Mind & Body

How to care for your ‘jeck’ and avoid ‘tech neck’

With cell phones, not sun exposure, now making the skin below the chin (or ‘jeck’: neck, jawline and jowls) our number-one problem area for early aging, New York dermatologist and founder of Macrene Actives DR MACRENE ALEXIADES shares her advice on preventing ‘tech neck’ – and why a daily regimen is better than clinical treatment to ensure velvety-smooth skin


Put your phone down

In recent years, I’ve been seeing the sort of aging in the neck area on women in their 20s that, in the past, I would have expected to see on women in their 50s. This so-called ‘tech neck’ is a problematic phenomenon, as the constant motion of looking down at our phones creates deep folds in the skin, which, over time and with repetition, causes the skin to ‘dis-attach’ from the underside of the epidermis. Previously, the first signs of aging were always sun exposure on the face, but now, I’m seeing ‘tech neck’ in young women because they have virtually grown up on their phones. Holding your phone up higher helps, and if you must look at your phone when you’re in bed, do so while lying on your side – or prop yourself up on pillows so that you’re not creating those folds that eventually become deep lines.

Cleanse your neck and chest properly

Before doing a peel in the clinic, I do a preliminary wipe to clean the skin and I constantly see skin below the chin that is filthy. A woman can have the most beautiful and cared-for skin on her face but, from the chin down, it’s a very different story. It’s where a lot of pollution and dirt can accumulate and is very bad for the skin. I advise that, at night, you use a cotton round and a cleanser to really cleanse the décolletage area – not forgetting the sides and the back of the neck. Then make sure the skin is totally dry before you move on to the rest of your skincare routine.

Treat your décolletage as you do your face

You can spend a lot of money on treatments in a clinic but, when it comes to the neck and décolletage, I firmly believe that using good home skincare, twice a day, seven days a week, trumps any in-clinic treatment. And yes, you can turn back the clock and undo the damage if you have a good, regular regimen. After proper cleansing, there’s no problem using a gentle peel here – in fact, the stronger in-clinic peels can be less effective because the skin around the neck isn’t thick, which means it doesn’t have the oil glands to support rejuvenation after a strong peel.

It’s good to use hyaluronic acid, peptides and anti-inflammatories, as you need to be strategic. When I formulated my Neck and Décolletage Treatment, I used specific, encapsulated hyaluronic acid so that it goes into the skin and doesn’t just ‘sit’ on it. I wanted it to be like putting filler into the skin, to really plump it up, but doing so every day. Using a good texture helps deliver the actives into the skin, but not if you are using an oil. I don’t mind face oil, but it’s not my preference for using on the skin in the neck area. I prefer to use a good face mask – something hydrating and nourishing. Silicon masks are interesting, as they can have a smoothing effect and boost the penetration of actives and stimulation of the skin.

Finally, remember to always use SPF if the skin is exposed. Most people don’t use enough SPF on the neck and décolletage area because they are worried about getting it on their clothes. But it definitely helps to prevent red and brown skin mottling.

Don’t cut too many calories

Fat plays an important part when it comes to skin, as we have stem cells in our fat – and those with more fat don’t age as quickly. If someone is overweight, their skin quality can be excellent, whereas someone lacking in fat might have ‘thinner’ skin that becomes crepey much faster – not to mention that there is already a natural absence of fat and oil glands in the décolletage.

Sleep on your back

A lot of women get a deep linear crease because their breasts fold together when they sleep on their side. So sleeping on your back is a much better alternative. Also, don’t take baths and showers that are too hot – especially if you have a very light skin tone. If you do this in your 20s, then by the time you are in your 30s, you will have broken capillaries, showing as redness in the skin.

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