Surely, you've seen them. Plump, lineless face, smooth complexion. They could pass for someone in their 30s. But upon closer look, something's off, not quite right. Is it their hair? No. Their teeth? That's not it.
Oh, wait, it's their neck!
This oft-neglected area is a key element in our quest to look more youthful. Women, understandably so, tend to only focus on their faces when combating age. But if the eyes are the windows to the soul, the neck is the window to your real age.
Read on for simple tips to keep this area looking just as fresh as your face.
First thing's first. You should treat other areas of the body as you treat your face.
Using sun block every day on the neck is crucial to keep skin looking young and free of age spots and discoloration. Ricki Criswell of Ricki Criswell Skin Care in Los Angeles suggests using an SPF 50 with zinc daily.
"I love the SkinCeuticals line. It goes on without feeling greasy so you can apply other products over it. Apply it to your face and neck everyday."
This goes for your regular moisturizer, as well. Don't only apply it to your face, hydrate your neckline, also.
MicrodermabrasionAnother recommendation from Criswell is microdermabrasion. "Microderm is a great way to keep your skin smooth and free of fine lines and pigmentation." Some salons include the neck in a regular microderm treatment, but most don't. It's worth the extra cash to have your neck done. It exfoliates the skin in a way that expensive creams and washes just can't do. A monthly treatment is recommended, but if that's too much for you, every other month is almost as good.
Sit Up, Sleep Down
When you're watching TV, take note of your position. Is your chin lowered to your chest for hours each night? Keeping your chin up can keep your neck from developing folds or wrinkles prematurely. Take note of your chin, and if you feel it dropping, look back up.
At the same time, sleeping on a pile of pillows gives your neck a similar effect. Try switching to one, low pillow. Your neck is likely to remain elongated throughout the night.
Yes, that dreaded thing works for neck lines and sagging also.
Your neck muscles play a big role in the sagging and drooping of neck skin. Strengthening these muscles will give your much tauter skin. Here is one simple exercise you can do anywhere:
-Looking straight ahead, tip your head towards one shoulder and hold it there for 5 seconds.
-Straighten up and repeat to the other side.
-Next, turn (instead of tilt) your head from side to side.
Exercising and maintaining a steady weight in general will also have a positive effect on your neck skin. Drastic changes in weight-be it loosing or gaining-will affect your skin all over, especially the neck.
The Big Guns
If you've reached the point of no return, it's time to see a dermatologist or doctor. With today's plethora of youth fountains, there will no doubt be something to mend what bothers you.
Intense Pulsed Light-IPL-Facials, also known as the PhotoFacial, can produce drastic results for an aged neck. It's not a laser, which many dermatologists are skeptical on using on the neck because of scarring and pigmentary change-it's a flash of light which targets brown pigment and blood vessels and breaks them up/closes them. It also boosts collagen, which smooths fine lines and plumps the skin.
Another option is a neck lift. Yes, you read that correctly. It's usually done in conjunction with face or brow lifts and there are three ways you can go about this.
The first way is liposuction, where the extra fat is simply sucked out. The second is cervicoplasty, which is essentially the same process as a face lift (IE small incisions are made, then the skin is pulled back). The last option is platysmaplasty, where certain parts of the neck muscles are removed or realigned to give a more youthful appearance. (Yikes.)
And there you have it. There's nothing modern science can't try to fix.
About the Author: Nicole Fabian is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. She is Associate Editor of ThirdAge.com.--
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