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Why, oh why, is it so difficult to find a good neck cream? What is so different about the skin on the neck that makes formulas for the face rarely perform as well if used “off label”? I am going to stick my neck out and posit a few theories: the skin is thinner on the neck; some of us (that would be me) neglected our necks when investing in expensive facial serums and now the catch up job is all the harder; the neck and décolleté have very little fatty tissue and fewer oil glands, making this area more prone to wrinkling and dryness.
The neck also has its own symptoms, such as “necklace lines”, those bands of horizontal wrinkles, sagging (you’ll note that the newer neck creams on the market often boast the word “firming”) and leathery or crepey skin.
A good neck cream has become something of my Holy Grail (the most recent new find to be added to the Truth In Aging store was Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Lifting Neck Cream ($55) and I have become determined to hunt one (or a few) down. Here’s what I’ve seen on my neck cream journey of discovery, including the bad, possibles and those worth testing.
I tried Perricone MD Firming Neck Therapy ($98) a few years ago and was fairly pleased with it at the time, but not enough to continue using it. Neck Therapy is OK, but just OK. The key ingredient is a Perricone favorite, carnosine, which can extend the life cycle of skin cells. There’s also a fancy form of vitamin B6 and a smidge of the antioxidant astaxanthin.
I stumbled upon DH Care Neck Treatment Essence Peptides ($42.50) as I was searching online for neck creams. Its only virtue is Matrixyl 3000, a good collagen boosting peptide that languishes at the end of an ingredient list is utterly mediocre. The main ingredients are starchy fillers: glycosyl trehalose and hydrogenated starch hydrolysate.
Usually with Dr. Brandt, I feel that there is a really interesting product struggling to emerge from a department store formula of feel good silicones and cheap carrier oils. Not so with Do Not Age Firming Neck Cream ($65). I mean, I can’t find the interesting part, except for colloidal platinum. The nanoparticles of platinum were found to extend the life of worms and there is some research on the treatment of skin diseases. The peptide is an unimpressive one that makes the skin less sensitive. For immediate gratification there’s sorghum bicolor stalk juice that creates a film over the skin to make it feel tighter. Perhaps the most benefit is going to come from the relatively high proportion of exfoliating glycolic acid.
I tested Arcona Tight ($80) for five weeks earlier this year and then simply gave up on it. The ingredients list makes the right noises with exfoliating lactic acid and one of the newest power peptides, Matrixyl Synthe’6, Syn-tacks a peptide that is supposed to help restructure the skin, skin brightening turmeric and cloudberry seed oil. All well and good, except that it didn’t work for me. No brightening, tightening or improvement in skin texture.
Kate Somerville Neck Tissue Repair Cream with Peptide K8 ($150) may have changed its name to Deep Tissue Repair, but in any case it is the same thing. Naturally, I was most intrigued by the trademarked Peptide K8 and found that it is nothing more or less than palmitoyl oligopeptide. This is the peptide that is used for Matrixyl. There’s nothing wrong with it, except that it is everywhere these days. To pretend that there is something uniquely Kate Somerville going on here is a little misleading.
Selected for testing
Somme Institute Neckline ($68) is not for purists, but the good outweighs the bad and there are both useful and interesting ingredients in a formula that isn’t merely formulaic. One of the most dominant ingredients is intriguing - methylsilanol carboxymethyl theophylline alginate. This also goes by the name of theopyllisine C and is a cellulite treatment that works on fatty tissues. Since there aren’t too many of these in the neck, it may have been chosen for its anti-inflammatory properties. There’s an impressive-looking complex of B vitamins including biotin, riboflavin, cyanocobalamin and more. Don’t tell Kate Sommerville, but palmitoyl oligopeptide, aka K8, is here too.
I was lucky enough to be given a sample of the soon-to-be-launched Dr. Denis Gross Ferulic Acid & Retinol Fortifying Neck Emulsion. This is the nearest thing to the Holy Grail so far. It leaves the neck and décolleté feeling buttery and looking smoother – and this after only 10 days. Fabulous. I am told it has been three years in the making – worth every hour, I’d say. The highlights of an action packed formula include three powerful antioxidants: ferulic acid, ellagic acid and gallic acid. Then there’s collagen amino acids and silk amino acids. I particularly like sphingolipids, which in our bodies are a complex range of lipids in which fatty acids are linked.
In our testing queue is SimySkin Intensive Lift Neck Serum ($55). We’ve been slowly getting to know SimySkin and have just introduced some products into the Truth In Aging shop. I am curious about this neck serum. It is one of the few to have an SPF, although I would prefer it to have been mineral rather two chemical sunscreens. And amongst the preservatives there’s a paraben. On the plus side is Matrixyl 3000, the marine-sourced thermus thermophillus ferment and hibiscus extract.
I came across Soleil Toujours when I was hunting down sunscreens and we have brought in some testers including a neck/face cream called Soleil Toujours Daily Anti-Aging Power Serum ($145). While it has more than its fair share of silicones, it also has a generous number of peptides including one that reduces skin pigmentation called oligopeptide-68, myristoyl pentapeptide-8 (a collagen booster), myristoyl pentatpeptide-11 and a synthetic peptide called Pepta-Bright. A fascinating ingredient is SymHelios that stops UVB rays from forming a toxic substance to form in our skin. Plus there are vitamins, ubiquinone and botanicals. I am just starting to test this now and will report back in a month or so.