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How old is your neck?

Date
The neck of time ... Angelina Jolie's long neck is a sign of youth.

The neck of time ... Angelina Jolie's long neck is a sign of youth.

The cold weather's arrived and women of a certain age are cheering. Turtlenecks, according to Harper's Bazaar Australia (surely we call them polonecks?), are ''in'' this season and, as for every winter, they are a godsend because they cover up the turtle necks of 40-plus ladies. The tedious truth is that the necks and decolletage (surely we call them chests?) become pretty rough. For years they've been sun-exposed and overlooked and then one day we wake up and they've aged before our faces have. Before our very eyes. Young women take heed and read on. The neck becomes a giveaway that neither Botox nor surgery can remedy.
 
''Women are mostly concerned with the face so their skin care regime stops there,'' says Sue Dann of Omniderm skincare distributor. ''Neck, decolletage and the hands often betray a person's true age.'' But is covering them up the answer? Edith Head, the legendary costumier of the golden era of Hollywood, mused that necks seem to shorten with age as the chin line becomes heavier. A woman basically loses her long and, if so blessed, swanlike neck, becoming a squat head on shoulders, like a child's drawing. Polonecks and high oriental collars can make it seem as if there's no neck at all. The most flattering necklines to women no longer in the blush of youth are those that stay away from the neck. What the neck needs is some proper attention and skincare.

''Prevention is better than cure, so it is wise to start at the same time as the general skincare regime,'' says Dann. ''Once the signs of premature ageing of the neck and decolletage have set in, they are extremely hard to treat.'' Signs of premature ageing on the neck are loose skin (turkey neck), lines and sagging skin. Unless the decolletage is protected it will show the common signs of sun damage - the V-shape of skin discolouration, redness and freckles.
 
Refreshingly Dann - who distributes Alex Cosmetics and Herbal Aktiv Peel among other brands - says that the same cream that is used on the face can be used to protect the fine skin of the neck. ''Most formulators produce a special cream for the breast and décolletage area; it is generally richer than a face cream. The ingredient Kigelia Africana has been found to be particularly suitable for firming the skin in this area.''

Every beauty company has a dedicated neck cream. These tend to be pricier than their skin creams. I've tried a few but find I get through the jar so quickly they can be unsustainable. The chest area is larger than the face! The ones I like include Burt's Bees Naturally Ageless Intensive Repairing Serum ($44.95) - and yes it is a serum not just for necks; Dr Spiller Neck and Decollete Cream ($114) - super rich; Clarins Super Restorative Decollete and Neck Concentrate ($120) - gel-like to take down to the shoulders; and Skeyndor Natural Defence Throat Firming Cream ($88) - replenishing.

How do you care for your neck? Have you even noticed your neck? Do you use neck creams or do you prefer to cover up when you can and save the love for your face? Do you agree that the neck is an age giveaway?

38 comments so far

  • "they are a godsend because they cover up the turtle necks of 40-plus ladies."

    Make the most of them covering your neck in your forties. A few years on from that polo necks can actually make those wattles of the turkey neck into deeply attractive (!!!) skin folds. I have thought about trying to straighten it out with loose bits attached to my ears with pegs, but worry that I might be sent home.

    Ageing's a bugger, but it sure beats the alternative, hands down.

    Oops, those hands ....

    Commenter
    bornagirl
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    April 23, 2012, 9:57AM
    • "Ageing's a bugger, but it sure beats the alternative".
      I said that to my doctor. She answered "What? Eternal youth?!"
      I had no idea you were of a certain age, bornagirl. Lol at the image of pegs on ears!

      Commenter
      Lel
      Date and time
      April 24, 2012, 7:26PM
  • I'm not sure why the neck would need a different moisturiser than the face? Why would I want to hide the 'age' of my neck? - it's the same age as the rest of me..........

    Commenter
    Jawillat
    Date and time
    April 23, 2012, 10:59AM
    • Agreed. Why should I be concerned about a body part whispering my true age to the onlookers! Hey - it wasn't easy - but I got here. I celebrate 51 years on this Earth.

      Commenter
      GobbleGobble
      Date and time
      April 24, 2012, 10:11AM
  • Not all of us 40 plus ladies have turkey necks. I'm 46 and my neck is a smooth as it was when I was in my 20s. I have my mother to thank for that.

    From the time I was about 15, she always insisted on my skincare routine taking into account my neck, nape, upper back and shoulders and decolletage. So I have moisturised those parts and my face twice a day ever since then. She also insisted I moisturise my hands every time I washed them. Thankfully, my hands look the same as in my 20s too.

    It was a pain to do until I reached about 30 and then I realised how right she was to insist on the extended face and hand care. Now that I'm in my 40s, I'm even more vigilant about it. I know that some day things will start sagging but hopefully I'll be well into my 80s by then.

    There really is no substitute for starting early with a good skincare routine and sticking with it, no matter what.

    Commenter
    Audra Blue
    Location
    Brisbane
    Date and time
    April 23, 2012, 12:54PM
    • I agree, I am in my early 50s and my neck is relatively smooth from my beauty routine. There are a few fine lines but that cannot be helped. My hands are in quite good condition too, exfoliate them, put a mask on them, moisturise them.
      I have hand moisturise in my hand bag and on my desk at work.

      Add to drinking enough water to stay hydrated and not smoking.

      Commenter
      Blue
      Location
      Bondi
      Date and time
      April 24, 2012, 9:29AM
    • With all respect, I think that's a load of rubbish. I, like you, am 47, and have smooth, blemish free skin on my neck, decolletage, and hands. The only cream I ever apply to those areas is sunscreen, and cheap moisturiser for hands. Mum also has amazing skin at 81. Truth is, I think sun avoidance, good diet and genes are the answer, not creams.

      Commenter
      Dontwasteyourmoney
      Date and time
      April 24, 2012, 9:44AM
    • Dontwasteyourmoney, I also stay out of the sun and I don't wear sunscreen. I like getting my Vitamin D naturally. I'm not the outdoorsy type or a beachgoer and sunscreen makes my skin greasy and prone to breakouts. I also eat well, drink lots of water and get moderate exercise. Plus no smoking, drinking or illicit drugs also helps. Sure it's a vanilla lifestyle but I'm happy about it. I prefer looking healthy to filling my body with rubbish any day.

      It's not all down to the skincare routine but every little bit helps and starting early is the key.

      Commenter
      Audra Blue
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      April 24, 2012, 12:43PM
    • My neck and chest seems to be turning into my mothers. The same speckled texture and loosening skin. She used many, many creams and quite peculiar massaging techniques (flapping the back of hands in a circular motion under her chin) and I have never used anything. Its all in the genes methinks.

      I was also blessed with a short neck to begin with. By the time I'm 90 I will just be two eyes on saggy 'decolletage' .

      Commenter
      Bo
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      April 24, 2012, 3:46PM
  • Well timed article, I'm 49 this year & while my face & hands could pass for 10 years younger after looking after them religiously since my early teens, sadly the neck & decollette are starting to look my age.

    I've looked after it with skincare the past few years, the same good quality products that's kept the face youthful, but it all seemed to go pear-shaped just the past few weeks. Literally almost overnight, which has taken me by surprise - I guess years of sunbaking with baby oil as my lotion in my teens are finally catching up!

    Hopefully some TLC will keep it at early stages & not looking 10+ years older than the rest of me down the track. If you're young & reading this, make sure you give that area daily TLC - you'll be happy you did by the time you're late 40's!

    Commenter
    Linda
    Location
    Perth
    Date and time
    April 23, 2012, 5:05PM

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