How to Prevent Wrinkles on the Neck and Décolleté
Some say our eyes are the first giveaway of our age. Wrong! It’s actually our neck. As the pedestal to our face, our neck is the front-row center display of our skin’s health. So naturally, we want this area to look smooth, tight and lifted. But over the years, we battle many triggers of aging with one in particular that wreaks the most damage: UV sun exposure — the main cause of sagging, dark spots and those dreaded horizontal neck bands. If you’re concerned about these issues, here’s everything you should know about how to prevent wrinkles on the neck and décolleté.
Why do we get neck wrinkles?
In our sun-loving twenties, we rarely worry about tanning our décolleté. After all, we’re invincible, right? Clearly not. The problem is the area of skin on our neck is very thin and fragile, making it extra vulnerable to sun damage and wrinkling.
According to New York based dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, MD, "Over time, collagen is degraded by sunlight and free radical damage, which causes this already thin-skinned area of the body to become even more so. Additionally, as we move, skin folds upon itself, creating creases. Those creases will grow deeper with time, much like facial expression lines on your face.” Basically, the thinner your neck skin, the deeper the lines can form. The combination of volume loss and repeated folding of the skin are the two biggest causes of neck and décolleté wrinkles.
You can somewhat control this problem by changing your posture. Avoid curling your neck downward to text (a motion known as “tech neck”) while using any device to prevent neck creases and wrinkles.
Neck wrinkles vs. face wrinkles
Many people fail to use décolleté treatments because it’s an underrated priority. What they don’t realize, however, is that the skin around your neck is just as delicate as the under eye area. As it has less collagen than other parts of your body, it’s more prone to wrinkling, explains Dr. Jonith Breadon, a dermatologist in private practice at Aesthetic Dermatology of Lincoln Park.
So you can't simply slather on some basic moisturizer and go about your day. Your neck skin needs special attention. Just like your under eyes, your neck skin is drier and more sensitive. As dermatologist Dr. Dan Belkin explains, “The neck has fewer sebaceous glands, which secrete oil. People with more sebaceous glands have better wound healing and fewer signs of aging.” Since you’re producing less lubricating sebum in this area, you need to apply extra hydration to protect the décolleté.
Treatments for décolleté wrinkles
From creams to lasers, the anti-aging industry is loaded with treatments to prevent wrinkles on the neck and décolleté. So where do you start?
To help you along, we’ll review the most common methods and evaluate their effectiveness and safety risks.
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) lotion
The most reliable way to prevent neck wrinkles is using an SPF lotion. As Celebrity Dermatologist Dr. Jason Emer says, "The most important thing is multiple applications.” Since all people have cracks and grooves in their skin, one layer of sunscreen isn’t enough.
“So you sometimes need to put on two applications before you even go outside to get true coverage,” explains Dr. Emer. With these double layers of SPF lotion, you’ll protect your neck and décolleté from the free radicals produced by UV rays, the cause of that crinkly, leathery texture you'll often see in sun-damaged skin.
'Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)' for the décolleté
Also known as the vampire facial, rumor has it that PRP can treat neck wrinkles. Is it true?
Here’s how it works. According to a report by the Department of Dermatology and Venereology at Damascus University, “PRP's work mechanism depends on the fact that platelets contain important substances called (growth factors), which have a known role in the process of reform and renewal of tissues.” Basically, the plasma in your blood contains special healing powers, and when injected into the skin, it can boost the skin’s self-healing process, encouraging collagen growth.
Although the concept sounds promising, many studies claiming that PRP works are questionable at best. Two researchers explore the matter in a published report, “Platelet Rich Plasma: Myth or Reality?”. “Many [studies] have no controls or a limited sample size. Therefore, the use of this material cannot be supported at present, and further controlled, prospective clinical trials are urgently needed.”
Unfortunately, even notable surgeons, like M.D. and YouTuber Dr. Amiya Prasad, aren’t loving PRP to prevent neck wrinkles. As he says on Real Self, “It is probably not appropriate to use PRP as a standalone. PRP can [only] help the neck skin texture and quality.” So yes, PRP can offer superficial improvements but if you’re looking for more lift and tightness, Botox might be a better option.
Botox treatments for décolleté wrinkles
There’s no denying that Botox works to treat wrinkles on the neck and décolleté. “Botox works by blocking the release of acetylcholine, resulting in paralysis of the local muscles. [They] can be used to treat glabellar frown lines, wrinkles around the lips (smoker’s lines) and marionette lines, platysmal bands in the neck,” explains Dr. Satriyasa B in his report published in the Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology.
Although this method works, there’s just one problem. As Dr. Rajagopal says on Real Self, “Prolonged use of Botox can cause some degree of muscle atrophy. It’s good to think about facial muscles as you would any type of muscle in your body. If you don’t use or workout your biceps, they tend to shrink.”
So although Botox may remove neck wrinkles, you’ll also lose volume due to shrinking muscles and fat tissue. Essentially, you’re just thinning out your neck skin even more, which will accelerate the aging process.
Since you can’t always rely on the authenticity of this technology, or the quality of the practitioner’s training, you can risk causing even more skin damage.
Laser treatments for the décolleté
If you’re squeamish about needles, you might consider a laser treatment for décolleté wrinkles. Ultherapy, for example, is the only non-invasive treatment cleared by the FDA for lifting the skin on the neck and improving wrinkles on the décolleté. It uses microfocused ultrasound to lift and tighten loose skin.
In expert hands, the practitioner can produce amazing results. But here’s the downside: “Unfortunately many practices delegate Ultherapy to ancillary staff who may not have much experience in avoiding over-treatment of the wrong areas that could result in volume loss. There are also some "counterfeit" Ulthera devices or machines from overseas that are cheap replicas,” says Facial Plastic Surgeon, Micheal A. Persky on Real Self. Since you can’t always rely on the authenticity of this technology, or the quality of the practitioner’s training, you can risk causing even more skin damage.
Night serum for neck wrinkles
Neck firming creams are designed to keep your delicate skin looking firmer, smoother and younger. Not only should it help diminish wrinkles and age spots but over time, this area should get much tighter.
But it takes an extremely sophisticated moisturizer to get these results. Leave it to the high-profile dermatologists of L.A. to dish on their favorite professional-grade products. Dr. Paul McKenna, who treats models and actors, prefers placental cream for his patients. As he explains, “My practice consists largely of chemical peels and microdermabrasion to treat the neck and décolleté. These treatments result in a ten day period of redness and swelling which can be reduced to half the time with the EMK Face Treatment.”
This treatment helps the décolleté become tighter, brighter and more toned. Powered by stem cells from natural agave (known as BIOPLACENTA®) and a rare combination of active vitamins, it reverses signs of skin damage for a renewed and younger-looking texture.
Our neck deserves just as much cosmetic attention as we give our face. By investing in safe and reliable treatments for décolleté wrinkles, you’ll be free to don those low-cut necklines for years to come. And ideally, you’ll never have to settle for neck lift surgery.
About The Author: Rachel Esco is an educator and consultant in advanced cosmetics who empowers consumers to make informed choices about skin care. With a profound interest in beauty and biochemistry, her articles explore the latest breakthroughs in epigenetics and anti-aging technologies. Rachel is also a passionate advocate for the Beauty Conscious Movement, promoting the use of environmentally safe materials to create a zero waste culture.