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Don't neglect your neck

Scraggy necks are ugly – and now's the time to act

12 APRIL 2011

It's human nature to leave things till the last minute, to forget about taking care of our health until the day we feel sick, and to forget about skin ageing until it starts to become a problem. And that's nowhere more true than with our necks, which get neglected as they seem to fall into a kind of no-man's land between body and face when it comes to beauty routines.

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This is particularly problematic as the skin on the neck area is delicate. It has fewer sebaceous glands meaning that it dehydrates easily, a lower level of fatty tissue makes it thinner, and a lower density of connective fibre makes it particularly prone to sagging. So, before it gets too late and the scragginess begins to show, take some notice of your neck:

  • Basic care: your face doesn't stop at the jaw line – and nor should your beauty routine. Make up removal, pH balancing tonics and moisturising are all part of the normal routine for your face, so all you need to do is extend all these treatments a little lower. And if you use a face mask, remember that it, too, should be spread down to your neck and towards your cleavage to feed and nourish these delicate – and visible – areas.
  • It's later than you think: just as the delicate area around the eyes begins to show signs of age early on – whether you call them laughter lines or crows feet, they appear far sooner than you'd expect – the skin of your neck may well begin to sag and show the passage of time before you're ready to accept that you're ageing. Keep the unwelcome signs at bay with firming creams or lotions with a revitalising or 'lifting' effect: a little TLC can go a long way.
  • Posture matters! One of the best ways to avoid premature neck wrinkles is by watching your posture. If you spend long hours in front of a computer, make sure your screen is at the correct height. And try and avoid holding your phone by hunching your shoulder up to leave your hands free. Be careful and choose the right type of pillow: if you sleep on one side, choose one that's relatively hard and thick and that compensates for the distance between shoulders and head; if you sleep on your back, you'll do better with a lower pillow. The important thing is not to put unnecessary strain on the neck and to maintain the fluidity of the line of the neck to the spine.
  • Surgery secrets: In general, surgeons treat the neck and the face together, but increasingly, women are choosing a mini-lift that only affects the lower third of the face, specifically, the jaw and the neck. This corrects sagging, and firms the shape of the face without affecting the most significant features such as eyes, nose and mouth. Best done before the signs of age are too obvious – usually between the ages of 45 and 50, the surgery is considered more a question of 'tweaking' than a major intervention. From a technical standpoint, it is a simple procedure, but it isn't cheap, and the resulting bruising and swelling will last for at least ten days. The end result is actually most appreciated from the third of fourth month after the operation when the shape of the face will be noticeably firmer.

 

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