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From cleansers and scrubs to masks and serums, there is no shortage of skin care products on the market. With so many options, it can be hard to know which ones are worth trying. Neck cream is one step that has long been debated in the skin care community with many firmly parked in either the "love it" or "hate it" camps.
The NPD Group, a market research company, named Strivectin's TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream the best-selling neck cream in the U.S. in 2017, according to Allure. In fact, the brand says that one jar of the cream is sold every minute worldwide.
StriVectin TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream, $95, Amazon
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Why look into neck cream?
Until recent years, skin care ended at the chin line, but "the neck and décolletage are delicate regions that can show the signs of aging earlier than other areas of our bodies," said Dr. Meghan Feely, a dermatologist who works in New York City and Cedar Grove, New Jersey. "This occurs as we lose elastin and collagen in the skin, leading these (areas) to thin."
Other dermatologists agree that it is necessary to apply some sort of moisturizing, sun-protecting and anti-aging product to your neck every day.
"Most importantly, all patients should be using a broad spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher for skin cancer prevention and preventing photoaging," said Feely. The majority of people have some sort of sun damage on their necks, according to Dr. Ranella Hirsch, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based dermatologist. Case in point: Look under your chin and then at the side of your neck. Are the two spots different shades? If so, Hirsch recommends adding a daily sunscreen to your neck routine.
After sun protection factor, the next most important product for the neck is a moisturizer. Because the neck has fewer oil glands than the face, it needs slightly more moisture. Despite this, Hirsch simply recommends using your everyday facial moisturizer to hydrate the neck.
On the other hand, Dr. Patricia Farris, a dermatologist in Metairie, Louisiana, always prescribes a targeted neck cream as part of her anti-aging skin care regimen because they are "specially formulated for neck skin, which is a little more sensitive."
Do specialized firming neck creams actually work?
For someone looking to make a difference in the appearance of the neck area, neck creams are a great addition to a skin care routine. But, each product is only as beneficial as the active ingredients in it, according to Dr. Lisa Chipps, a Los Angeles-based dermatologist.
A few key components to look for when choosing the best anti-aging products are retinol, growth factors, peptides, hyaluronic acid, ceramide and SPF. Retinol has "evidence to demonstrate it remodels collagen and can help control oily skin and lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles," said Feely. Growth factors are known to enhance elasticity through stimulating collagen production, peptides assist with skin laxity, hyaluronic acid moisturizes skin and ceramide may help repair the skin barrier.
Most brands will use a proprietary version of a combination of these ingredients, so be sure to do your research before purchasing.
Hirsch also warns that although many people see visible improvements while applying these products, many of them are not proven to have long-term results.
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Who should use neck cream?
Unfortunately, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to this because it depends on the person and how they age. In general, Farris recommends a neck cream to "anybody who's over 40 and has had a significant amount of sun damage." Other dermatologists tend to lean toward incorporating neck care — although not always a specific neck cream — earlier as a preventive measure.
Chipps explained that most "patients focus on their faces, but don't think about how their neck is aging." From her experience, patients only start working on the neck area once they notice a difference between their face and neck, but then it's often too late for creams to be able to magically repair decades of neglect.
In the market for a neck cream? Try one of these dermatologist-recommended options!
Roc Multi Correxion 5-in-1 Anti-Aging Chest, Neck & Face Cream With SPF 30, $17, Amazon
Fresh Black Tea Firming Corset Cream, $95, Sephora
No7 Restore & Renew Face & Neck Multi Action Serum, $30, Amazon
Shiseido Benefiance Concentrated Neck Contour Treatment, $40, Amazon
Revision Skincare Nectifirm, $92, Amazon
NeoStrata Triple Firming Neck Cream, $45, Amazon