There is a running joke in the beauty industry: if you want to tell a woman’s true age, look at her neck.
Of course the same has also been said of her hands and knees. Reason being most women take excellent care of their faces. For those women, this care ends right at the chin. That means you neglect your neck and throat.
Technologically advanced skin care products are way ahead, however, and if you have bothered to read them, you will notice that they now say “apply on face and throat”. This is the case with cleansing, toning and moisturising products, sunscreen, foundation, peels, facial masks — everything.
In a lot of African cultures, the neck is a thing of beauty. Luos have a thing for the thread of lines that caress the neck. In Swahili it is referred to as shingo ya upanga. World over, there are cultures that celebrate giraffe-like necks.
The Kayan of Burma are renowned for their brass collar rings. Girls start wearing them at ages 2 to 5. It is a rather extreme idea of beauty to most people, but it works for them. In the US, models with extra neck inches are considered to have graceful profiles. Those extra inches also count when it comes to height.
The throat has generally been a receptacle or canvas for jewellery but rarely gets its own beauty pages. When women, and increasingly, men, go for facelifts, the really good doctors will remember the neck. However, in an era of Botox, collagen and silicon fillers and facial injections, it is becoming less popular to lift and tuck. This is why the neck is becoming more noticeable. You can’t do much with it.
There are ways to get past knobbly hands, thinning lips, collapsing cheekbones, spotty hands and wrinkly knees, not to mention foot surgery, but no one has figured out what to do with the neck without cutting off all that extra skin that gathers with age. This is why skin care technology and experts are now encouraging women to exercise preventative care.
If you had not been doing this, from today, make a note that your throat is part of your face and not an extension of your regular skin care routine.
Your neck is a very sensitive area. It reacts to products, cosmetics, heat, jewellery bought off the street, beads that catch the tiny hairs, perfume that contains alcohol. It is easy to irritate.
Products, including retinols, AHAs, salicylic acid and anything else that goes on your face work just as well for your neck. French women are reputed to extend their facial care to the décolletage, a practice that results in a complexion evened out from the hairline all the way to the top of the breasts.
It leads to healthier-looking skin and gives off a radiance that is impossible to fake as well as giving them a deeper sense of what their skin needs are over the years.
Some of the problems that might affect your neck are eczema, heat rash, hives or dandruff. Paying regular attention to your neck means you will notice any changes on it.
Eczema is a medical condition that will require a dermatologist’s prescription to take care of when it flares up. Otherwise treat your neck as sensitive skin and it will serve you well. Acne will rarely, if ever, go as far as the neck. Heat rash is common so avoid stifling your neck in hot weather with anything from high collars to synthetic fabrics.
Hives will be a reaction to either an insect bite or an allergy. Use the process of elimination to figure out what is causing it. Dandruff will usually fall off your scalp and land on your neck or collar. Sometimes dandruff can irritate your neck. Keep the skin on your neck clean especially if there are folds.
The thing about your neck is that the skin there is thinner, drier, delicate. More so than anywhere else on the body. In fact, a facial product is far more likely to react on your neck before it does on your face.
Retinoids are notorious for this and strong products start out as an itch as they dry out your neck. This will likely happen with any product you are advised to use once every two days.
For something more radical, should you wish it, or if you have developed a wattle, have neck liposuction combined with a neck lift to take care of excess skin.
Alternatively, you could have a platysmaplasty, a very expensive procedure. This is where your muscles are tightened then held through a small neck incision under the chin.
Ideally, facial products will suffice when it comes to neck care. There are neck and throat-only products.
Save your money by not neglecting your neck, or splurge if you want a treat. The choice is yours. Just get it done either way.