From The Straits Times    |

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Why you should care for your neck

While it’s often said that the skin on a woman’s neck reveals the most about her age, neck wrinkles are usually the least of a 20 or 30-something-year-old’s anti-ageing concerns.

Pores, dark spots and under eye circles take precedence, following the Korean – and pretty much, Asian – beauty ideal of clear, radiant skin.

Case in point: The serums and creams that we painstakingly put, layer after layer on our faces are haphazardly slapped – and even, rubbed – on to the decolletage. Any guilt of not taking better care of the area completely disappears after 10 seconds. At least I’m doing something, right?

But consider this: Wrinkles form a lot faster on your neck than your face because the skin around it is thinner, and has less fatty tissue, says Dr Siew Tuck Wah from The Sloane Clinic.

“In addition, there are much fewer sebaceous glands on the neck – with less sebum produced, causing it to dry out and form wrinkles more easily,” explains Dr Siew.

In recent years, it’s been said that common daily habits such as sleeping positions and the constant use of mobile devices can accelerate the neck ageing process, too.

Does this mean that you need a neck cream?

If you’re now clutching your neck and feeling for lines, don’t panic just yet. While all these seem to point to the need for a separate neck cream, Dr Siew says that it isn’t necessary: “What you use on the face will be good enough for the neck.”

“The exception is if your facial cream is very lightweight: The skin on your neck, being drier, will require a cream rich enough to keep it moisturised,” he says.

“If you’re already using an anti-ageing product for your face, use it on your neck too. It should be good enough,” he adds.

What you should do

Put in the same amount of effort in caring for your face as your neck. That means that the three main steps of your skincare routine – cleansing, toning and moisturising – should be extended to the neck too.

As for the products that you should use, Dr Siew advises looking out for ingredients that have been proven for anti-ageing. They include vitamin C, niacinamide and peptides. “All of these have been proven to stimulate collagen to lift the skin and improve elasticity,” he says.

If you feel that you require a neck cream, many beauty brands offer effective options.

French skincare brand Clarins makes a great one targeted at women in their 40s and over. The Advanced Extra-Firming Neck Cream plumps and smoothes the look of skin for a lifted appearance.

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These creams should be gently pressed – not rubbed – onto the neck area, advises Clarins. Do this morning and night and never forget the sides of the neck.

Treatments, such as the popular Thermage, can also be an option to improve the appearance of an ageing neck.

“One of my favourites is the Fraxel Light Laser, a gentle fractional resurfacing treatment which has been very effective in reversing the signs of ageing on the neck,” says Dr Siew who has a special interest in fillers and lasers.

“People who are more keen for immediate, visible results can consider Revitalift, which uses injections of a very soft hyaluronic acid filler to quickly firm up the skin and make it more hydrated,” he adds.

What else to watch out for

“As a rule of thumb, start using sunblock as early as possible, and start using an anti-ageing cream for the neck in your mid to late twenties to delay the onset of signs of aging, such as fine lines and thinning of the skin,” says Dr Siew.

What you eat matters too. Fruits and vegetables are always beneficial for the skin as they are packed with vitamins and antioxidants which help to protect your skin from environmental damage.

“My favourite is tomatoes, which contain lycopene – it’s proven to protect our skin from harmful UV rays – and celery, which has anti-inflammatory and protective effects,” says Dr Siew.

Of course, adequate rest, keeping stress levels at bay and regular exercise are important, too, he adds.

Want more skincare tips on how to take care of your neck? Check out Khloe Kardashian’s surprising beauty hack, and read about the new neck-ageing buzzword in Europe.

Photography: Vernon Wong; Art direction: Eugene Quek and Sabrina Tiong; Styling: Hong Xinying; Makeup: Beno Lim, Senior Artist, M.A.C Cosmetics, using M.A.C Cosmetics; Hairstyling: Patcharin; Model: Zhao Meijuan/Nu Models; Top: Cool-find K-Style