How do you avoid turkey neck? Not to mention chicken skin. I have come to the conclusion that you need a different mindset. The thing about the neck and décolleté is that aging does not inflict them with wrinkles in the way it does for the face. Rather, there are three typical chin to nipple issues: rough, sun-damaged skin; sagging; and creasing. This means that I don’t think that wrinkle repair serums are the appropriate weapon – and certainly not a cost-effective one for this larger area. What we need to do is to exfoliate, firm and replace elastin (and then exfoliate again). So if you’ve been neck-lecting yourself, read on for what works for neck and décolleté.

Exfoliation

Rough, sun-damaged skin needs exfoliating. I use much heftier exfoliators on my neck and chest than I would on my face. I up the ante with glycolics and scrubs.

A great help is Prep Microdermabrasion by Your Best Face ($80 in the shop). It eradicates damage. It’s ultra-fine crystals help to smooth, polish and refresh the skin, helping my neck absorb its actives. These include the free radical scavengers, Lipochroman-6, and spin trap, and antioxidant white tea and turmeric.

I use glycolic strengths that I would not dare to use on my face such as Arcona’s The Solution Pads ($42). I’ll be posting a full review in a day or two but for now will mention that these pads are presoaked with a hefty glycolic solution (this stuff tingles) and, like Prep (see above), there is spin trap. Another good way to go would be Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel ($45) with hydroxyl acids come from grape, citrus, sugar cane and apple. Plus salicylic acid from willow bark, zinc and copper, vitamins A, E and C and milk peptides.

Rarely, if ever, do I use retinol on my face, but I do sometimes use a retinol-based cream on my neck (only at night). I reach for Prana Reverse A ($48 in the shop), which seems to smooth the skin of my neck while I sleep. In addition to retinyl palmitate, there’s antioxidant alpha lipoic acid and l-Carnosine, which flushes toxins from the body and may extend the Hayflick Limit (the number of times cells reproduce themselves). I would also recommend Skinfinite’s Platinum PM Cream with 1% Retinol ($79 in the shop) as it also hydrates thanks to several moisturizing ingredients such as shea butter, almond oil, beta-glucan(D), and ceramide-2.

Firm

There are two creams that are formulated to be particularly helpful for the neck as they have ingredients that promise to firm by reinforcing the scaffolding of the skin. The scaffolding part is provided in the cells by something called laminins. They are the structural foundations of most cells. A peptide that goes by the name of ChroNoLine is supposed to stimulate laminin production and you’ll find it in SenZen Infinity Never Ending Moisture ($95). This very rich moisturizer is too much for the face, in my experience, but it works very well as a neck cream.

One of the few actual neck creams that actually seems to do anything is Osmotics’ well-named Necollete ($63). It is as luxurious as it is powerful. Made with neck targeting anti-ager Essenskin, which is mostly calcium and essential amino acids. This active stimulates lumican, a lycoprotein that is important for firming skin.

Don’t forget exercise. Nothing makes the décolleté look younger and firmer than a little muscle padding. If you can’t quite make yourself do push-ups then for inspiration grab a copy of the Bar Method ($20) and find out how exercise can be enjoyable and transformative.

Elastin

Maintaining elasticity isn’t really about just moisturizing. If only it were so easy. But increasingly there are ingredients that are getting under the skin of the issue. One is einkorn, a traditional strain of wheat. Peptides have been isolated in it that are antioxidants and can also inhibit glycation, one of the main causes of aging skin because it leads to cross-linking and the breakdown of skin elasticity. One of the very few potions that I have come across with einkorn is Chella’s Master Protocol 7 ($135). This serum is very good at restoring suppleness to the skin and it has other cutting-edge ingredients such as teprenone (Renovage) and super hydrating trehalose.

And if you were wondering why LED light should help your swan-like look more healthy and supple, well it’s down to elastin. In October 2008, German researchers identified how LED works – by changing the molecular structure of a glue-like layer of water on elastin, the protein that provides elasticity in skin, blood vessels, heart and other body structures. The light strips away those water molecules that are involved in the immobilization of elastin, gradually restoring its elastic function. So shine a light on your neck and décolleté with any of these: new Baby Quasar ($399 in the shop), now with 25% more power; Facial Secret ($330), with its efficient five-minute panel for the whole face; Sirius Aurora ($149) with three light colors; or Ultra Renew ($89 in the shop) with ultrasound as well as LED.

One of the few topicals to have made elastin its business is the newly formulated Your Best Face Control ($160 in the shop) with Relistase, a peptide that inhibits elastase activity, thereby restoring firmness, and another sagging skin lifter, Syn-Hycan. And, yes, this is my neck cream of choice.