April 29, 2024/Skin Care & Beauty

Neck Wrinkles? Here’s What Can Help

Give the delicate skin on your neck some TLC by wearing sunscreen every day and trying a retinoid or topical antioxidant

female examining neck wrinkles

Most of us take our skin care routine at face value. But your neck and upper chest can be just as susceptible to wrinkles, discoloration, crepiness, redness and other signs of aging. Maybe even more.

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It’s easy to overlook our neck and décolletage (the upper chest area). But a skin care regimen that includes products to help fight neck wrinkles can help keep your skin healthy and youthful from the shoulders up.

Dermatologist Shilpi Khetarpal, MD, shares the best products to fight neck wrinkles and what to look for in skin care items for your neck.

What causes neck wrinkles?

Like wrinkles on our faces, neck wrinkles are a natural part of skin aging. After all, our skin can take a beating throughout the day. And over the years, the damage can add up.

Neck wrinkles are caused by things like:

What’s more, many of us get into a poor posture habit where our head droops down. It’s called tech neck (as in, it’s in part a result of spending time looking down at your smartphone for hours out of the day). Not only does tech neck lead to things like neck pain and stiffness, but it can also lead to horizontal lines on your neck.

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And while slathering anti-aging serums and creams on your face is a daily routine for many people, your neck can be neglected.

But here’s what you may not realize: The skin on your neck can be thinner and even more sensitive than the skin on your face. So, it can be one of the first places to show signs of aging.

“Thin skin, like on your neck, has fewer hair follicles, so it’s more prone to showing signs of aging and sun damage,” Dr. Khetarpal shares.

How to get rid of neck wrinkles

The skin care aisle of your local beauty store probably boasts approximately 80,000 different products to help keep your face wrinkle-free. Many of those same products can be used to reduce wrinkles and other signs of aging on your neck.

“The skin care ingredients we recommend for your face is a similar regimen for your neck and décolletage because your skin ages in similar ways. Those are areas that are chronically exposed to sun,” Dr. Khetarpal says.

Certain ingredients are known to help with wrinkles, sun damage and other signs of aging — and that’s the case whether we’re talking about laugh lines or neck lines.

The key is prevention. Look for ingredients that going to protect you against the elements like sun and pollution. And if you’re already seeing signs, that’s OK.

“It’s never too late to start taking care of your neck,” she encourages.

It’s worth noting that neck wrinkles aren’t detrimental to your health. They’re not a sign that anything is wrong with your skin. But if you want to change the appearance of your skin, there are solutions that can help reduce neck wrinkles and other signs of aging.

Dr. Khetarpal suggests looking for products with these ingredients.

Topical antioxidants

After cleansing in the morning, apply a topical antioxidant to your face, neck and upper chest. Choose products that include ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin E or ferulic acid.

“These antioxidants actually reduce the oxidative stress on skin,” Dr. Khetarpal points out.

What does that mean?

Oxidative stress is cell damage that creeps up when your body is overrun by free radicals. Oxidative stress in your skin can lead to fine lines, wrinkles and sunspots. Antioxidants help balance out free radicals and limit the damage.

Topical antioxidants are typically sold as serums or oils. Use them as a first step after cleansing your face and neck.

Sunscreen

Thought sunscreen is just for a day at the beach? Think again.

Using sunscreen every day (yes, every day) is a must to keep your skin happy, healthy and unscathed by light damage. And it’s not just about protecting you from sunburn.

The sun emits both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays cause sunburn. UBA rays contribute to aging. And it’s not just the sun you have to protect yourself from.

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“Even the ultraviolet light and blue light from your computer screen can affect your skin,” Dr. Khetarpal states.

Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to your face, neck, chest and any other exposed skin.

What’s the best sunscreen for you?

“Physical sunscreens made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the most effective at protecting our skin from the sun compared to chemical sunscreens,” she says.

Sunscreen is often combined with facial moisturizers, or you can use a separate sunscreen product that’s formulated for the face. It should be the last step of your morning skin care routine.

Retinoids

A derivative of vitamin A, retinoids can be found in topical skin care products that stimulate collagen. It may already be a staple of your evening skin care routine. But you may need to switch up your products a bit when targeting neck wrinkles.

“When we’re dealing with retinoids, we want to use a lower strength on the neck,” Dr. Khetarpal advises. “That’s because the neck has fewer oil glands and can be more susceptible to dryness and irritation.”

Start with a lower-strength retinol for a few weeks, applying it as part of your nighttime routine every other day. If you don’t notice any negative effects, like irritation, burning or redness, you can try increasing the potency.

Use retinoids after cleansing your face and neck in the evening. Apply a nighttime moisturizer after.

Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is a go-to moisturizing ingredient that’s common in moisturizers or as a standalone serum.

“When used topically, hyaluronic acid can make your skin more hydrated — like a grape rather than a raisin,” Dr. Khetarpal illustrates. “It combats dryness and helps to restore your skin barrier and moisturize the skin.”

Hyaluronic acid can be applied morning and night to help reduce wrinkles on the neck, face and chest.

Choosing the right products

When looking at skin care products Dr. Khetarpal says it is important to read the labels. “Look at the ingredient list to see what’s actually in there versus what they are marketing them for,” she suggests.

And remember, good skin care doesn’t have to cost a fortune. A high price tag doesn’t mean that a product is more potent or more likely to work.

When in doubt, talk with a dermatologist. They can help you find the products you need for neck wrinkles and other concerns.

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