You’ve heard the warning before: Don’t forget your neck! And yet, we do. We slather on our expensive serums, our overnight masks, our hydrating oils, but leave our neck as an afterthought, only treating it to whatever is leftover from our precious visage. But lately, there’s been a shift in the skincare world, with a whole new crop of products targeted specifically to tighten and tone your neck area. Are they worth the extra splurge? What ingredients should we look for? Is it all just clever marketing? We asked two dermatologists and a plastic surgeon—Rebecca Baxt, MD, MBA, FAAD, Joshua Zeichner, MD, and John Diaz, MD—for the unfiltered truth.
Keep scrolling to find out what they said!
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,” Baxt says. “Some women will take good care of their face, but will look 20 years older from the neck down.”
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. 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.”
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 They 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.
Keep scrolling to shop seven neck-firming creams!
This cream-gel is formulated to feel comfortable and luxurious both on your face and neck, as it’s lightweight but extremely nourishing. The product has a thin texture that makes it easy to smooth and glide over the contours of your neck for optimal hydration.
Amino acid and NeoStrata's Neocitriate technology make this a potent product perfectly suited for the delicate neck area. These ingredients have been proven to help boost collagen and blur wrinkles on the décolletage by delivering hydration and encouraging healthy skin on a cellular level.
A unique rollerball applicator massages skin and fits the delicate contours of the neck in order to revitalize and rejuvenate. This product not only makes skin feel firmer instantly, but it also helps improve skin’s resilience over time in order to prevent further damage.
When it comes to applying sunscreen, one of the most neglected areas is our décolletage. In fact, our necks are usually the first to start showing signs of aging. This rose-scented offering from Révive has SPF built-in, which gives some much-needed protection to this thin-skinned area.
Dr. Dennis Gross formulated this neck emulsion to be quick absorbing yet powerful. Full of potent ingredients like retinol, lactic acid, and ferulic acid, this superstar formula works to fight the signs of aging through cellular repair without sensitizing the epidermis. A tighter and smoother looking neck is in your future with this lightweight product.
This award-winning product helps improve and prevent signs of aging as well as skin discoloration. Four patents protect Perricone MD’s Liquid Crystal Delivery System, which helps to deliver powerful actives more efficiently and effectively. Over time, it will even help with the skin’s levels of elasticity.
At under $50, this cream packs a punch with Tarte’s signature ingredient, maracuja oil, which imparts deep hydration to all skin types. Use upward motions to message this silky cream into the décolletage in order to see maximum benefits in the skin’s appearance and feel.
Up next, check out a top esthetician’s tips for making your skincare products work better.
This story was originally published on February 2, 2015, and has since been updated.