Although the neck lies bang in between the face and the chest, two areas of the upper torso that attract quite a bit of attention, it remains surprisingly ignored! Look around and you will often see women walking about with meticulously made up faces and a bare neck to go with it.
The color difference is both striking and an eyesore but makes little difference to skin health. Unfortunately, the apathy towards the humble neck goes well beyond makeup usage. Most women are diligent about face care but once again neglect their necks. In fact, this is one of the reasons why the neck often proves to be the barometer of a person’s true age.
Why You Should definitely Not Ignore The Skin On Your Neck!
What most people don’t realize is that the skin on the neck is just as thin, delicate and vulnerable to age related damage as the skin around the eyes and the mouth, leading to premature wrinkling. Plus, your neck does get moved around quite a bit, leading to increased wear and tear of the skin. If that is not bad enough, our ever increasing gadget dependence simply adds to a range of aesthetic issues, resulting in the dreaded double chin and deep neck wrinkles.
The biggest problem with neck wrinkles is that it’s very hard to treat them and undo the skin damage in this area. Actually, even for those who resort to going under a surgeon’s knife, it is difficult to completely get rid of their turkey wattle. But, like with all other skin and health concerns, timely preventative intervention can keep skin sagging and wrinkles on the neck away. However, it is crucial to start not today but right now. So, here is what you need to know about preventing and treating neck wrinkles and using essential oils to age-proof your neck.
What Are Neck Wrinkles And Sagging Skin?
While some are lucky enough to hold on to a flawless neck, read “neck band free”, right into their youth, others sport the horizontal creases that run from one side of the neck to the other since they are kids.
If you have had neck bands since you were a teen, you don’t have to be worried about these horizontal lines, as they would not qualify as wrinkles. However, if you had a smooth, line-free neck in your youth but can now see visible horizontal lines, it sure is cause for concern.
More than the neck bands/lines, the biggest dermal issue in the neck area is the actual sagging of the skin in between two lines. Also, neck wrinkles are not always horizontal. As you age and if you do nothing to control the skin damage, at some point, you will notice vertical wrinkles in the center of the neck. There will be significant skin sagging and deep lines that run parallel to the gullet. These are the hardest to tackle.
In fact, even surgeries are often ineffective in completely reining in these stubborn lines. As far as the horizontal lines/bands are concerned, you may have 2 or 3 to begin with but may find a few more lines appearing with time. Although sagging jowls and the obstinate double chin are a part of the larger problem, they have nothing to do with the skin or the muscles in the neck area.
So, What Causes Wrinkles, Lines And Skin Sagging On The Neck?
The crux of the problem is that the skin on your neck is thinner than that on your face and the rest of your body and it has a weaker support system. Feel the front of your neck, the area that is most prone to skin sagging and wrinkles and you will find that with just a bit of pressure, your fingers actually start pressing against the internal organs like your gullet and your thyroid glands.
In comparison, your face and even the back of your neck feels fleshy and plump. This simply proves that the muscles in the front of the neck are weaker and thinner as is the layer of fat that provides the first line of support to the skin. Additionally, your neck joint is quite flexible, allowing for 60-80 degree movement across three axes.
To accommodate this range of movement, the skin has to naturally be looser or it would develop painful tears. More skin means greater impact from loss of dermal elasticity. Is it any wonder then that the skin on the neck is the first to show visible signs of sagging and ageing?
While fine lines and wrinkles on the face show up in the mid to late thirties, neck wrinkles raise their ugly head when you are in your twenties, and they get progressively deeper and more conspicuous with each passing year. In fact, these neck wrinkles often make people look older than what they actually are.
Are You The Cause Of The Problem?
Put all that information in a nutshell and your neck comes across as an organ highly susceptible to wrinkles, sagging and other age related skin damage. But, don’t just blame Mother Nature for that turkey neck, your contribution is no less.
Yes, the skin on the neck is more vulnerable to damage of all kinds, and people continue to heap tortures on the delicate dermal layers with their habits. While unhealthy eating, lack of sleep, sudden and significant weight fluctuations are the usual culprits, there are also other factors which are far more damageing. For instance:
Your cell phone, tablets and computers
If you are wondering how these are connected to your neck wrinkles, think about all those times when you ended up with an achy neck from constantly looking down at the screen.
