The writer Nora Ephron said it best when she wrote a book about ageing called “I Feel Bad About My Neck”. Many women start to notice signs of ageing on their neck. That’s because the skin on our neck and décolletage can age faster than facial skin.
The face may look smooth, radiant and healthy but the neck may begin to look crepey, loose and a wee bit like a turkey wattle. This is because neck skin has fewer sweat and oil glands, so the skin can dry out faster, and there is no bony structure to support neck skin from the jaw to the collar bone.
You might like to know that it’s not just women these things happen to. Men’s neck skin ages too, they just seem to worry about it less. And male skin ages differently to female skin. So, as we go through menopause and begin to lose our oestrogen, we may start noticing our neck skin becoming thinner and more crepey while men find they are growing more whiskers further down the neck!
Platysmal bands are one of the first signs of aging of the neck. Current theories suggest that these bands develop because of skin sagging followed by loss of muscle tone.
A 2017 study published in The Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery1 showed that platysmal bands are caused by activity of the platysma muscle in the neck. The skin follows the muscle, so as we age, the connective tissue supporting the platysma muscle weakens and loses elasticity. Neck skin becomes looser and the platysmal bands become more apparent. So neck exercises that claim to ‘firm the neck’ actually do the reverse, by causing the platysmal bands to become more apparent!
So apart from seeing a plastic surgeon, how can we look after our neck skin? There are some seriously crazy suggestions out in internet land, such as daily face and neck exercises, avoiding sleeping on your side, hot massage and banana peel masks. To keep your neck and décolletage looking as good as they can, we recommend some simple, common sense tips that actually work:
- Daily use of SPF30 sunscreen to the face, neck and décolletage.
- Extend your skin care right down the neck and across the décolletage, using gentle, smooth strokes on the neck.
- Rhino Repair is a deeply hydrating treatment for dry, crepey neck skin. Apply liberally to the neck and décolletage after cleansing in the evening.
- Avoid all exfoliation on the neck. Neck skin is thinner, has fewer sweat and oil glands/pores and no bony structure to support it. Exfoliation can irritate and inflame tender neck skin.
- Wear scarves! They hide all the wrinkles and can add a splash of colour to your outfit.
Read more on our Oasis Blog, check out why age is not a skin type.
If you'd like some personalised advice on your particular skin issues, then book in for a free online consultation with our dermatology nurse, Susan.