Unfortunately, wrinkles are a common occurrence as we age. Many people understandably focus on facial wrinkles – crow’s feet under the eyes and lines around the mouth. But the delicate tissues that make up your neck, often called the décolletage, are a place where wrinkles can also frequently appear.
Your neckline can give away your age or even contribute to a look of premature aging. These signs of aging around the neck are due to fat loss or redistribution, excess skin, and gravity slowly pulling down this thin tissue (called ptosis).*
So let’s explore together the causes of these neck wrinkles, and what you can do about them to maintain your youthful glow.
Causes of Neck Wrinkles
There are both internal and external factors that can cause neck wrinkles. Losing collagen and elastin from your skin is a common internal reason, while sun exposure is a common external reason. In recent years a mechanical cause of neck wrinkles is becoming more prevalent, a phenomenon which has been aptly dubbed “Tech Neck.” More on this in a moment.
Loss of Elasticity
Collagen and elastin are the proteins that give your skin its structure, strength, and fullness. These dense fibers hold up your cheekbones, fill your lips, and create your skin’s youthful plumpness.*
Unfortunately, with age and exposure to free radicals, your body won’t make as much collagen as it once did, leaving it struggling to keep up with the amount of collagen needed to maintain healthy, youthful-looking skin.*
With decreasing amounts of these structural proteins, wrinkles, sagging, and loose skin become more pronounced. Fine lines develop due to the lack of plumpness, and skin folds are created due to a loss of structure because of inadequate amounts of collagen.* This loss of elasticity (the ability to stretch and flex), impacts the skin of the neck even more than the face, leaving you with thin, saggy, and loose skin around the neck area.*
Although we all enjoy a day at the beach or a walk in the park, excess sun exposure can speed up age-related skin changes and neck wrinkles. Most people remember to put sunscreen on their face, but the neck is often neglected when it comes to sun protection.
Sun exposure increases age appearance, causes pigment changes, and increases wrinkle formation.* In fact, too much exposure to UV rays from the sun is the #1 cause of early wrinkle development. This is because UV rays destroy collagen and elastin within your skin, resulting in loose, sagging skin.*
Unless you are living your life in a bubble, it’s impossible to avoid the impact that the environment has on your skin.
After sun exposure, the two most common environmental factors that cause neck wrinkle formation are air pollution and cigarette smoke.*
Air pollution causes inflammation in the skin and creates an imbalance of free radicals.* This can cause vitamin C and E to become depleted, causing further age-related changes to occur. Air pollution also reduces how well your skin acts as a protective barrier, allowing for an increase of oxidative stress throughout your body to occur.*
Polluted air comes from traffic, manufacturing, agriculture, and even cooking.* It’s difficult to completely avoid air pollution, but it’s important to recognize the role it can plan in your skin’s aging and neck wrinkle formation so you can take daily steps to combat its affects.
Tech Neck (or Text Neck) is a term that is gaining attention in our hyper digital world. There have been several studies highlighting the rise in neck pain thanks to the use of mobile devices.* The pain is caused by looking down – or having the neck in a flexed position – at your phone, tablet, or computer for long periods.*
In addition to neck pain, tech neck can also contribute to horizontal neck wrinkles. With frequent and continuous movement, fine lines and wrinkles can develop.* This repeated motion is similar to why your face is most affected by wrinkles – you move your face in specific movements (smiling, squinting, talking, laughing) all day long, resulting in the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.*
Since these repetitive motions can cause wrinkles, frequently looking down at your phone, as when you are texting, can increase your chances of developing horizontal neck wrinkles.
What You Can Do to Reduce Your Neck Wrinkles
While preventing all neck wrinkles may not be possible, there are things you can do to reduce and slow down the development of neck wrinkles. Protecting your neck from the sun by wearing sunscreen and wide brim hats are easy ways to decrease your UV exposure.*
Avoiding irritants like air pollution and cigarette smoke can help reduce how quickly your collagen breaks down.* And limiting your time looking down at your phone may help reduce wrinkles caused by tech neck. Making sure your phone or other electronic devices are at eye level can keep you from flexing your neck (and may help with neck pain too).
And to support your skin’s vital need for both collagen and elastin from within, I recommend my new Collagen Renewal Matrix powder which is also enhanced with ceramides to promote proper hydration throughout all three layers of your skin.