You don’t need us to tell you we’re spending more times on our phones and laptops – you’ve probably already been screen time shamed by the weekly screen time notification from Apple. The effect of the constant looking down is having an impact on our necks, resulting in the appearance or deepening of lines, creases and sagging, known as 'tech neck'. According to skincare brand Prai, 30 per cent of women believe they’re suffering from tech-neck, with almost a quarter believing that our necks have aged noticeably due to looking at our phones. Thanks to video calls, which draw attention to the lower face (due to the angle our laptops) 19 per cent of us are more conscious of the way our neck looks.
Quite apart from increased screen use, our neck and chest are already prone to ageing faster than the rest of our skin. “The neck area ages differently to the face due to its anatomy and constant movement,” confirms Dr Jonquille Chantrey, an aesthetic doctor who works with Skinceuticals The skincare brand reports that 35 per cent of customers are as concerned about their neck ageing as they are about crow’s feet. “Lower lipid levels, higher elasticity, stretch and slower cell turnover near the neck means is often the first area to show signs of ageing. This is further complicated by photo-ageing and thinner and easily sensitised skin,” Dr Chantrey continues.
One last reason the neck ages more quickly is the lack of sebaceous glands to producing oil. "Sebum is very helpful in minimising signs of ageing – oilier skin types will usually have less fine lines and wrinkles than those with dry skin types," says aesthetician Dr Sophie Shotter of the Illuminate Skin Clinic in Kent.
Clinics are seeing a rise in requests for neck treatments since the pandemic as Dr Tatiana Lapa, founder of Dr Tatiana Medical Skin Clinic in London tells us: “We are seeing around 25 per cent increase interest in neck treatments and I believe this is because people are spending more time looking at themselves on screens, for example during video calls." In a recent poll conducted by the clinic 40 per cent listed video calls as one of the reasons they felt self-conscious about an aspect of their appearance.
With all of this in mind, it's clear we need a specialist neck cream to nourish the delicate skin."With neck and décolletage products it's less to do with the ingredients being specific for the areas and more about the products having been specifically formulated taking into account the delicate skin of these areas so that the ingredients and formulations are not too harsh, potent or aggressive," explains Dr Sophie Shotter. "So for instance, it might have more peptides and less retinol in the formulation than a face cream.”
We scoured the virtual shelves for the créme de la créme of neck creams to help care for the area, plus we round up the in-clinic option to breathe new life into your neck so it's like you've never even heard of a Zoom call...
The best neck creams to buy for tech neck
Launched last week Dermalogica calls this gel serum ‘your neck’s best personal trainer’. It has a roll-on applicator and the potion inside immediately tightens skin and tones it over time, for a more visibly lifted and sculpted appearance. You apply it then stay still for a few seconds while it dries to create an invisible mesh to provide an immediate lifting and tightening effect. It also has long term benefits, smoothing fine lines and protect skin against pollution, which can lead to premature skin ageing. It utilises peptides too in the form of palmitoyl tripeptide-42, which has retinol-like results (think plump and line-free) without the potential for irritation.
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Prai aren’t known as the neck-sperts for nothing. This cream is a global bestseller (one sells worldwide every 60 seconds) with website sales doubling all thanks to this potent pot. Ingredients include sepilift DPHPTM (long name, lots of powers) to help restore elasticity and support the skin’s collagen production, hyaluronic acid and shea butter to effectively hydrate and lock in moisture, with mulberry, saxifrage and grapeseed extract to brighten and diminish the discolouration of age spots as well as vitamins A, E and F to help protect and rejuvenate. It requires minimal rubbing (to protect the delicate skin) and in consumer studies, 97 per cent of people said lines and wrinkles appeared reduced.
Such is the popularity that an Ageless Throat and Décolletage Serum , £30 and an Ageless Throat and Décolletage Night Creme , £35, followed.
Created by Swiss physician Dr Levy, this is eye-wateringly expensive but it does feel like pure luxury when you apply it, gliding onto the neck and dec for an opulent ritual. Dr Levy's products have serious science backing to warrant the price tag, made with ingredients that it stimulates dermal skin cells to regenerate and keep the skin looking young. For this cream, the brand concocted StressCellRepair complex to accelerate the cells’ repair process, refining the skin texture and making it extra radiant. Dr Levy’s Eye Booster Concentrate , £165, won gold in the Age Well category in our 2020 Beauty and Wellness Awards and we love this just as much.
, £229 for 50ml
This has a combination of proven effective ingredients to back up the price point - including vitamin C and peptides which work hard to fill in wrinkles and fine lines, while hydrating skin to re-plump and reduce giveaways of time spent staring at our phones. Valmont is a Swiss brand and while we can't get to the Alps right now, this uses Switzerland's natural ingredients along with science-backed research to create products that do what they say on the (stylish) tin.
D’Alchemy Neck & Décolletage Wrinkle Refill, £40 for 50ml
This delicately floral/herbal scented cream absorbs quickly, giving a moisturising feel to crepey skin, promising to reduce the appearance of lines in the long term and instantly fill in wrinkles that are there for an immediate filled-in, plumper look. It brightens hyperpigmentation too and contains natural antioxidants to protect from free radicals. Electric daisy extract inhibits muscle contractions with a power comparable to botulinum toxin for a natural take on firming powers.
