We hate to break it to you, but if your skin care stops at your jaw, you’re doing it wrong. Just south of your face, your delicate neck and décolleté lie just as exposed to UV rays, pollution and other external aggressors that ultimately have an aging effect on the skin. Because the skin of these areas is thinner than that of the face, they are even more prone to dryness, pigmentation, wrinkles and more. To defend against common concerns like tech neck lines, turkey neck and a sagging jawline, we’ve set out to find the the best neck cream you can incorporate into your skin care routine.
“Whether you are already seeing signs of aging or not, use skin care on your neck daily,” board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dr. Loretta skin care Dr. Loretta Ciraldo says. “I find that neck skin care is too often overlooked with the net effect being that for many of us our necks show our age before most of the face (with the exception of thin eye skin which is often the first to show visible unwanted aging changes).”
Thankfully, maintaining a skin care routine for your neck is pretty straightforward and only requires one or two products. Because the skin on the neck and décolletage is thin, it can’t take as much product layering as your face, so you should be set with a nourishing neck cream to use twice a day — once in the morning, once at night — plus an SPF for the daytime.
Ciraldo says to look for products that have glycerin, peptides and botanical antioxidants. Glycerin “is great for all-day moisture,” while peptides assist with filling fine lines and wrinkles (which manifest as tech neck) and antioxidants support collagen, therefore tackling the tightening and toning of the area. Other dermatologist-approved ingredients that help maintain a youthful-looking neck include niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and retinoids.
New York dermatologist Dr. Hadley King also stresses that you should never forget your SPF. “Sunscreen will be the most effective ingredient over time,” she says. Dr. Caroline Robinson, a Chicago-based dermatologist, agrees with King, noting, “The most common pitfall I see with the neck and décolleté area is lack of consistency with sunscreen application. It is important to incorporate treatment products but arguably more important to start early with protecting the area with SPF.”
And while neck cream can be used to prevent and reverse signs of aging, the dermatologists we spoke to acknowledged that skin care can only go so far. Especially when those with mature skin are looking to treat severe skin sagging and wrinkles, a more aggressive treatment — such as injectables, non-invasive tightening procedures and surgery options — might be necessary depending on the desired results.
In the meantime, though, adding a neck cream to your regimen can give you a boost towards having healthier skin all over. Here, six skin care experts share their top recommendations for neck creams, serums and more formulated specifically to treat the delicate décolletage.
$142 at Dermstore
A product that three experts we consulted recommended, the Nectifirm Advanced smooths fine lines and wrinkles while boosting firmness of the neck and décolletage. Robinson says that the Nectifirm Advanced “combats the visible signs of moderate to advanced aging on the neck and décolletage by utilizing eight different peptides and Smart Antioxidant Technology.” Fellow dermatologist King also gives it her stamp of approval, and Face Haus lead esthetician Cassidy Doucette says it even has a fat-shrinking effect under the chin.
$55 at Dr. Loretta
“I apply our Dr. Loretta Tightening Detox Mask to my neck and leave it on all day long,” Ciraldo, the line’s founder, shares. “It also serves as a sleep mask for the face and neck, but I like it on my neck during waking hours!” The award-winning, clinically tested gel proved to increase skin’s elasticity by 33% after four weeks. With an average testing group age of 54, participants saw lessened lines and wrinkles and improved skin elasticity.
$94 at Dermstore
In addition to the Nectifirm Advanced, the original Nectifirm is one of King’s top picks because of its antioxidant-, peptide- and plant extract-packed formula. According to the dermatologist, these ingredients “help the skin appear more firm and lifted, reduce the appearance of rough and crepey skin and decrease the look of fine lines and wrinkles.”
$24.99 at Target
This affordable cream aims to create a lifted appearance on the face and neck with firming peptides, hydrating hyaluronic acid and brightening vitamin C. The fragrance-free formula is safe for sensitive skin and it also has SPF to follow the dermatologists’ advice to protect your neck from sun exposure too.
$29.99 $27.23 at Amazon
Ciraldo likes this multipurpose cream for a daytime option that has moisturizing glycerin, is non-comedogenic and offers sun protection. “It is a very nice drugstore product since it calls out using SPF on our necks as well as our faces,” she shares.
From $15 at Sephora
This neck cream is another one of Ciraldo’s picks due to its consumer testing in which 90% of participants reported neck tightening effects and a lessening of lines and wrinkles after eight weeks’ use.
$105 at Amazon
IS Clinical is a brand loved by dermatologists and estheticians. Its hyaluronic acid-packed Neckperfect Complex is made for smoothing and sculpting the neck area so skin stays firm and hydrated.
