How to Start Taking Care of Your Neck

It puts up with so much, but doesn't get any of the good skin care.

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Truth No. 1: You're Hurting Your Neck Right Now

Don't move. As you're reading this on your phone, take a moment to notice the position your neck is in. If you're like most of us, you're probably scrunching it up, which can do more damage than you might think. "Anything that causes repeated mechanical wrinkling of the neck will deepen wrinkles that are forming," says Dr. Erin Gilbert, a consulting dermatologist for skin-care brand, Vichy. "This includes looking down at your cell phone, reading in bed, or doing sit-ups at the gym with your head tucked in. Be sure that your neck is properly supported during these activities." Time to start holding your phone at eye level!

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Truth No. 2: Your Genes (and Routine) Matter

You can control your phone slouch, but there is one factor that is beyond your control. "Some degree of neck aging is determined by your genetics," Gilbert says. "People whose older relatives have wrinkles across their necks often find that they have them, as well, even as early as their mid-30s." While you survey the family photo album, think about applying your daily complexion-enhancing products to your neck: preventative care helps curb wrinkles, even the inherited kind

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Truth No. 3: Products Can Save You

If you use them on your neck, that is! "I see patients every day who ask why their necks look so much older than their faces," Gilbert says. "The answer is that they haven't cared for the skin on their necks as well as they have their faces." Start with SPF: we all know it works miracles on the complexion, but most of us don't think to apply to our necks. "Using sunscreen on your neck and chest on a daily basis prevents the degradation of collagen [the fiber that keeps your skin supple and firm], which means thinner and less resilient skin over time," Gilbert says.

"Prevention against aging in the neck area begins with daily sun protection. That should begin as early as your teenage years."

In addition to sunscreen, seek out serums and creams that include antioxidant-rich ingredients, such as vitamin C, which hydrates, smoothes, and brightens the complexion. "Start with a lighter product, like a serum," Gilbert says, "and then graduate to a thicker, more hydrating facial moisturizer as you get a bit older."

Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 15 by Cetaphil, $11,

SkinActive Moisture Bomb The Antioxidant Super Moisturizer by Garnier, $17,

Pep-Start Daily UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $20,

Nutrient Moisturizer, $39,

LiftActiv Serum 10 Supreme, $45,

Vitamin C+ Pearls, $48,

Truth No. 4: It's Never Too Soon to Start

There's no better time than now to start taking care of your neck. "Prevention against aging in the neck area begins with daily sun protection," Gilbert says. "That should begin as early as your teenage years." (See? We told you SPF is no joke!)

Truth No. 5: Massages Are Good for You

Don't just slab products onto your neck—use this as a time to give your neck the slow, restorative massage it deserves. "I'm a firm believer in the power of encouraging lymphatic flow to the skin of your neck and face," Gilbert says. "Use gentle upward strokes to both cleanse and moisturize your skin: the motions facilitate circulation, which permits natural detoxification and increases blood flow to the area." (You can also just do it to feel luxurious and relaxed in seriously stressful times!)

Ultimate Firming Neck and Chest Body Treatment Cream by Gold Bond, $10,

Chin Up Neck Firming Cream by Merlot, $13,

Neck and Face Oil by Yes to Blueberries, $18,

Vitamin A-D-E Neck Cream, $20,

Multi Correxion 5-in-1 Chest, Neck, and Face Cream by Roc, $25,

Hydra Cool Firming Neck Gels by Skyn Iceland, $35,

TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream, $95,

Black Tea Firming Corset Cream for Face and Neck, $95,

Y Lift Neck and Décolletage Treatment Mask by 111Skin, Set of Four, $180,

The Enriched Formula Neck Cream, $180,

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