The neck is one of the first places to show the effects of age because the skin on the neck is thinner than other places on the body, plus it sees a lot of environmental stress. Often we forget about our neck when treating our faces resulting in uneven texture, roughness, dilated capillaries and splotchy pigmentation.
So many of us have ignored this so important first step in preventing aging on the neck. The UV rays from the sun are the #1 aging factor. You must start applying sunscreen down on your neck each time you apply it to your face. Even when you’re inside remember that UVA rays (the aging rays) can come through your windows, even the windows in your car. Use a high SPF (SPF30 or higher) with broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB light. Also, use UV protective clothing when outdoors. A scarf can help.
When it comes to your beauty routine, sleep may be the closest thing there is to the fountain of youth. Your body repairs itself while you sleep and this has great anti-aging benefits for your neck. Shoot for 7-9 hours each night. Getting your beauty sleep is crucial for skin repair. This is when your blood pressure drops and you go from active mode (fight or flight) to repair mode (rest and digest). Before bed is the perfect time to apply repair serums to your neck, like Retinol and repair booster serums. Retinol has superior research for boosting collagen and other components that give skin strength and firmness and helps lessen sun damage. Because skin is thinner on the neck you may be more to sensitive to retinol. So, consider a milder formula of retinol for your neck than you might use on your face. Also, don't use retinol every night. Three nights a week is optimal. Consider working up to three nights. Start with one night the first week. Two nights the second and three nights the third. If you notice sensitivity you can always cut back and then gradually build back up at a rate more tolerable. Mind you, sleeping in the wrong position can increase lines on your neck. The optimal position is on your back with a slight elevation of your head. Too many pillows, or pillows placed so they scrunch up your neck leads to mechanical folds in your neck (aka wrinkles).
High amounts of cortisol (the stress hormone) causes a breakdown of collagen and elastin and forms wrinkles. Stress can also cause chronic inflammation which impairs the body's ability to repair itself. Research has found that skin aging is often accompanied with two to four times increased levels of inflammation. Chronic stress can also lead to insulin resistance. Insulin floating around your circulatory system means higher levels of blood sugar. This contributes to glycation which makes collagen fibers ridged and hinders skin elasticity which causes wrinkles to form earlier than they would otherwise.
To reduce stress try meditation or yoga. I like stretching before bed and include bending at the waist and hanging my head upside down for two minutes to release stress in my neck and spine. This will be both destressing and also improves circulation to the skin of your neck.
SMOKING AND EXCESS ALCOHOL
These are habits that will age you much quicker, and that goes double for the delicate skin of your neck. Smoking constricts capillaries impeding the flow of nutrients and oxygen, starving the skin of your neck. It also delivers toxic free-radicals that among other things destroy Vitamin C. This vitamin is essential for making collagen which keeps skin firm. Likewise, too much alcohol is toxic to your system, creating reactive oxygen species which may lead to permanently dilated capillaries, red splotches and a bloated, puffy look from the inflammation it creates. Unfortunately I’ve seen this multiple times where clients have these habits.
Moderate exercise improves blood flow. It also revs up delivery of growth factors that help with repair and diminishes inflammation. However exhaustive exercise creates more free radicals than the body can handle and increases aging, especially that thickened, leathery look that comes from advanced glycation end products. Too much heat, from sun (while you run) or your own body revving up can cause a grilling effect, a form of advanced glycation end products. However regular moderate exercise has been shown to reduce glycation and is an important piece of your anti-aging regime.
AGEs (Advanced Glycation End products) is cross linking of collagen fibers that give the neck a ridgid, leathery look. AGEs are most commonly caused by surgery foods, fried foods, smoked or barbecued foods, or browned foods that are cooked at high temperatures. I love all these foods but try to minimize them and increase other foods, the ones that boost antioxidants and stimulate autophagy (cell recycling). A couple of (possibly unexpected) examples are coffee, green tea, and my personal favorite, dark chocolate. The chocolate must be at least 80% cocoa, otherwise it will contain too much sugar and not enough of the anti-inflammatory epicatechins. In one study, researchers from the University of California showed that the epicatechins in dark chocolate reduce skin's damaging oxidative stress as well as neuroinflammation (meaning it’s good for your brain as well). Notice these foods have a lot of color. The pigment found in most foods high in antioxidants are high in color. In these foods it's where the epicatechins hide.
If you notice you are spending a lot of time scrunching up your neck to use your phone or laptop try getting a laptop elevator. I use a plastic cube under my computer to reduce the amount of scrunching I do, since I now work on the computer most of the day.
