About four weeks ago, I took the plunge and started to test Bioelements V-Neck Smoothing Cream ($59). Broadly speaking, a tester's experience fits into one of three categories: a notable improvement; no change; things get worse. Unfortunately, several weeks into using Bioelements V-neck, I almost took to wearing a turtle neck. Things got worse. My neck and decollete looked rougher, redder and creased.

In retrospect, I'm not all that surprised. The main ingredient is acetyl hexapeptide-8 (also known as Argireline) and as its purpose in life is to inhibit muscle movements that cause expression wrinkles, I can't really see how that works for the neck and chest. Anyhow, wrinkles aren't really my problem in this area. What I want to do is improve the texture and tone of my decollete.

This should have been taken care of by alpha arbutin, a skin brightener. It works by blocking epidermal melanin biosynthesis by inhibiting tyrosine and dopa. A skin lightening study on 80 Chinese descent women demonstrated that an emulsion containing 1% alpha-arbutin resulted in a faster and more pronounced skin lightening effect after 1 month when compared with other commonly used single components at 1 % use levels. However, for some reason, it wasn't cranking into gear for me.

One thing that I did notice was that I didn't break out (and I am prone to a touch of chest acne). This might be due to the presence of a couple of essential oils: petitgrain oil, which helps counteract oily skin and blemishes, and  clary sage oil, which balances sebum production.

Happily, I have had much better results with April Rain Night Rainew (although it isn’t specifically intended as a neck cream, I find it too heavy for my face and ideal for thicker hide below the chin), Perricone MD Firming Neck Therapy and Dermaxime Rejuvenating Day Cream. By the way, I find that all of those work really well with IMAGE Skincare's Ageless serum, which has glycolic acid to exfoliate and creates a good base for a richer cream.

Perricone MD Firming Neck Therapy at Beautydotcom

Ingredients

Water, acetyl hexapeptide-8, caprylic/capric triglyceride, stearic acid, sweet almond oil, PEG-100 stearate, alpha arbutin, sodium hyaluronate, grape seed oil, orange oil, bitter orange oil, lime oil, lavender oil, citrus aurantium (petitgrain) oil, rosemary oil, coriander oil, clary sage oil, neroli oil, bergamot oil, grapefruit oil, d-limonene, cetyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, capryl glycol stearate, glycerin, carbomer, disodium EDTA, tromethamine.