How to Prevent Aging On Your Neck & Chest


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To almost no one’s surprise, signs of aging such as wrinkles, crepey skin, and brown or ashen discolorations show up sooner on areas that haven’t been shielded from the sun. This is especially true for the neck and chest because we tend to neglect those areas far more than our face, leaving them exposed to the sun and the damage it causes.

That’s why your skincare routine really needs to start at your chest and work its way up—but is a "special" neck or décolleté cream really necessary? Read on to find out…

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Décolleté Creams: Should You Use One?

Just as your hands can give away your age due to sun damage and loss of elasticity, your neck, chest, and décolleté can do the same. As a result, cosmetics counters are packed with endless creams and treatments claiming to target these areas. The truth is that buying a separate neck, chest, or décolleté cream is usually a waste of money—these “specialized” products often lack ingredients that can improve signs of aging, rarely contain sunscreen, and almost always are overpriced given their formulas.

Perhaps the biggest reason such creams are unnecessary is that the products you use for your face (provided they’re well-formulated) will work beautifully on your neck and chest, too. There’s no research showing that the neck and chest need ingredients or formulations that are different from those you use on the face.

It’s a simple fact: What it takes to keep skin anywhere on your body acting and looking young requires the same types of beneficial ingredients as your face—antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents as well as skin-repairing and cell-communicating ingredients,)! There are no, and we do mean zero, special ingredients that are better for treating signs of aging on the neck and chest.

How to Prevent & Treat Aging on the Neck & Chest

OK, so if a neck or chest cream isn’t the answer, what’s the best routine to keep these areas looking as young and smooth as possible, for as long as possible? Here’s what you can do that WILL make a difference.

  • Extend the same great skincare routine you assemble for your face (cleansing, toning, exfoliating, moisturizer, etc.) down to your neck and chest. There’s no need for separate products unless you’re addressing different skin concerns for your face vs. neck and chest (i.e. dry skin, acne).
  • Consider adding an anti-aging "booster" to your routine. Each of our Paula’s Choice Anti-Aging Boosters provides a concentrated dose of potent anti-aging ingredients that you can mix with your current products to supercharge their benefits. This gives you the ability to tailor your routine based on your skin’s needs, which are bound to change over time and even with the seasons.
  • To see improvement and keep your skin looking healthy and young, you need to be as consistent with your neck and chest routine as you are with your face. Think of it like this, if the skin on your face looks young and healthy, but the skin on your neck and chest is wrinkled and leathery, you are doing yourself a huge disservice. Give these areas the same AM/PM skincare “love” you afford your face.
  • Clothing often exposes the neck and chest to the sun, making them especially vulnerable to sun damage and the signs of aging. Always protect your exposed neck, chest, and décolleté with daily application of broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30+. It's the best single step you can take to keep this area of your skin looking gorgeous for years to come. And, it almost goes without saying, but do not get a suntan or use tanning beds to darken skin on the neck and chest. That’s the fast track to mottled, crepe-y, sagging skin. Self-tanner or strategic application of bronzer will give the same benefits, without the aging UV rays.
  • Dark spots on the chest and décolleté are treatable! If you notice brown discolorations, spot treat them with a skin-lightening product, and it can be the same one you use to treat dark spots on your face.

Treatments for "Turkey Neck?"

It’s important to point out that the neck is a bit of a different issue, not in terms of what products you use, but in what often happens to the neck as we age. For certain, the neck will show the same signs of aging as the face, but usually not as quickly because the neck typically is shielded from the sun by our heads.

Regardless of how slowly the sun damage may show up, if you neglect your neck it will suffer the same woes as any other part of your body that you don’t protect from the sun.

What’s frustrating about the neck is that it tends to sag faster than other parts of the face. This is to some extent about skincare (or lack thereof), but it’s also because of gravity and physiology. Skin on the face and chest are well supported by bone, while the front of the neck has no supporting bone structure (only the back of the neck does, but not all that much given the size and shape of the neck’s vertebrae). The elaborate network of neck muscles don’t provide much support, which means that the neck and its fat pads can be affected by the pull of gravity sooner than other parts of your body and face. [1, 2] That means you may see signs of sagging on the neck before you notice such signs on the face, along the jaw line.

What to do about that sagging? As much as it pains us to say, there’s a point of no return where age-related sagging can only be addressed with surgery, not skincare—no matter how tempting the "lifting" or "recontouring" claims are. Nevertheless, you can help create healthier, firmer skin and prevent worse sagging by using products loaded with antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients.

You just have to keep realistic expectations—no skincare product can magically lift skin. However, the combination of great skincare (which must include daily sun protection all year long) and cosmetic surgical procedures can keep anyone looking younger, longer!

The Best Skin of Your Life Starts Here: The same type of in-depth scientific research used to create this article is also used to formulate Paula’s Choice Skincare products. You’ll find products for all skin types and a range of concerns, from acne and sensitive skin to wrinkles, pores, and sun damage. With Paula’s Choice Skincare, you can get (and keep) the best skin of your life! See Paula's Choice Anti-Aging Products.

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References Cited:

  1. Shadfar S, Perkins S. Anatomy and physiology of the aging neck. Facial Plast Surg Clin North Am. 2014;22(2):161-70.
  2. 40 Sykes J. Rejuvenation of the aging neck. Facial Plast Surg. 2001;17(2):99-107.

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and helping you solve your skincare frustrations with research-supported expert advice—so you'll have the facts you need to take the best possible care of your skin.

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