The logic is simple, you bend your neck at unnatural angles when looking down at the screens of mobile gadgets, and unless you are using ergonomic office furniture, your laptops and desktops are making you do the very same thing. Over time, all that stretching and creases turn into permanent wrinkles and sagging, but people continue unabated.
This one is a classic when it comes to skin damage. Yet, despite millions of words of caution written about using sunscreen, folks continue to let their skin burn in the hot sun all the name of vanity. And, just so there is no confusion, those tanning beds are just as damageing to your skin as the red ball of fire in the sky.
If you tend to get your zzz’s lying on your side or on your tummy, you are doing the skin on your face and your neck great disservice. Similarly if your pillow is too high or too low, the skin on your neck will suffer.
All those unhealthy habits
The impact of smoking, too much caffeine, carbonated, sugary beverages and a sedentary lifestyle will eventually show on your skin and rest assured, your neck will be the first to bear the signs of your excesses.
Can Essential Oils Actually Work When All Else Fails?
If you read through that exposé on the reality of neck wrinkles, you are bound to wonder why and how can essential oils offer positive results where even the scalpel falls behind? Sure a surgeon can give you a few nips and tucks but eventually gravity will take its toll and you will be right back to square one.
In contrast, essential oils not only work as a defensive remedy that prevents wrinkles but also help to prevent further damage. The effect of essential oil treatments may not be as dramatic as that of a surgery, but the results will be more sustainable, affordable and long lasting.
Many essential oils impart an astringent effect which naturally pulls the skin up, fighting the onslaught of gravity. Moreover, the active compounds in these oils offer stiff resistance to free radicals and the inflammation they cause.
Finally, the toning effect of these aromatic compounds coupled with the right massage and exercises helps to boost the production of elastin and collagen and makes the supporting muscles stronger. This increases the support available to the skin and prevents or at least delays the onset of skin sagging.
Would You Have thought That Those Are The Best Essential Oils To Treat Neck Wrinkles?
The very same properties that make this oil an effective treatment for scars and wounds also make it invaluable in the fight against skin ageing. Patchouli oil offers dramatic results against skin wrinkles, dryness
and sagging. It is a strong astringent that tones the skin and the muscles that support it, thus distinctly reducing skin sagging. The oil also plays a vital role in increasing the rate of cellular regeneration, which helps to delay and treat fine lines and wrinkles.
This is the holy grail of anti-ageing treatments. The humble rhizome, which is a kitchen staple, can literally yield magical results when used as is and in its stronger and more effective form as an essential oil. Ginger essential oil takes a multipronged approach to fight off skin ageing and damage and all the factors that lead up to them.
For instance, it tightens the pores and clears the skin of hyper pigmentation. It also does a grand job of stimulating the production of elastin and collagen fibers so that the skin gets more support. While it tones the dermal layers and the body structures underneath, it also aids in the faster regeneration of skin cells. Together, these properties make it indispensable in any preparation that is mixed to combat ageing.
Although an unlikely addition, the oft ignored herb and its seeds produce a precious oil that offers a tough fight to all age related skin issues. Coriander essential oil is not as well-known as some of its brethren, but that is certainly no reason to underestimate its potency. In fact, when your skin needs some TLC, this is the oil to turn to.
With boat loads of skin friendly minerals and nutrients, coriander or cilantro essential oil is a superlative multitasker that improves blood circulation and detoxifies the skin. Plus, the bioactive compounds in this oil, do a fabulous job of hunting down free radicals and keep them from damaging your skin.
It has amazing rejuvenating properties and is one of the best options to deal with dermal dryness. The best part is that just a bit of this oil goes a long way, so you won’t need much and a drop can always be used to flavor those dips and sauces.
This fragrant oil brings more than just an enticing aroma to the skin care equation. Derived from the blooms of orange blossom, this essential oil is a proven skin saver. It protects the dermal layers from free radicals and pollution and promotes the health and growth of new cells. It also increases blood circulation and is incredibly effective against scars.
Neroli oil soothes the skin, supports the production of collagen and elastin; above all, it enhances skin elasticity. And, if all that is not enough, it also relaxes the mind and lowers stress, which leads to skin ageing.
