Beauty Clinic: My neck needs help!
Q. I’m having a bad neck day - well year really. Suddenly I can see signs of age appearing – crêpiness, a little bit of sagging, the odd line that might become a choker…! - although I am only in my late thirties. I have always taken my moisturiser down and round my neck. Do I need something more? A. We know those heart-sink 'Neck Moments'! In fact, in our latest book The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible we have a whole section on nourishing your neck. (So you might find it worth investing in a copy; www.victoriahealth.com has signed ones, or you can find it on Amazon or at any good book shop.)
You are not alone in angst-ing about this vital and visible area. Screenwriter Nora Ephron (think When Harry Met Sally, Heartburn, Julie and Julia etc. etc.) wrote a hilarious collection of essays called I Feel Bad About My Neck. She says: ‘One of my biggest regrets is that I didn't spend my youth staring lovingly at my neck…now I am older, I honestly do understand just what matters in life. Guess what? It’s my neck.’
But take heart: much can be done and especially at your tender age. Your specific question is do you need a targeted product? Well, the skin on the neck has relatively few oil glands and without lots of lipid-rich (fats/oils) moisturising, it can get papery rapidly.
You can double-moisturise: extending everything you put on your face down to your bra-line and ditto with your body lotion.
Or you could – and we tend to favour this – use a specific neck cream. We still love Clarins classic Jeunesse du Cou, now updated as Extra-Firming Advanced Neck Cream. (We always used to keep jars on our desk and Sarah in fact still has one just there for spare moments..)
Clarins, of course, have always emphasised that correct application of all their products makes a big difference. You can find a demo on Youtube or do as we do, and – using the fingertips of both hands - stroke it across your décolleté from side to side, then up your neck to your jawline, making sure you go all round. We're fans, too, of Sarah Chapman Skinesis Neck and Chest Rejuvenating Complex, from one of our favourite facialists.
Also: do protect your neck and décolleté from UV rays with an SPF15 or more. Like your hands, they are on show much of the time but get much less TLC than your face. Make sure you use a product that specifies UVA/UVB protection: the SPF only applies to UVA and some cosmetics will not protect you against UVB, which is just as damaging. You could try the Ultrasun range, which lasts eight hours. Their latest offering is Ultrasun Tinted Face SPF30, a once a day tinted sun cream with an anti-ageing complex that leaves a light golden sheen.
But remember, above all: when people look at you, they aren't focussing on your neck. They see your smile, the sparkle in your eyes, their eyes are caught by your sparkly earrings... It's the whole picture that others see, when we tend to focus on particular 'flaws'. Hope that helps make things better...!
• Clarins Extra-Firming Advanced Neck Cream/£44 for 50 ml
• Sarah Chapman Skinesis Neck and Chest Rejuvenating Complex/£54 for 40 ml at www.victoriahealth.com - buy here