Let's face it. We're so laser-focused on the skin on our faces and how to keep it looking its smoothest and brightest that sometimes the other 90 percent of our largest organ takes a bit of a back seat. One of those areas, in particular, being the skin on our necks. This area is typically a dead giveaway of age, mostly because of our own shortcomings of focusing more attention on our faces via sunscreen, cleansing, and treatments. This translates to wrinkles, creasing, sun spots, and loose skin. But, not anymore. To help our necks be more of an extension of the youthful skin we strive for on our faces, we turned to a few skincare experts for their neck-tightening tips. Keep scrolling to learn how to tighten the skin under your chin.
Use Retinol for Neck Firming
For board-certified dermatologist Roberta Del Campo, Retin-A (or retinoic acid) is a hero product for neck firming. "[Retinol] is a vitamin that helps speed up cell turnover and increases collagen production," she says. "It is FDA-approved for treatment and prevention of wrinkles and has decades of science backing its effectiveness." Heather Woolery-Lloyd, a board-certified dermatologist based in Miami, agrees with Del Campo, adding that because the neck is a sensitive area, it's best to start with a small amount or lower concentration and increase as you build up a tolerance.
A less expensive treatment recommended by Del Campo is micro-needling, wherein tiny needles are rolled or stamped over the skin, creating miniature injuries meant to promote skin repair and collagen production. Many have touted the treatment's ability to lift droopy, sagging skin. It also has the added benefit of treating dark spots, uneven skin tone, and enlarged pores at the same time. Plus, it helps whatever product you apply on top (be it a neck serum or cream) absorb better, too. The treatment costs anywhere between $200 and $700.
If you're using any intense topical treatments—aka any that contains retinol—you should discontinue use a few days before your micro-needling treatment, as harsh products could irritate the skin.
Apply Products Upwards to Reduce Sagging Skin
By now we know the importance of diligently slathering on a neck cream daily, but when it comes to how to actually apply it, many are not as versed. According to Helen Flamenbaum of Schweiger Dermatology Group, the neck area ages at a more rapid pace. "The skin on your neck is a little bit thinner than your face, and the muscle and skin tissue [are] weaker," she explains. For this reason, you'll want to use gentle pressure when applying your neck products, as tugging might lead to signs of aging more quickly. To try to avoid sagging and loosening neck skin, always move in upward strokes along your neck.
Try Neck Patches to Add Lift
We're not new to the concept of beauty patches. Whether it's for acne or blackheads, beauty patches come in all forms, and they're loved in the beauty world for their quick results, ease of use, and versatility in being able to wear multiple at the same time. If you've been busy building your collection of turtlenecks, consider incorporating neck patches into your skin routine. These ones by SiO Beauty are made up of skin-hugging medical-grade silicone that when left on overnight, promises to let you wake up to hydrated, silky-smooth skin. According to the brand, medical-grade silicone brings moisture up from the lower layers of the skin, which results in plump skin come morning. And because the patches are compressed onto the neck, it promotes a flat, smooth surface free of lines.
Apply a Sunscreen Consistently
Flamenbaum says that the fact that your neck and face are in very close proximity means things like sun damage and other issues relating to damage from environmental elements affect your face and neck pretty much simultaneously. Del Campo agrees, explaining how adequate sun protection with a mineral-based sunblock and a retinoid nightly will see much better results, as they are not only improving their skin quality but preventing the loss of collagen, which is harder to fix as you get older. Opt for mineral-based sunscreens (versus chemical ones), as they usually protect against both UVA and UVB rays and are known to have non-irritating formulas, making them suitable for sensitive skin types. We're fans of this one from Supergoop!—it's especially hydrating thanks to murumuru and shea butter and can be used on the face and body for all-over protection.
Do Neck Exercises to Encourage Tightness
When you think of exercising, what comes to mind? A toned buttocks, strong abs, and tight arms, perhaps. But proponents of facial yoga say the 26 muscles on the neck need some working out, too. Though there aren't any published studies backing up the effectiveness of skin exercising, facial yogis swear by the neck-tightening effects it has. Here's one to try: raise your head so that your chin is facing upward, then move your jaw forward to feel a slight stretching in your chin. Hold this position for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times. While it's unlikely that you'll be able to reverse the damage of a saggy neck, doing such an exercise regularly might encourage tightness, lift, and volume.
Stimulate Collagen With In-Office Treatments
While preventative measures are ideal, if you weren't diligent to care for your neck before symptoms of skin degradation appeared, there are some noninvasive, collagen-stimulating procedures that can help reverse signs. Woolery-Lloyd recommends Ultherapy (or high-intensity focused ultrasound), which is meant to work deep below the skin's surface to jump-start collagen production and then lift and tighten the skin. Flamenbaum agrees that this is a smart age-reversing measure, but says that results will be better for younger patients with a lesser degree of skin laxity (or looseness). She also notes that up to 20 percent of patients may experience minimal to no improvement. The results for such a treatment is impressive (lifted, tauter skin that appears years younger), though it comes at a cost, oscillating between $1000 and $5000.
Incorporate a Facial Roller to Boost Lymphatic Drainage
That cool paint brush-looking tool you see pop up all of your Instagram feed? It's more than just a pretty image—it's called a facial roller. If you're not into mastering the art of facial yoga, try incorporating a face roller into your skincare routine. It has the same benefits of a facial massage and is touted as being a powerful anti-aging tool that encourages lymphatic drainage, increases blood flow, and reduces the appearance of puffiness. The neck is made up of many lymph nodes, so you may want to lend this area a helping hand when it comes to lymphatic drainage. Enter facial rollers, which are meant to help with eliminating toxins and thus promoting an even, smooth surface.
If you've had a long night and notice your skin is looking extra puffy, try popping your facial roller into the refrigerator for 30 minutes before rolling. The cooling feeling will help diminish puffiness and fine lines.
Alster TS, Graham PM. Microneedling: A review and practical guide. Dermatol Surg. 2018;44(3):397-404. doi:10.1097/DSS.0000000000001248