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We Asked Dermatologists If Neck Creams Actually Work

A woman applies a neck serum, a bottle of vitamin c serum sits among oranges, and a woman smiles as her hair blows in the sun.

The amount of skin care products on the market that claim to offer some sort of anti-aging benefit is staggering, and neck tightening is no exception. But do any of these neck “miracle” creams actually work? We asked the experts.

When it comes to signs of aging, the neck is one of the first areas in which they tend to appear. Many skin care brands claim their product can fix this, but can they? We spoke with dermatologists, Dr. Hadley King, and Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital, to find out.

Does Your Neck Age Differently Than Your Face?

A woman's hair blows in the wind, and a tube of sunscreen sits on top of a bit of spread sunscreen.

While you might think skin is just skin, it’s not. The skin on your neck is different in some ways from the skin on your face, and therefore, has its own needs. Because the skin on your neck is thinner and more sensitive than that on your face, you’ll likely start to notice signs of aging much sooner in that area.

“Neck sagging occurs when collagen and elastic fibers in the skin weaken with age,” Zeichner said. “When the foundation of the skin becomes thinner and the skin doesn’t snap back as easily as it used to, it leads to loose skin, sagging, and jowls.”

King explained that there’s also little subcutaneous skin around the neck, so volume loss and skin loosening are far more obvious. Because there are also fewer active oil glands in the neck, this could make signs of aging more apparent, as well.

Both dermatologists also pointed to sun exposure as another major problem. The neck is often left uncovered and people also tend to skip it when applying sunscreen, which could lead to far more sun damage on your neck than your face.

EltaMD UV Replenish Daily Face Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 Protection

A must when it comes to preventing signs of anti-aging.

Do Neck Creams Actually Work?

A woman applies serum to her neck, and another woman holds up a bottle of serum.

If you’ve been looking for a product to rejuvenate the skin on your neck, you’ve probably been overwhelmed by the sheer number of them. If you’ve been unimpressed by the results, though, you might not want to give up just yet. Both Zeichner and King said neck creams do, in fact, serve a purpose.

Again, because the skin of the neck is thinner and contains fewer oil glands, it could be far more sensitive and easily irritated. The formulas in the creams and serums that work on your face might not be best for your neck.

You’ll particularly want to look for lower percentages of ingredients like retinol and alpha-hydroxy acids. King recommended Dermalogica’s Neck Fit Contour Serum for this reason. Instead of retinol, it contains rye seed extract and rambutan corilagin, which will be less irritating to your skin.

Dermalogica Neck Fit Contour Serum

Contains ingedients that are less likely to irritate your skin.

Neck creams also have targeted goals.

“Like the creams on your face, neck creams serve a similar function,” Zeichner said. “They can help protect and strengthen the skin to minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and improve sagging.”

What to Look for in a Neck Cream

Two neck creams sit together on a counter.
Revision Skincare

When it comes to neck creams, there are specific ingredients you should look for to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

Collagen is the protein in your skin that provides support, so stimulating it can help improve neck sagging. Zeichner advised looking for products that contain ingredients designed to stimulate collagen, such as retinol (but only if it doesn’t irritate your skin), peptides, and growth factors.

In addition to sun protection, retinoids, anti-aging peptides, and niacinamide, King said moisturizing ingredients are a must, as they support the skin barrier and lock in hydration.

She cited both Revision Skincare’s Nectifirm and Nectifirm Advanced as excellent products for firming the appearance of the skin on your neck. In addition to having the proper ingredients, it can reduce “crepey” looking skin, fine lines, and wrinkles on your neck. Plus, it’s backed by research.

“Ninety-eight percent of clinical study participants experienced a more lifted appearance of the neck after 12 weeks of use,” King said.

Revision Skincare Nectifirm Advanced Neck Firming Cream

Dermatologist-recommended thanks to its peptides and antioxidants.

Which Facial Skin Care Should You Also Use on Your Neck?

A bottle of serum sits among oranges, and a group of skin care sits together on a counter.
Bliss/IT Cosmetics

Of course, you might already be using many of the ingredients King and Zeichner cited as good for your neck on your face. So, can you just use those same products on your neck? According to Zeichner, you can, but some are better at different times of the day.

“When I design a routine, I recommend protection and prevention of damage in the morning,” Zeichner said. “This means a vitamin C-containing antioxidant serum along with sunscreen. In the evening, I have my patients apply a moisturizer and collagen-stimulating ingredient to repair damage from the day.”

If you aren’t already using a vitamin C serum, now’s the time to start! And, of course, you’ll want to make sure you always apply SPF to your neck and chest, as well—not just your face. As for that collagen-stimulating ingredient, retinol is a good option.

King advised that any non-irritating skin products you use on yuor face can be brought down to your neck, including niacinamide, peptides, antioxidants, and growth factors.

IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Neck Cream

Keep your neck moisturized with this hyaluronic acid-infused cream.

However, keep in mind that the skin on your neck could be far more sensitive than your face. This is why King recommended you start with lower-strength ingredients first, and then ease into using retinol and vitamin C on your neck.

Start by applying those ingredients only once or twice a week, and then work your way up if no irritation occurs.

In-Office Neck Treatments

Those who are looking to go a step further to minimize or prevent neck aging can also opt for in-office treatments. While these treatments will be a bit more costly, they’re also incredibly effective.

Both Zeichner and King recommend micro-needling with radiofrequency. During this procedure, needles are used to create controlled wounds in the skin, while radiofrequency is delivered to the deeper layers, increasing collagen production.

King added that other procedures, like chemical peels, laser resurfacing, and ultrasound, can also be effective. Schedule an appointment with your dermatologist to discuss which option would be best for you.

Tired of wasting money on neck creams that don’t work? We asked the experts which brands actually do produce results, which ingredients to look for, and what other steps you can take to prevent signs of aging in your neck.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is the Editor In Chief of LifeSavvy. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer with a focus on beauty and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Allure, and Hello Giggles. Read Full Bio »
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