Red, rough, wattles of loose neck skin…. Ah, the dreaded turkey neck. There is a veritable Mason-Dixon line between my jawline and neck with the latter looking much more weathered. I have finally come to understand that the neck has some surprising characteristics – ones that both explain the difference between my neck and face skin, and the need for two different approaches.
The neck has relatively fewer oil glands than the face, making the skin more dry with a tendency to become papery over time. This is also because neck skin is thinner. Crepey skin is the result of sun damage and all that twisting and turning. And as we age, the platysma muscles in our necks contract, making the sinews pop out more.
But there’s no need to get into a flap about turkey neck. Chin up with a simple 1-2-3 regimen of exfoliate, replenish, and firm.
If you want to get serious about exfoliation, try the PMD Personal Microderm System ($179). This at-home microdermabrasion kit is easy and (providing you follow the instructions and don’t over do it) safe to use. The diamond tipped head makes contact with the skin and abrades against it – there are two disc sizes with the slightly bigger one being suitable for the neck area. Read the full review of PMD Personal Microderm Sytem.
Using the PMD once a week is enough, and can be interspersed with an exfoliating serum or lotion such as Arcona Pumpkin Lotion 10% ($35 in the shop). Glycolic acid is the second ingredient, followed closely by pumpkin ferment, another alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). This can be used daily, but those of us with more sensitive skin will find an application once every three days sufficient. Read the review of Arcona Pumpkin Lotion.
For a quick and easy daily solution, there’s the convenience of a quick swipe with the pre-soaked Arcona The Solution Pads ($42). Their 4% glycolic acid packs a punch, and I like that they also have the free radical scavenger, spin trap. Read the review of Arcona The Solution Pads.
The drier, thinner neck skin can take (and probably needs) a much heavier cream than the face. I tend to reach for a good, hydrating night cream with plenty of anti-aging ingredients. Eslor Active Night Cream ($95 in the shop) with Matrixyl 3000 is way too unctuous for my face, but it works a treat on the neck. You’ll also be inspired by our 64-year-old reviewer who tested Eslor Active Night Cream, and said it practically eliminated her neck’s “dreaded crepiness”.
My off-label use of a night cream tends to work best for me. However, one of the few bone fide neck creams that works is Osmotics Necollete ($63). It's made with neck-targeting anti-ager Essenskin, which consists of mostly calcium and essential amino acids, and stimulates lumican, a lycoprotein that is important for firming skin.
Real firming requires the heavy guns of microcurrent and ultrasound. Ultra Renew Sculpt ($129) has a relatively large ultrasonic plate [compared to Ultra Renew Plus ($159) and is 1Mhz, making it more efficient to use over the neck and body. It also comes with infra-red LED light, which is helpful for crepey skin and can be used to firm other areas such as the arms and thighs with the additional functionality of EMS (electro massage stimulator). Read more on Ultra Renew Sculpt.
Another good firming device is the Myotone Facial Toning System ($279), which utilizes microcurrent. Since microcurrent works at the muscular level, it's a good complement to LED and ultrasound, which smooth the skin. Microcurrent uses a subsensory electric current that delivers a pulse to the facial muscles to stimulate them and the surrounding tissue. Although billed as a facial firmer, my off-label use on the neck has been successful. Read the review of Mytotone.