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While it may be your complexion that gets all the skincare attention, it’s important to remember that your neck deserves some TLC, too. The skin on your neck is just as susceptible to all kinds of signs of aging—wrinkles, sagging, spots, dryness—as the skin on your face. If it’s not properly protected and treated, all of these imperfections can quickly start to show up, and no matter how well you take care of your complexion and how youthful your face may look, your neck can make you look older than you really are. And trust us, no one wants that.
As far as treatment products go, you can, in theory, use any of the skincare products you’re using on your face—serums, moisturizers, exfoliators—on your neck. Still, opting for a dedicated neck cream is a good idea, not only because it’s specially formulated for this area (where the skin is thinner and more delicate, FYI), but also because it’s a good way to remind yourself to actually give your neck the time and attention it deserves.
Ahead, the best neck creams that will get the job done.
This best-seller recently got an upgrade, thanks to the addition of a unique Gravitite-CF Lifting Complex, which not only improves the elasticity of the skin on the neck but also lifts and helps minimize the look of horizontal fine lines. But it doesn’t stop there: The brand’s patented niacinamide-based NIA-114 technology helps to strengthen the skin barrier, and the cream also contains a brightening complex to minimize dark spots and even out the skin's tone. Basically, it’s everything you could ever want and need to address all of your neck issues in one convenient jar.
If pesky, horizontal lines across your neck are starting to stress you out, we get it (Tech neck is a real thing and people are totally getting Botox in their necks.) This daily cream, the brand’s number one best-seller, contains a proprietary Sepilift technology to boost collagen and restore elasticity, plus plumping hyaluronic acid. And perhaps best of all? You’ll start to see some results in as little as seven days, a major win for those of us who are seriously impatient.
Collagen refers to a family of proteins that are the primary structural component of connective tissues, such as skin, ligaments, and cartilage. Topical collagen creams are said to improve fine lines and wrinkles by replacing the lost collagen, though its main benefit is moisturizing the skin.
Universal skin care rule: Hydrated skin always looks healthier and more youthful. So load up on this formula, which touts hyaluronic acid to instantly attract moisture to the skin, plus ceramides to help strengthen the skin barrier and keep moisture from escaping. There are also collagen and elastin in the mix, further helping to keep your neck firm and smooth.
As a great all-around youth-booster, this particular neck cream is choice. Edelweiss extract improves skin’s elasticity—subsequently making for a firmer, tighter neck contour—and it also uses peptides to knock out wrinkles. And, of course, it’s filled with plenty of hydrating ingredients to give the skin on your neck a much-needed dose of hydration, too.
Caffeine is a natural stimulant most commonly found in tea, coffee, and cacao plants. In skincare, it helps to stimulate blood flow and decrease puffiness, as well as works to dissolve fat, which makes it a choice cellulite treatment.
Using a neck cream could already be considered pretty extra (in a good way), but if you really want to go the extra mile, use this one, which comes with an included gua sha stone. In and of itself, the cream is packed with ingredients that help improve skin firmness and combat puffiness —caffeine, guarana extract, spirulina—plus pea extract to instantly tighten skin. But massage the cream in with the gua sha tool and you’ve just further upped all of those toning effects.
When talking about the skin below your chin it’s important to think even beyond your neck, and consider your chest, too. After all, no one wants a wrinkled, mottled, sagging décolleté, and because this an area that’s often exposed (yet forgotten when it comes to sunscreen), these can all become very real issues. This particular multi-tasker boasts a powerful antioxidant blend to ward off skin-damaging free radicals, plus a collagen-boosting retinoid and tightening polymers.
It should come as no surprise that your daily sunscreen regimen isn’t just for your face. (As we said, the neck and chest are often forgotten when it comes to sun protection.) You could definitely go ahead and use whatever ‘screen you’re using on your neck, but we say go ahead and pick up this cream instead. Not only are you getting the necessary dose of SPF, but it also contains powerful antioxidants and plant extracts to address everything from fine lines to firmness to an uneven tone. Prevention and treatment in one step? We’re very into that.
Oh yes, there are indeed special masks made just for your neck out there. Of all the options we’ve come across, this one takes the cake, a favorite of Byrdie Senior Editor Hallie Gould. One use plumps up and hydrates skin, but it’s after about four consecutive uses (the mask is reusable) that you’ll really start to see an improvement. We’re talking tighter skin and less noticeable wrinkles…yes, please.
