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By: Sarah Kester

At this stage in our beauty obsession, where Sephora doubles as our second home and finding new products reigns supreme on our to-do list, it’s no wonder most of us have a skincare routine down pat. For most, this means a step-by-step process of cleansing, toning, moisturizing, applying SPF, and then doing it all over again before bed. But what about a skincare routine for our necks? Turns out, this body part of ours is one that is often overlooked.

“Skincare products are marketed and targeted to address the face, an area where wrinkles may first appear or be more apparent. This means that many women neglect the skin of the neck,” Dr. Vischa Patel of Vischa Skincare tells Lively. “The neck and the décolletage (chest area) are an extension of the face, yet many of us forget all about it. This results in premature aging that requires action ASAP.” 

RELATED: The Easiest Ways to Upgrade Your Skincare Routine

The Causes

While sagging skin may seem to appear overnight, that’s not the case; we simply haven’t been paying enough attention to notice the signs or to reverse the factors at play that contribute to premature aging. 

According to Dr. Patel, this includes sun or ultraviolet light damage, genetics, and even the use of our electronics. “In this age of electronic devices, we are constantly looking down, as well as getting HEV light from our devices, and this chronic exposure also increases aging of the neck,” says Dr. Patel.

Although the neck and décolletage are technically an extension of the skin on the face, another attributing factor to premature aging on the neck is the fact that the skin is different and needs to be treated as such. It’s thinner and has less oil glands than the skin of the face, explains Dr. Patel. It doesn’t help either that many skincare and sun-protection products don’t promote application on the neck.

RELATED: How Knowing My Skin Type Helped Improve My Complexion

Skincare Tips

It’s never too late to start giving your neck some TLC. An easy way of doing so is to upgrade your skincare routine. 

"Apply an SPF 30 sunscreen to your neck, décolletage and face on a daily basis in the morning," says Dr. Patel. "This helps prevent photo aging." echoes Dr. Michele. S. Green, MD, adding that the key to using SPF is to reapply it every two hours to reduce sun damage from overexposure. If the damage is severe, however, she recommends treatments such as Fraxel and Alextrivantage to correct sun damage. 

Dr. Patel also warns us of a phenomenon called “tech-neck.” It’s caused by constantly looking down at your cellphone or other electronic device. “Doing so creates more lines in the front of the neck and can even affect the posture.” Yikes. While scrolling through cat memes on Instagram may feel like an essential part of your day, switch things up and get your kitten fix while sitting or standing upright.

Since the skin on the neck is more sensitive, it’s important to be gentle. Dr. Green advises to use upward, gentle strokes when cleansing. You can also try facial exercises if you’d like; just keep in mind that results may take time to show. In some cases, it may not even work for excessive sagging.