It improves the texture, tone and color of your skin while keeping those omnipresent and pesky free radicals at bay, so what is not to like about this oil? Moreover, unlike the spice in its powdered form, you won’t have to worry about skin staining with the essential oil, but you do get the same benefits.
The oil soluble and extremely potent antioxidant, curcumin, can treat free radical linked skin damage and prevent the further degeneration of dermal tissue. It is also one of the most effective natural compounds to treat inflammation and is known to promote rapid healing of skin tissue. In simple words, it is perfect for handling skin wrinkles.
6. Lemon grass
If you want the benefits of citrus oils, without having to worry about photosensitivity, this is the oil to pick. Extracted from grassy leaves of the plant, this sweetly fragrant oil will leave you and your skin feeling good. It’s astringent and toning properties are second to none, which means the skin on your neck will get a natural face lift with lemongrass oil. It is also rich in antioxidants and helps to remove hyper pigmentation.
One among the list of the top natural ingredients for skin ageing, myrrh essential oil has found countless applications in skin care for several centuries. The oil that is extracted from the hard resin of a thorny plant is known to promote skin healing and curb inflammation. Myrrh oil helps to make the skin smoother and eliminates fine lines and wrinkles. When used topically, it offers a soothing sensation and visibly increases skin firmness. It is also aids in maintaining skin health and elasticity, which help in delaying visible signs of age damage such as deep wrinkles and skin sagging.
With this sweet smelling oil, you get a combination of healing, antioxidant, astringent and anti-inflammatory powers. Fennel is not only wonderful on ageing skin but also great for your mind. It revitalizes those dermal cells while invigorating the mind and lowering stress. So, you definitely get twice the bang for your buck with this product.
If you thought cinnamon was just good for your baking, think again! Oil extracted from the leaves of the cinnamon tree (not bark, check before you buy) can cause a significant increase in blood circulation, thereby increasing the amount of oxygen and nutrients that the skin cells receive. However, it needs to be used in moderation. The oil also has notable antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
This oil is one of the most potent treatments for skin sagging. In fact, it can be used not just on the face but also on the breasts to nullify the effect of both age and gravity on skin and connective tissue that is drooping southward. The sweet and woody smelling oil works on preventing wrinkles and is extremely effective against deep creases like those that form on the neck.
11. Arnica Infused Oil
As the name suggests, this oil is made by infusing arnica flowers in a carrier oil. If you cannot find it online, it is always possible to make some at home by using dry arnica flowers and virgin sesame seed oil.
The skin on the neck is more delicate and subjected to more stress than that on the other parts of the body. So along with the essential oils, you will also need a special blend of carrier oils. So, use a rich oil like that of avocado or aloe vera if you have deep creases on the neck and overall dry skin. For those in their thirties with newly formed neck wrinkles and with combination or normal skin, hempseed oil or pumpkin seed oil would work better. If you have very oily skin and a history of pimples on the chin and the neck, go for rosehip seed or grape seed oil. Mix the oils in equal proportion.
Recommended Product for Neck Wrinkles Treatment
Over the last few years / since I wrote this post, the biggest challenge for people has been the cost of buying the various essential oils to make up the recipes and whether they are truly effective. Some have also complained about the quality of the various oils they were purchasing from retailers. So, to resolve this dilemma, I recommend to use the ready-to-use blend Simply Neck Firming Oil from AMOILS. You can click here or the image below to read my review on this product.
Essential Oil Recipes And Therapies For Neck Wrinkles And Sagging Skin
Recipe 1: Cleansing, exfoliating and toning
Stop using soap completely on your skin if you are worried about wrinkles and skin sagging. You can apply the richest moisturizer and your efforts would be in vain if you continue to subject the delicate skin on your neck to the onslaught of soap.
Also, if you have limited your exfoliating and toning routine to your face, this would be a good time to move down and get your neck as well. Here is a simple recipe that will get all three done in one fell swoop. Plus, you can also use this mix on your face and the rest of your body if need be.
- 1 tbsp spirulina powder
- 1 tbsp rose hip powder
- 1 tbsp gotukola powder (or 1 tsp gotukola extract)
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 20 drops lemon oil
Mix the powders together and then add the lemon essential oil to the mixture a few drops at a time. Use a wooden spoon to briskly stir the powders and prevent lumping. Store the dry mix in an airtight, dark colored glass jar. To use, take a teaspoon of the dry mix and add a tablespoon of yoghurt to it.
