There’s so much focus on skincare products — and procedures and specific treatments — that focus on your face and all of the ways you can prevent sagging, fine lines, and dark spots. But what isn’t usually the focal point of skincare? Your neck. And the reality is that, for many of us, the thinner skin on our necks is one of the first places to show signs of aging, which include sagging skin. Often times age — and just age — is the perfectly normal reason why your skin is experiencing sagging. And there’s something to be said for accepting some of the changes that happen to everyone — but that doesn’t mean you want to be adding to them, either. Without even knowing it, some of your daily habits could be contributing to a sagging neck. This is the one thing women over 40 do everyday that may make saggy neck skin even worse. 

Exposing your neck to UV light without protection 

You have it burned in your brain: never leave the house without applying at least SPF 30 — rain or shine. But so many of us are ignoring our necks when we apply sunscreen, even though all you have to do is apply products below your jawline to get so many of the benefits that your face enjoys. 

“Sun exposure can cause premature aging, too much exposure to UV rays can weaken the skin’s elastin and collagen, causing it to become less elastic and more prone to wrinkles and sagging,” says Dr. Anju Methil, MBBS, DVD, MD of dermatology and cosmetology and a medical consultant at ClinicSpots. Other factors that may contribute to sagging neck skin include smoking, and a poor skincare routine. Smoking also restricts blood flow to the skin, leading to its deterioration over time. Skincare routines like improper cleansing techniques, such as harsh scrubbing, or using too harsh of products. Not applying enough moisturizer to your neck can also be a reason for sagging as hydrated skin is naturally firmer than dry skin.”

Bottom line: the skin on your neck needs protection from the sun and elements just as much as the skin on your face and body. It can also benefit from so many of the skincare ingredients that you use daily. 

What are the best products and treatments you recommend to address a saggy neck?

We often forget the skin on our neck and chest also require the same treatments we give our face, agrees Manuela Valenti, CEO/Founder or By Valenti Organics. “Extending the beauty routine to our neck (cleansing, toning, nourishing) will improve skin’s appearance by increasing its elastin and collagen production,” Valenti says. “Aim for products containing Bakuchiol (watch out for fake Bakuchiol serums which abound on the market and won’t produce the desired effects) or Retinol. Apply products massaging in an upward and outward movement, never down.”

Don’t underestimate the power of creams that target the neck, either. “Neck creams are designed to help reduce the signs of aging in the neck area, such as wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin,” Dr. Methil says. “They can also be used to improve skin texture and elasticity. Look for active ingredients like Vitamin C, retinoids, peptides, and hyaluronic acid when choosing a neck cream. These ingredients work together to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin on the neck area by promoting cell turnover and increasing collagen production. In addition, these creams also help moisturize the skin to keep it hydrated and smooth.”

Sticking to a healthy diet and consistent exercise routine will help in preventing rapid increase and decrease of weight, preventing skin from stretching too much while allowing it to maintain a healthy structure, Valenti adds. And if full body exercising isn’t in the schedule, Valenti recommends exercising your neck and shoulders to tone muscles and skin.

If creams aren’t cutting it, you may be interested in visiting a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist and asking about in-office procedures that can help. But keep in mind that what works for you may not work for someone else, so Google is not your best friend in this case. 

“The best treatment of sagging neck should be individualized to specific patient’s issues,” says  Dr. Dare V. Ajibade a skilled plastic surgeon in the Washington DC area at Jamachi Plastic Surgery and MediSpa. “Patients with skin only issues may benefit from better skin care and Morpheus treatment (Microneedle with radiofrequency) to reduce fine lines and tighten the skin. Others, due to excess fat and skin laxity will need reduction of fat whether through medical approach or minimally invasive approach and skin tightening with radiofrequency (Facetite or J-plasma/Renuvion). Surgical neck lifts are reserved for people interested in more dramatic results or with issues that are not amenable to less invasive options.”

No matter which approach you try, remember the most important habit of all is beginning to view your neck as an extension of your face — and protecting it accordingly.