$126 at Dermstore
This neck cream contains anti-aging powerhouse retinol and a tripeptide concentrate that work to smooth those deep-set horizontal lines on the neck and other signs of aging skin. Doucette recommends it because the retinol is gentle enough for daily use on the delicate neck area.
$95 at Sephora
Gua sha facial tools went viral for their ability to de-puff and sculpt the face and neck through strategic lymphatic drainage techniques, so it makes sense that a high-performing facial cream be coupled with the beauty stone. Caffeine, hyaluronic acid and glycerin help wake up and hydrate the neck and décolleté in this neck cream that simultaneously provides lubrication to glide your gua sha tool over.
$125 at Credo Beauty
“The Advanced Response Complex is a nice option that’s formulated with babassu oil, shea butter, fatty acids, fatty alcohols, chia seed oil, jojoba seed oil, sunflower seed oil and safflower seed oil,” King shares. “It’s very moisturizing and also rich in antioxidants and peptides.” All of those elements work together to firm the skin, help with elasticity and brighten the complexion.
$89 at Ulta
Robinson suggests this neck cream that features four powerhouse ingredients — peptides, alpha lipoic acid, vitamin B3 and vitamin C ester — for tightening and color correcting. “These ingredients work together to address many of the signs of skin aging including laxity, discoloration and lines,” she says. “All four ingredients work to visibly improve the thickness and firmness of the skin by supporting rejuvenation of collagen that has been damaged and lost over time.”
From $49.50 at Ulta
It’s in the name — restore confidence with this face cream that boosts hydration, reduces fine lines and leaves skin soft and supple. It works for all-over application on the face, neck and décolletage, but is especially a good choice for the last two thanks to its ceramides, peptides and hyaluronic acid.
$130 at QVC
According to Doucette, this clinical-grade cream “does double-duty with active peptides suitable for the face, neck and hands.”
$85 at Dermstore
“I also like Dermalogica’s recently launched Neck Fit Contour Serum for the neck and décolletage,” King says. “It contains antioxidants and anti-aging peptides, as well as rambutan extract and a resurrection plant-inspired polysaccharide to strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier, smooth and tighten.”
$92 at Sephora
Good for treating dry, crepey skin, this lightweight neck cream helps keep the area smooth and tight with nourishing ingredients like sunflower seed oil, shea butter and glycerin.
$40 at L’Occitane
We already know that shea butter is a great moisturizer for the body, and its nourishing ability works just as well for the neck. Morariu suggests pure, organic shea butter for “intensive moisture care.”
$9.99 at Amazon
Morariu says you can also keep it simple with an organic rosehip seed oil. Because it contains trans-retinoic acid and a number of antioxidants, it helps with reducing wrinkles and supporting cell turnover.
$108 at Dermstore
Tracie Martyn co-founder and CEO Marius Morariu says that the celebrity-loved spa and brand’s hydrating and firming Neck and Body Serum “has an orchestra of ingredients that don’t just target the neck but also help to define the jawline and contour other areas.” At the top of this list is pumpkin seed extract, which the nutritionist-turned-skin-care-leader loves for its superfood qualities. “Pumpkin seeds are healthy to eat, but who knew they contain a protein that helps to slow down the breakdown of your collagen and therefore prevent your neck from becoming a challenge to your confidence?” Morariu says. “Basically studies suggest that this ingredient can inhibit collagenases and therefore preserve the elasticity you have or as much as possible of it.”
$117 at FormRX
Formulated by a plastic surgeon who focuses his practice on the face and neck, Dr. P Daniel Ward’s FormRX Neck Define Cream features a blend of tetrapeptides to moisturize and tighten the neck. It also contains vitamin E and gentle oils to protect the moisture barrier of the neck tissue, to help lessen a lax appearance. Due to his background in plastic surgery, Ward is honest in regards to people’s expectations about the efficacy of neck creams: “It will definitely improve the treated area, but not in a dramatic, surgical-type result,” Ward says. “Whatever signs of aging in the neck that are related to skin health and hydration will be improved by a neck cream. More severe deformities, such as those related to the platysma muscle, are unlikely to respond well to topical treatments.”
$400 at Bloomingdales
Formulated specifically for the delicate skin of the neck and décolletage, which is more susceptible to pigmentation and dehydration, this serum is saturated with a trio of antioxidants, niacinamide and progeline, a peptide made up of three amino acids that decreases a biological marker of aging, called progerin synthesis, and improves the appearance of wrinkles.
$60 at Nordstrom
Formulated with peptides and niacinamide, ingredients our derms all told us to look out for, this serum is a great lighter alternative to a neck cream.