If you don’t have yoghurt, add one and a half tablespoon of full fat milk and half a teaspoon of lemon juice to the powders. Mix well, till you get a smooth paste. Massage the paste on your neck, moving your fingers in circular motion. Don’t apply too much pressure; just enough to slough off the dead cells. Let the cleansing-exfoliating paste remain on your neck for about 10 minutes then wash/wipe with warm water. Ensure that you get all the paste off and then pat dry your skin.
For toning, use some strong, unsweetened chamomile or green tea. Simply soak some cotton wool in a teaspoon of the infusion and pat it on your neck and décolleté.
Recipe 2: Daytime serum for neck wrinkles
- 2 tbsp carrier oil blend (30 ml) or a single carrier oil of your choice (almond or jojoba preferable)
- 2 tbsp kokum or cocoa butter (30 ml melted or 2 heaped tablespoon grated)
- 15 drops neroli
- 8 drops ginger
- 15 drops patchouli
- 12 drops lavender or geranium
- 3 drops rosemary
Mix the carrier oil and the plant butter (if not already melted) in a double boiler and place on the stove. Wait till the butter has completely melted and then give the oil-butter mixture a good whisk. Do not let the lipids get too hot or boil. In fact, water that is hot to touch, but not scalding hot, is usually enough to melt kokum as well as cocoa butter, particularly if they are grated.
Let the base lipids cool for a few minutes and then add the essential oils; mix well using a wooden spoon or a glass stirrer. When the oils are at room temperature, use a hand held blender to whisk them into a homogenous mixture. Place the blend into the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes, remove and whisk again. Go through 3 cycles of freezing and whisking before transferring the creamy serum into a glass jar.
To use, apply on skin that is still damp after using the tea toner. Use upward and sideway strokes to massage the cream into your skin. Follow with a quality sunscreen.
Recipe 3: Super rich night moisturizer for neck wrinkles
- 30 ml carrier oil (rich carrier oil like argan or avocado)
- 8 drops turmeric
- 10 drops myrrh
- 4 drops coriander
- 2 drops rosemary
- 5 drops jasmine/vetiver
Mix the oils together and transfer to an airtight glass bottle. Cleanse your neck by applying a mixture of raw honey combined with a few drops of green tea or chamomile tea. Use the mixture as you would any other cleanser. Wash off with warm water. Pat your skin dry and while it is still damp, massage 3-4 drops of the serum on your neck.
Recipe 4: “Keep neck wrinkles away” blend
This is a preventative treatment that works well for people in their late twenties and early thirties. For this blend, you will need:
- 20 ml sesame seed / virgin coconut or walnut oil
- 5 drops lemongrass oil
- 7 drops neroli oil
- 2 drops each of fennel and rosemary oils
- 3 drops turmeric oil
Blend the carrier and the essential oils together and store in a small glass jar or bottle. Use about 2-3 drops on your neck, twice a day after cleansing.
Recipe 5: Super anti-ageing blend for deep neck wrinkles
This recipe is specially meant for people with deep neck wrinkles (both horizontal and vertical) as well as significant skin sagging. Don’t expect overnight results, but with a few months of consistent use, you will definitely see a difference.
- 20 ml carrier blend (almond or argan oil)
- 20 ml walnut/pumpkin seed oil
- 10 ml evening primrose oil
- 5 drops each of turmeric and ginger oils
- 4 drops cinnamon oil (reduce to 2 drops if you have sensitive skin)
- 8 drops each of patchouli, myrrh, neroli, rosewood oils
- 2 drops rosemary oil
- 1 tsp grape seed extract
- 1 tsp gotukola extract
- 30 ml rosehip and chamomile tea
Mix the carrier oils together and then add the essential oils to the blend, whisking the mixture gently as you go about it. Store in a brown glass bottle away from direct heat, moisture and sunlight. This is a two-step routine and the first involves the use of a soothing anti-ageing liquid.
Brew the tea, using 3 times the herbal material that you normally would. Cool to room temperature and add the extracts to it. Store in an airtight glass bottle in the refrigerator. You will have to brew a fresh batch every week. Substitute this for the tea toner recipe given above if you have deep neck creases.
