoother, thinner and more translucent than skin covering much of the rest of the body. And, melanocytes (cells are which can help to protect skin from the sun), are found in lesser quantities here, resulting in skin that is more readily damaged by sun exposure.
Some of the first signs of aging in the neck area are the development of pigmentation and spider nevi (dilated blood vessels, appearing as a red spot with reddish extensions). In addition, the loss of collagen and elastin may lead to sagging skin.
Here’s how to ensure that your décolleté doesn’t give away your age:
- Avoid fragrances. You may not know this, but many fragrances contain compounds that result in pigmentation upon exposure to the sun. Don’t spray your favorite perfume here and try to avoid products that contain fragrances.
- Minimize sun exposure. Cover up when you can with clothing to protect your décolleté. If you can’t cover up, apply a good broad spectrum UVA/UVB blocking sunscreen as found in Anthelios sunscreens or Ombrelle sunscreens. Sunscreens will help to minimize the development of pigmentation, wrinkles and fine lines.
- Treat pigmentation. Products with ingredients including Vitamin C, kojic acid, hydroquinone and other skin lightening agents can help to reverse pigmentation or stop its development.
- Moisturize. Dry skin may result in a crepey looking décolleté. This can be further exacerbated by thin skin caused by collagen loss. A good moisturizer like La Roche Posay Iso Urea or Impruv Cream is a must. Antioxidants like vitamin C as well as retinoid preparations (like Green Cream) can help boost collagen production.
- Stand up Straight. A simple solution, but poor posture may aggravate pouching under your chin, along the jaw line and form lines between your breasts. Chin up!
If you are doing everything you can to protect your décolleté, but still not happy with the results, professional intervention may hold appeal:
- Spider nevi can be removed with a simple salon treatment called red vein removal.
- A professional peel can help to remove damaged and pigmented skin. Some may also help to boost collagen production.
- Micro-dermabrasion. Similar to a peel, this technique helps to remove pigmentation and stimulate cell renewal.
- Cosmetic surgery. If despite your best efforts with topical treatments or salon interventions, you still aren’t happy, you may want to consider cosmetic surgery. A lift can bring the muscles in the neck area together and tighten up loose skin resulting in a more youthful appearance.
By extending the same care you give to your face, you’ll ensure that your neck doesn’t give away your age.