To prevent the neck ageing we need to stimulate the dermis through collagen preservation and stimulation so retinol can be helpful, but as Dr Sophie pointed out, but it can be difficult to find topical retinol that can be tolerated on the thin neck skin. This serum has been designed for precisely that. It has a low-ish 0.2 per cent concentration of pure reitnol with a slow-release delivery to make it as effective as possible.
, £49 for 75ml
No7’s neck serum addresses five signs of ageing for a younger-looking face and neck in just two weeks, claim the brand. Formulated for mature skin as part of the Restore and Renew range which targets ageing skin, this firms, evens, brightens and lifts. It includes collagen encouraging peptide Matrixyl 3000+ as well as hyaluronic acid for hydration.
This contraption doesn't offer long term results, but for a big event (sorry, what?) this snatches your jawline in temporarily. The lime green serum-soaked mask hooks around your ears, under your chin with hydrating to encourage a listen look and niacinamide working hard to firm up the skin.
The Beckhams have posted selfies wearing 111 Skin's Black Diamond face mask and eye gels and this 'neck and dec' duo comes as part of the brand's anti-ageing Black Diamond range. The gel is cooling and refreshing with peptides to firm and tighten. As with all 111Skin masks, the pouch is very generous with product with plenty left over to apply afterwards. Beautifully hydrating, this is a real treat that also brings noticeable results.
Best clinic treatments for tech-neck
If you are interested in more powerful in-clinic treatments, there are increasingly good options with radiofrequency being a star player.
Profound: radiofrequency and microneedling for sagging jowls and volume loss
This brand new device which combines radiofrequency and microneeding in one to watch for its powerful results. Tiny needles penetrate the skin before a burst of radiofrequency energy is applied. On the lower face it claims to be equivalent to a third of a facelift. It's been shown to produce up to five times more elastin, twice as much collagen as well as boosting your own ability to make hyaluronic acid.
The treatment takes between one and two hours - and as you'd expect from something that promises big results it demands local anaesthetic injections. The device is moved across the face and neck to target the sagging areas. You should see a difference in six weeks but the results are at their best six months later, lasting up to three years. You’ll feel mild discomfort for a few days after the treatment and there will be redness. Healing taking five to seven days in total.
From April Dr Sophie Shotter will be combining Profound treatments with filler for a treatment she calls Tri-Lift. This will remodel the skin, resulting in a non-surgical facelift.
It costs £2,800 for Profound on the face and neck, plus £500+ for filler when Tri-Lift launches in April 2021. Available at The Illuminate Skin Clinic.
Morpheus 8: radiofrequency and microneedling for a sagging neck
As with Profound, Morpheus 8 is a power couple treatment of microneedling and radiofrequency in one, designed to tighten, lift and contour the skin, but it's less intense and thus doesn't need anaesthetic, just a numbing cream. “I’ve seen excellent results for neck rejuvenation using Morpheus8,” says Dr Tatiana Lapa. “Over a course of three sessions, this treatment lifts, firms and hydrates the skin of the neck. One of the reasons why Morpheus8 is particularly successful for the neck is that it treats the full thickness of the skin and also underlying fat to achieve a significant lifting and firming result. Unlike other treatments such as botulinum toxin or dermal fillers, Morpheus8 stimulates natural collagen, elastin and hydration, without adding any weight or volume to the neck. The results are natural and typically last for several years.”
At the Dr Tatiana Aesthetic Dermatology Clinic , Devonshire Place, London, Morpheus8 starts from £500.
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Thermage and Facetite: radiofrequency treatments for the neck:
Cosmetic surgeon Dr Angelica Kavouni of London’s Ion Kavouni clinic recommends radiofrequency treatment Thermage for the neck and jawline area, priced at £2,000 per session. “Thermage aims to tighten the lower face and neck, as well as tone and improve skin elasticity in the long term.”
“Thermage works by transmitting radio frequencies deep into the dermis, heating up the collagen network which results in the tightening of the skin,” Dr Kavouni explains. “Over the following few months, this kick-starts the growth of new collagen resulting in a tighter, smoother skin and a more youthful appearance."
Another radiofrequency treatment said to be great for the neckline is FaceTite Facial Tightening and Lifting, from £5,000 per area with a downtime of between seven and ten days. “It uses radiofrequency technology via a cannula which is inserted into the skin to tighten and tone sagging areas,” says Dr Munir Somji of Dr Medi Spa. “It offers a face-lifting effect without painful surgery.”
MORE GLOSS: How radiofrequency treatments work to treat sagging skin
Thread lifts for a sagging neck
Thread lifts are one of the most requested treatments post-lockdown, according to Dr Paul Banwell of the Banwell Clinic in Sussex. The treatment involves an incision being made into the skin and then the skin being hoiked up. “With thread lifts, we can very quickly transform the jawline area without the patient having to go under the knife. We're seeing more and more patients asking for jawline enhancement to treat problems such as ‘tech-neck.”
“Thread lifts work by inserting small threads under the skin which we then gently pull,” explains Dr Banwell. “This gives an instant lifting effect but also stimulates collagen production to give a long term improvement in firmness and texture of the skin.”
Thread lifts at the Banwell Clinic start from around £1,350 for the chin and jawline.
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