To use, soak a ball of cotton wool using the liquid blend and apply generously on your neck, décolleté and upper chest. Don’t let the mixture dry completely on your skin. Wait for about a minute which will leave your skin damp but not dry and use the oil blend to lock in the moisture. Massage well using upward strokes and follow with a sunscreen if you intend to head out during the day.
How About The Right Massage Technique To Prevent And Treat Neck Wrinkles?
Along with the composition of the anti-ageing blend, the massage technique used also matters, when it comes to fighting neck wrinkles and skin sagging. Remember, your goal is to annul or at least minimize the impact of the downward pulling gravitational force on the skin of the neck.
So, it is quintessential to only use upward and sideway strokes. Use your fingers as well as your palms for the massage and exert enough pressure to feel a physical pull upwards. Stand while you are massaging your neck and keep your back straight.
Tilt your head back slightly to get better access to the neck area. Apply a generous amount of the essential oil blend to prep the skin for the massage. You can always dab away the excess oil with some damp cotton wool.
Place your palms horizontally on your upper chest, right below your collar bone. Your palms should be placed one below the other. Now, move them up from below the collar bones right up to your jaw line, pulling your skin up as you go along.
If you feel discomfort in the spine, pause for a minute, tilt your head back once more and continue massaging. Ideally, aim for no less than 5 minutes and no more than 10 minutes at a time. You can also use a vibrating or an infrared massager, which help to boost blood circulation. But, keep them away from the thyroid glands, which are at the base of your neck.
For sideways massage, place your palms vertically on the neck, with your fingers pointing up towards your jawline. Make sure that your palms are placed on the side of your gullet (the bony structure bang in the center of the neck) and not directly on it. Now, move your hands sideways and upwards, towards your ears and the back of your neck. You should feel a gentle tug on the skin at the center of the neck.
Exercise To Remove Neck Wrinkles And Tighten Neck Skin (Say Bye Bye To Sagging)
Exercise 1 – The morning neck stretch
This will not only benefit the skin on your neck but also your spine. In fact, it is one of the most effective stretches to counter and prevent cervical spondylitis and is even known to benefit those who suffer from thyroid ailments.
Stand or sit up straight, with your spine and head aligned straight and your back as taut as possible. Lower your head so that your chin touches your chest. You are supposed to feel a distinct stretch at the back of your neck but no pain. So, do not force your neck down too far. Hold position for 5 seconds before raising your head up. Hold the neutral position for 2 seconds, then tilt your head back, bending your neck in the exact opposite direction of what you did earlier. Once again, feel the stretch but don’t overdo it. Take it slow and you will be able to go farther in the front and back as you progress.
Hold the position for 5 seconds and bring your head back to the neutral position (looking straight ahead). Now, you will repeat this in two more directions; side to side, where you move your head to the left and to the right, as far as you can go on both sides while feeling the stretch but no pain. Remember to hold each position for 5 seconds and to bring the head back to the neutral position before going in the opposite direction.
The last direction is ear to shoulder; that is you bend you neck to the side, trying to get your ear as close as you can to your shoulder. Do not raise your shoulder while working in this direction. Again, you should feel a distinct pull in the muscles on the side of your neck but be careful not to go too far. All the neck bends should be done slowly, no jerky movements, and bring your head back to the neutral position, holding it there for 2 seconds before moving in the opposite direction. Together the 6 neck bends make one round and do 4 of these to begin with, gradually increasing to 6 to 7 rounds.
Exercise 2 – The neck wrinkle exercise
This one should be done 3-4 times a day and involves your jaw and neck muscles. Stand upright with your feet shoulder width apart and your spine straight. Tilt your head back, as if trying to look at the ceiling. Jut your lower jaw forward and cover your upper lip with your lower lip.
Make sure that the upper part of your face is relaxed. You will feel tightness all along the front of your neck, starting at the base of the neck and going up to the base of your chin. Hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds. Bring your head and jaw back to the neutral position and repeat 4-6 times.
The Final Word
Finally, remember to get 7-8 hours of shuteye, spending the time on your back instead of on your tummy or your side. Also, be judicious about using sunscreen on your neck and décolleté and limit the time you spend with your neck bent forward.