The skin on your neck and décolletage is delicate. If you’ve exposed it to sun, smoked, if you haven’t cleansed, exfoliated and moisturised it the way you have your face, the chances are it’s crêpey and wrinkled.
And it’s not just women over 50 who suffer from this; men acquire the turkey-neck look too.
We all know what happens as we age – we produce less collagen so our skin becomes less firm and plump, our ability to retain water diminishes and women produce less oestrogen, which has an impact on cellular activity. Wrinkles happen due to the loss of skin elasticity.
We often neglect the skin on our neck and chest but it is as delicate as the skin on our face – if not more so. Neck and chest skin is very thin and has fewer sebaceous glands, fewer lipids (essential to protect the skin from external factors) and fewer melanocytes (cells that produce the pigment that gives colour to your skin and protects it from sunlight). A recent study revealed that older skin that hadn’t been exposed to the sun had about 3,800 genetic mutations whereas skin that had been exposed had around 10,000 mutations in the same genes (meaning the ageing process had happened more quickly).
Here are five things you can do that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. Drinking more water, using a night cream on the neck and eating more salmon and blueberries is a start.
Cleanse your neck and décolletage both morning and night. After the morning cleanse, apply moisturiser, using an upward, circular motion from the top of your cleavage to under your chin – massage it in well to boost circulation. Your neck skin might require a richer product than the one you use on your face.
In the evening, apply anti-ageing cream, either the same one you use on your face or one specifically for the neck. Most night creams now contain vitamins and antioxidants, such as Vitamin A, C and E and beta carotene, which are powerful anti-ageing ingredients. CoQ10 is a powerful nutrient that helps prevent cell damage.
Neal’s Yard Remedies Beauty Sleep Concentrate, (£32.50)
Elixirs of Life Mature Skin Range, (from £9.99)
Chanel Le Lift Firming Anti-Wrinkle Crème, (£89)
Exfoliate the neck and chest area at least once a week to encourage cell turnover and keep the skin free of ingrained dirt and dead skin cells. This area is delicate, so avoid products that contain sharp particles and use a gentle, non-abrasive exfoliant.
Balance Me Cleanse and Smooth Face Balm, (£20)
Diptyque Multi-use Exfoliating Clay, (£44)
3. Use sunscreen
Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to your neck and décolletage every day and re-apply it if you are outside for long periods of time, even when it is overcast or cloudy.
4. Eat oily fish and take a fish-oil supplement
Keep your nutrition rich in anti-oxidants, especially Omega-3 acids, which are present in oily fish. These do wonders for skin rejuvenation by boosting collagen production. Eat at least one portion of salmon, mackerel or sardines a week and take a daily fish-oil supplement.
Pomegranates, acai berries, blueberries and green tea also help you stock up on antioxidants.
5. Stop smoking
Heavy smokers are almost five times more likely to have excessive wrinkling than non-smokers. Smoking damages collagen, and lip pursing and squinting while inhaling creates wrinkles in the delicate skin directly under your chin.
Five exercises to prevent turkey neck
1. Jut out your chin and move your lower jaw forward. Repeat ten times.
2. Look straight ahead. Now look up to the ceiling and hold for five seconds. Slowly return to your starting position. Repeat 20 times.
3. Form an ‘O’ with your mouth. Pull down the sides of your mouth until you feel the muscles underneath your neck working. Repeat this three times in quick succession. Build up to 20 sets of threes.
5. Press the tip of your tongue against your palate for a few seconds and release. Do this throughout the day. Make circles with your tongue when your mouth is closed, first in one direction then the other. Repeat often.
Five of the best anti-ageing creams to help firm up your neck
1. Elixirs of Life Neck Elixir Cream
Elixirs of Life produce hand-made products using only natural ingredients and they recently won the Best Moisturiser category in the 2016 Natural Health International Beauty Awards. They do offer a full range of natural skin care products and if you can’t find them at a local farmers market, you can buy online.
2. Dr Hauschka Regenerating Neck & Décolleté Cream
Rudolf Hauschka launched his own skincare brand in 1967, working closely with Vienna-born Elisabeth Sigmund. From his initial inspiration to be free from alcohol based preservatives, the Dr Hauschka range now features organic and fair-trade medicinal plant extracts.
3. L’Oreal Paris Dermo Expertise Revitalift
At the other end of the scale, L’Oreal is the world’s biggest cosmetics company. Their Revitalift range claims to help fight the natural sagging of the skin using elastin and vitafribrine. A popular choice for it’s quick absorption and smooth texture with a very reasonable price tag.
4. StriVectin TL Advanced
The TL Advanced Face & Neck Cream contains a patent Gravitite-CF Lifting Complex that reduces the appearance of sagging and improves elasticity. Like many it contains fragrance and oil extracts that could irritate particularly sensitive skin so you may want to go for something natural instead.
5. Olive Oil
You may be surprised to find that olive oil isn’t just great tasting and great for your diet, but also that it’s great for your skin. Vitamin E within the oil helps fight free radicals and nourishes skin. Used on cotton wool it can also make an excellent make-up remover so it’s worth keeping a small bottle in your bathroom.
Preventing the turkey neck look isn’t just about the surface of your skin but what you do to your body, both day and night. From choosing the right pillow, drinking enough water through to picking the right supplements and foods, we’ve also had a look at the best ways to prevent neck wrinkles.