Your 5-Step Game Plan To Address A Crepey Neck — From Topicals To Treatments
Here's a skin care fact for you: The skin on your neck and chest is some of the most delicate, sensitive, and thinnest areas of the entire body. And thinner areas of skin are almost always the first to show signs of aging. On the neck and chest, this will likely show up as fine lines and crepey skin.
Crepey skin looks, well, like crepe paper: thin and easily wrinkled. It's caused by collagen loss, dehydration in the epidermis, and free radical damage. You can learn more about crepey skin in our full guide, but as a note: The appearance often looks worse in the colder months. So if you're starting to notice it a bit more at the moment, it's likely because of the dry weather.
If it bothers you, there are solutions that can help ease the appearance—some more complicated and intense than others. Here, what you can do to help the skin on your neck and chest right now:
Find a high-quality body lotion you love—and get liberal with application.
Listen, I get it: The neck can be something of a no man's land of skin care. I write about beauty for living, and even I neglect the area! When applying facial creams and serums, I often forget to spread the formulas past my chin. Not to mention, facial products are often pricey: I can understand why people are stingy with the surface area of application. But your neck and chest need hydration, according to board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, M.D.: "Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize—this can improve the appearance."
So if you're reluctant to use your precious face creams (or aren't interested in investing in an entirely new product category, the neck cream), a simple solution is to just be more thoughtful about your body lotion application.
Pick a high-quality, hydrating formula that can strengthen the skin barrier, feed the skin antioxidants (to help fight free radical damage and support the collagen layer), and is safe for sensitive skin. mindbodygreen's postbiotic body lotion uses biome-friendly actives, antioxidants like CoQ10 and watermelon extracts, plant oils like oat and moringa, and hydrating botanicals like aloe and coconut oil. Sometimes the easiest solution is the most effective solution.
Encourage collagen production & protect your existing collagen.
Because collagen loss is a major cause of crepey skin, you should try to optimize your production. Of course, collagen decline is a natural part of aging, but you can support your natural levels with a few easy skin care tweaks.
The first is to protect what you've got: Using topical antioxidants can neutralize free radicals that damage collagen. You can also take it a step further by using topical vitamin C and E, which are vital parts of the collagen synthesis process.
Going internal can also enhance natural collagen levels: Collagen supplements are made up of collagen peptides, which can be absorbed by the body and used to enhance your own collagen production. This, research shows, can improve your skin's overall appearance1, dermal density, elasticity, and hydration. Check out our favorite collagen supplements here.
Gently exfoliate—and really, I can't stress enough the gentle part.
Exfoliation offers a quick boost to skin's appearance: "Using an exfoliant will improve the appearance of crepey skin quickly," says King.
However, please remember that the skin on the neck is some of the thinnest and most sensitive. Often folks get the instructions to exfoliate and will find the strongest AHA serum they can find and apply it nightly. Unless you want an irritated neck, this isn't the move. Instead, use gentle chemical exfoliators like lactic acid, mandelic acid, and PHAs. These will all buff away excess dead skin cells without stripping the delicate skin barrier of the area. And always hydrate after you exfoliate—hydration is the priority in this area.
Cover up, and on the days you don't: Wear sunscreen. Oh, please wear sunscreen.
Other than the face and hands, the neck and chest is one of the most exposed areas—making it particularly susceptible to sun damage. Yet people often forget to wear sunscreen south of the chin.
In fact, one viral story showed just how damaging unprotected sun exposure can be for the neck. Recently the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology released a case study about a 92-year-old woman's sunscreen habits: notably how she rarely applied sunscreen to her neck, and the appearance of the two areas was quite dramatic.
While getting time outdoors in the sun is important for mental health, you should always protect your skin with sunscreen or clothing to reduce the chance of UV damage.
Professional treatments. They're pricey, but they're effective.
There are plenty of treatments you can do in the comfort of your own home that are relatively inexpensive. However, if you're serious about tending to the area, professional-grade services do exist.
On the lower end of the spectrum, many estheticans will do neck and chest add-ons to regular facials. You can also get microneedling and skin toning done in the area. Finally, you can opt for lasers as an in-office procedure done by a dermatologist—these can be uncomfortable and cause downtime, but they will greatly improve the appearance of your skin.
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.