The truth lies in the neck

The truth lies in the neck

Keeping our necks taut and toned during our Middle Years

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In her collection of essays I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman, the late great Nora Ephron summed it up succinctly: ‘Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth.’ How true.  We know there is Botox, fillers and a plethora of other treatments to help tackle a multitude of facial issues, but Ephron concluded that ‘short of surgery there’s not a damned thing you can do about a neck.’ Yes, times have changed but sadly Ephron isn't here to experience the latest generation of neck procedures now available to tighten and tone the entire neck area. But for those seeking more natural options the following tips will help you on your way to a tauter, smoother neck.

Your Middle Years

The neck takes centre stage in my latest book Your Middle Years too, as science tells us that if not adequately protected the thin-skinned neck region can easily become creepy and wizened looking. It has fewer sweat and sebaceous glands than the rest of the body to protect it from moisture loss so ....Sun damage is also more obvious here and more difficult to repair.

My go-to dermatologist Rosemary Coleman says that that most of her patients start taking care of their face about 10 years earlier than their neck and chest. "It's as though they don’t realise these exposed parts of their upper body actually exist until the signs of ageing appear. Everyone should apply SPF from hairline to cleavage every morning. I remove more skin cancers from women’s chests than anywhere else on their bodies and in many cases there will be some scarring."

Neck creams

While shelves are overflowing with dedicated neck creams, in my many years of experimenting with products I've concluded that most are not worth the hefty price tag. Whats more, many are thick and show up as irritating red rings around the crease lines. In my opinion a good face cream with active anti-ageing ingredients (and sun protection) can be equally effective when applied daily and correctly (as in applying upwards towards the face using both hands).

Text Neck

What is also concerning is the current prevalence of upper back and neck-related injuries. There is even an Institute in the US dedicated to the term ‘text-neck’ (coined by US-based chiropractor Dr Dean Fishman). It's an apt description of our life in the digital age, where the repeated neck stress caused by overuse of handheld technology and staring down at phones, tablets and laptops is increasing the risks of chronic neck and shoulder problems – not to forget the minuscule creases building up on the neck area. We need to start looking up more and heed the following advice to keep our necks taut, strong and healthy:

Daily Neck Care

  • Ensure neck & décolletage area is covered with sunscreen (or clothing) - EVERY day
  • Look upwards (more yoga downward/upward dogs!)
  • Ensure computer screen is at eye level
  • Don’t forget neck area when exfoliating
  • Avoid thick and heavy neck creams -  they can irritate
  • Always sweep upwards when applying product
Another of Ephron's vast apothecary of powerful quotes which I also love is:  'Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.' Here's to Nora!
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