Just like sunscreen don't forget to apply moisturizer on your neck every night. In addition to hydrating the skin it will make lines less noticeable and give the skin a smoother texture. A word of caution. You don't want to apply moisturizer to your neck that contains perfume. Perfume (especially those with citrus scents) can cause a photosensitive reaction that will result in pigmentation that can be permanent. The same holds true for perfume in general. If you're a perfume lover try spritzing it elsewhere other than on your neck to avoid this problem. One of the best moisturizers I’ve ever found for the neck contains an abundance of Swiss Apple Stem Cells. These rare Swiss apples got their fame from the fact that they don’t seem to age (or at least age more slowly) and when they get bruised they seem to repair themselves. Okay... our own stem cells are different from apple stem cells and no one is saying that by applying apple stem cell ingredients you are creating new stem cells. But, the level of antioxidants in this extract is astounding. That means there are a lot of anti-aging benefits from using stem cells that came from this rare apple. And if that’s not enough, the formula we use in Crepe Escape includes a variety of peptides including the most researched peptide for building collagen - Matrixyl.
Beyond apple stem cells, a variety of peptides can be very effective for improving the skin of the neck. Peptides are cell signaling ingredients that rev up production of collagen, improve hydration and promote healing. Peptides can be even more effective when found in a serum form, because of the higher percentages used and excipients that carry performance ingredients deeper into the skin.
STEM CELL STIMULATORS
Various stem cells found in products don't replace your own stem cells. However the powerful antioxidants in these plant stem cells have wonderful anti-aging results. But, a stem cell media goes much further. A stem cell media is created when mesenchymal stem cells (from human bone marrow) are collected and stressed in the laboratory. These stressed stem cells secrete molecules that are in the perfect combination to boost your own stem cells to go into repair mode. In the lab this collection of growth factors, peptides and cytokines are skimmed off and the original stem cells discarded. Stem Stim by LONGEVITY is the most reparative serum we have. It can be combined with other antioxidants or peptide rich serums to increase its effectiveness. Furthermore, it includes growth factors that are very stable and work extremely well when incorporated into serums. This is is why Stem Stim is our #1 repair serum for the neck.
Primers often contain silicone and can be used over sunscreen, moisturizer or foundation in the morning and reapplied again during the day. The right primer instantly smooths out the skin. It gives the look of reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Silicone based primers also draw moisture to the skin's surface, plumbing up the skin and minimizing lines. It's more of a cosmetic effect, but worth a try.
High potency antioxidant serums like Vitamin C are great when used on the neck. I recommend this during the day because that is when you come in contact with environmental aggressors. Make sure your Vitamin C is in a stable form. L-Ascorbic acid is very unstable and can break down even in the bottle. An ester version, like magnesium ascorbyl phosphate will stay fresh much longer. A gentler version of Vitamin C it is much more desirable for your neck. Coenzyme Q10 and Niacinamide are energy boosting antioxidants you can use at night. Niacinamide is a form of B3 which is an antioxidant with big brightening effects to help correct mottled skin on your neck. It is also energizing boosters to rev up repair, as does CoQ10 and resveratrol.
RED LIGHT THERAPY
If you want to go that extra mile to correct skin aging on your neck you might consider red light therapy. Red Light Therapy uses a combination of red light, infrared light and near red light (sometimes amber light). Infrared light may be invisible but your skin feels it as as a kind of heat which bumps up energy (ATP) that helps with repair. It's sort of like the energy the sun gives to plants to make them grow.
With red light therapy, you expose your skin to a device based on LED red light. A part of your cells called mitochondria, sometimes called the “power generators” of your cells, soak it up and make more energy. This helps cells repair themselves and become healthier. It also spurs healing in the skin and helps improve collagen production.
I recommend using it to smooth out wrinkles. I use it at night while I’m reading or watching TV. You can use it over your whole face but since this can be time consuming I just reserve treatments for my neck. You can find LED red light masks but I use a red light wand from Lightstim. I use this particular device because it is FDA approved for wrinkles and has the optimal lumens recommended for wrinkle reduction. It also has varying wavelengths of light that penetrate to different layers of the skin.
I first apply Stem Stim on clean skin to boost the repair effectiveness of the LED light. Other options are Hydraessence or Brightening Peptide Serum. Since they are clear serums they will not block the LED light. I hold it on my neck in three different positions for 3 minutes per spot. It's a bit time consuming but when done regularly I really see a difference. So you have to commit to it. Using it daily will offer the best results. Don’t use if you have a medical condition (like lupus) which is affected by light or if you are on medication that is affected by light.
Elizabeth believes in "Longevity Skincare", the idea that beautiful skin can endure throughout one's lifetime when utilizing the best that science and nature has to offer. LONGEVITY is a science-based skincare line that appreciates skin of all ages. LONGEVITY by Elizabeth Renee provides hydration, nutrition and protection from environmental aging. Your skin will receive high performance ingredients to help energize and repair its cells, resulting in a healthy skin with an enduring, vital glow.