Even years after her passing, I still take beauty cues from my grandmother. One of his many skincare sayings that resonates forever when I apply myself to SPF: you can do as much as you want for your face, but your neck and hands will always reveal your age. And with that, I would spread another dollop of mineral sunscreen on my neck and décolletage before heading out for the day. She was right, of course, she was always right. Like the area around our eyes, the skin on our neck is thinner than the skin on our face but rarely receives as much TLC, despite being exposed to the same elements. Luckily, my quest to discover how to tighten neck skin has uncovered a myriad of solutions, from at-home tools and easy exercises to proven professional treatments.
Conclusion: the skin of the neck, just like everything skin, will age. Hopefully the fight against ageism, especially in relation to women, will grow stronger and more impactful over time, but it’s only natural to want to do what you can to maintain a youthful appearance for as long as Father Time and your genetics will allow it. you. And as always, if something about your appearance bothers you, you can look for a solution as well. We live in a time of incredible beauty breakthroughs after all.
For a professional primer on how to tighten or prevent crepey neck skin, we called in, well, the professionals. Our three experts – Natalie Aguilar, dermatology nurse and celebrity esthetician; Dr. Elizabeth Geddes-Bruce, board-certified dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology in Austin; and board-certified dermatologist Dr. Macrene Alexiades were all passionate about the subject. My grandmother would have been proud.
Read on to find out their favorite products, peels, face masks and treatments for caring for the delicate skin on our necks, as well as their tips and preventative measures to keep things tense.
Featured image by Michelle Nash.
What, besides age, causes sagging neck skin?
“Unlike natural aging, premature aging can be caused by harmful UV rays, damaging free radicals, and tobacco smoke, which contains over 4,000 chemicals that can trigger the destruction of elastin and collagen,” explains Aguilar. “Also, most people stop their product application at the chin, while your application should always be on the face, neck, and chest.”
What preventative measures can you take to keep neck skin from sagging?
First, Aguilar, Dr. Geddes Bruce, and Dr. Alexiades all emphasized the importance of applying sunscreen daily. Here are some other steps you can take:
- Avoid tobacco products and second-hand smoke
- Adopt a balanced diet with a low glycemic index
- Priority to sleep and stress management
- Practice good posture to avoid “technical neck”
- Make aerobic exercise part of your daily routine
- “If you must look at your phone in bed, do so while lying on your side.” – Dr. Alexiades
“Finally, the best preventative measure is to start healing and treating the neck now,” says Aguilar. “Most of my clients wait to notice a drastic change in neck texture and elasticity, usually around their mid-40s, but it’s always best to start neck care early.”
Do Exercises Really Help Tighten Neck Skin?
With methods like gua sha and facial massage becoming more common for their ability to sculpt and stimulate collagen production, we asked our experts if there was a similar technique for tightening the neck.
“My favorite exercise is done manually using a pinching motion with the fingertips,” Aguilar shares. “I start at the back of my neck and pinch myself following the natural curvature of the neck, towards the ear and jawline using a firming and plumping serum such as a hyaluronic acid or peptide serum.”
What home beauty tools and peels can tighten neck skin?
Aguilar shares her favorite beauty tools to use at home.
What products and creams are best for firming neck skin?
While in-office treatments like Ulthatherapy, Kybella, and dermal fillers have become popular for treating the neck area, great skin always starts at home.
“You can spend a lot of money on treatments at a clinic, but when it comes to the neck and décolletage, I strongly believe that using good home skin care, twice a day, seven days a week , outweighs any treatment in the clinic,” says Dr. Alexiades. “And yes, you can go back in time and undo the damage if you have a good regular diet.”
As to whether or not it’s necessary to apply the product to your neck in an upward motion, the consensus was that it’s not required, but it can’t hurt in the long run. “It probably won’t have much effect in the short term, but pulling the skin down repeatedly over time when applying products can have a negative effect,” says Dr. Geddes-Bruce. “We are already aging because of the daily force of gravity, why add to it?”
Can retinol tighten neck skin?
Retinol (also known as vitamin A) is an anti-aging superhero and should be part of any solid skincare routine by your mid-twenties.
“Its anti-aging benefits are dramatic because as we age, skin cell production begins to slow down, decreasing tightness and causing texture issues,” says Aguilar. “Retinols promote skin cell turnover, preventing the skin from becoming sluggish while keeping it active to stimulate the building blocks of the skin.”
As always, when first starting out using retinol, it’s important to start slowly and watch for skin irritation as you increase your use. Here are some recommended retinol-infused creams to get you started.
What are the best neck skin tightening treatments?
While in-office treatments like Ulthatherapy, Sofwave and Kybella are all the rage right now, Dr. Geddes-Bruce thinks the following options are superior.
“The best non-invasive in-office treatments for firming neck skin include radiofrequency microneedling and biostimulator filler injections,” says Dr. Geddes-Bruce. “The two, especially when combined, can yield beautiful results for the right candidate. Resurfacing lasers can also help. And, of course, the absolute best way to tighten neck skin is with a surgical facelift.
On the laser front, Dr. Alexiades recommends painless and downtime-free options like Genesis, ClearLift, or NIR (near infrared). “If your sagging is more advanced, ask your doctor about Profound, an injectable laser that delivers radiofrequency into your skin via thin needles,” adds Dr. Alexiades. “For necks, Botox is my favorite. It is important to note, however, that these treatments do not provide permanent results.