Should You Be Exfoliating Your Neck?

Most of us are guilty of spending hours doing skincare rituals for our face and body, not to mention hundreds of dollars. Some daily facial routines include some variations of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing with exfoliation and deep cleanses thrown in. The body receives care everyday with a scrub, bath, and moisturization routine. But what about our neck? Do we pay it the attention it deserves? Probably not.

"I was always taught by my mum that the face ends at the chest and not at the jawline, and this is where lots of ladies go wrong. You must include the neck in your home-care and treatments, especially in the winter months," says Joanne Evans, a popular UK-based facialist and owner of the salon Skin Matters, speaking to Good Housekeeping. If you want a simple neck-care routine, here's what the team at Neoderma has to say: It should include similar steps to a face care routine such as cleansing, exfoliating, applying serum, moisturizer, and sunscreen.

Exfoliation is not a step that one thinks of in connection with the neck area, but according to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse via Skincare, one should exfoliate their neck once every week or two as it helps to slough away the build-up on this area. "Not only is this [build-up] unhygienic, but it can also lead to the appearance of 'dark neck' or dermatitis neglecta," she told the publication.

Why you should exfoliate your neck

The first thing you must keep in mind is that the skin on your neck is more delicate than the skin on other parts of your body (per SkinStation), so the routine you adopt and the products you use must be geared specifically towards the neck on your skin. In fact, you should always properly exfoliate as per your skin type.

The skin in this area is thinner because it tends to lose its elasticity easier, showing signs of aging before your face does. The area is known for producing less natural oils, another reason it ages faster. 

Unfortunately, our increasing reliance on technology further exacerbates the situation as we become more prone to suffering from "tech neck." According to the team at Advanced Skin & Body Solutions, this term denotes the wrinkles that appear on your neck because you are constantly looking down at some form of technology and consequently putting pressure on the area. As the skin here is thinner, the effect of this pressure works faster. Many people are also guilty of neglecting to apply sunscreen in this area, and sun damage is another real cause for concern.

How should you exfoliate your neck?

Now that you know the importance of exfoliating your neck, you may be wondering what the best method of doing so is. You shouldn't simply use your regular face exfoliators and definitely not the harsh and abrasive scrubs that work to slough off the hardy dead skin that collects on your body. So, what should you use instead?

Dr. Shainhouse tells Skincare that a gentle yet effective chemical exfoliant works best on the neck. "Physical exfoliants (think: nutshell scrubs) can cause micro-tears in the thin, sensitive neck skin, which may result in inflammation, premature skin aging and even scarring. Toners or peels that contain AHAs like lactic, mandelic or glycolic acids, are designed to help dissolve dead skin cells, revealing fresh, bright skin."

Chemical exfoliants such as products that contain retinol are certainly effective because they gently dissolve the dead skin cells and other impurities in this sensitive area while penetrating deep into the skin without causing excessive damage, as per SkinStation. In addition to retinol products that help add extra moisture, try applying glycolic, according to Joanne Evans via Good Housekeeping.