Yes, this high-end cream comes with a steep price tag, but here’s why it’s worth it. First and foremost, it uses orchid extract, an ingredient found to be so active and effective that the brand opened a research center to study it exclusively. More specifically, that ingredient (and the other actives in the formula) create a lightweight, breathable film on the skin that works to lift, smooth, and restore firmness to the neck and chest. Secondly, using it feels utterly indulgent and luxurious, thanks to everything from the smell and the texture, making for a true spa moment at home. And that’s only magnified when you apply the cream following the brand’s suggested four-step, massage-like protocol.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring polysaccharide found in the human body. It acts as a cushioning and lubrication agent for our joints, nerves, hair, skin, and eyes. When used in skincare, it acts as a moisture binder, which means that it will attach itself to the water in the cells (while also attracting and holding water from the air) making them plump.
There are no questionable chemicals or synthetic fragrances to be found in this cream, which instead uses a litany of natural and organic ingredients. Hyaluronic acid hydrates, while mandelic acid gently exfoliates, choice for helping to combat an uneven skin tone or any dark spots. Silk peptides, reishi mushroom extract, and blue-green algae are among some of the other standouts in the mix, working to effectively firm and brighten the delicate skin around your neck.
For those who don’t love heavy creams, this lightweight treatment is choice. But despite the featherweight and silky texture, it still packs a powerful wrinkle-fighting punch. Credit two different acids—lactic to support cell turnover, and ferulic, a powerful antioxidant that offers an added layer of protection from free radicals caused by exposure to the sun.
Per the name, it also contains retinol, the gold standard collagen-boosting, wrinkle-fighting ingredient, along with a proprietary ECG Complex that plumps and firms skin, while also minimizing the look of any unwanted dark spots. Use it twice daily, massaging a few pumps from the base of your neck, moving upwards towards your chin.
Everything You Need to Know About Buying Neck Creams
By Faith Xue
First up, we had to ask: Why are so many brands releasing neck creams now? “Where there is a need, there will always be products to try to fill that need,” dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Baxt says. “Some women will take good care of their face, but will look 20 years older from the neck down.”
Dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner notes that separate creams may also be necessary because the skin on the neck is thin, sensitive, and frequently shows signs of sagging, redness, and pigmentation. Plastic surgeon Dr. John Diaz agrees, saying that products specifically formulated for the neck and chest tend to be gentler than their face counterparts. “This is because the skin on the neck is slightly thinner than on the face and has less naturally occurring oils,” says Diaz. “This makes it more prone to redness and irritation.”
Ingredients to Look For
When it comes to effective neck creams, you should look for ones with ingredients that stimulate collagen production, while protecting the skin. Diaz recommends retinol (available over the counter) and tretinoin (found in Rx products like Renova), both vitamin A derivatives that help stimulate collagen. “They can even reverse some of the fine lines and wrinkles on your neck,” he says. To protect the delicate skin on your neck from free radicals and damage, look for brightening ingredients like vitamins C and E.
As for hydration, hyaluronic acid will help your skin retain moisture, which should diminish your neck’s crepey appearance. Diaz also recommends looking for various peptides in the ingredients list: “They’re proteins that are essential to your skin’s growth and repair,” he says. “Using them provides your skin with the building blocks it needs to restore its youthful appearance.”
Do Neck Creams Really Work?
Sure, these ingredients may tighten and tone temporarily, but will consistent use of a neck cream have any long-term benefits? The verdict is mixed. “Long-lasting results can be achieved only with consistent daily use and care,” Diaz says. “This is because your skin cells have a cycle of growth and renewal, which takes a minimum of four weeks. Several cycles of renewal must be completed for a total transformation.”
Zeichner agrees that diligence is key, and there’s no “instant fix.” Of course, even daily, long-term use probably won’t deliver the same results as a more intense in-office procedure.
If your goal is to really lift or firm loose skin on the neck, then a laser ultrasound procedure or plastic surgery is usually required, says Baxt. However, she adds that creams with retinoids or glycolic acids will reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and hydrating ingredients can smooth the surface so lines appear less noticeable.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any neck creams from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will evaluate the product ASAP.