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The neck is one of the most neglected areas of the face, and one that most women become acutely aware of by the time they turn 40. Is it too late to turn back time?
Fortunately, treatments and products will restore the decollete to some of its original condition, but it will take a little time and daily care. The differences between the neck and facial tissue are subtle, but these differences are enough to demand specialized treatments and creams.
Pigmentation and spider naevis are the first signs of ageing in the neck area and similar to the eye area, collagen loss will be the most commonly found protein loss after elastin. How the neck tissue ages are mostly due to the work play lifestyle, this will be reflected as obviously as the backs of our hands. Our genetic blue print will determine the firmness of the jaw-line, length of the neck and the strength and density of collagen.
There are many muscles situated in the neck, extending from the mandible (jawbone) to the hyoid bone and to the sternum and clavicle. However, it is some of the muscles of the face not the neck that will determine the firmness of the jaw-line.
The neck area should be considered as part of the breast tissue, which has no muscles and is not fixed to the chest, but suspended by a framework of connective tissue, known as Coopers ligaments. These ligaments are between the adipose tissue, and reinforce the connection between the breast and the chest wall. This connective tissue, which encloses each of these components, gives cohesiveness to the mammary structure and the neck.
The skin of the breast & neck area
This envelope of skin, which is smoother, thinner and more translucent than over much of the rest of the body, fans down from the chin. It becomes progressively thinner nearer the nipple, compared to the outermost parts of the breast, and is extremely delicate near the areola around the nipple. Cells responsible for protection from the sun (melanocytes) are found in lesser quantities in the neck and decollete area and because of this, can very easily become sunburned and sun damaged.
A common skin condition often seen in this area is pigmentation and spider Nevis, both will have been compounded by sun exposure but the causes are often fragrance and hormonal. Many perfumes have photo-sensitisers in the form of fragrance fixatives and pregnancy and menopause are two stages in a woman’s life where spider nevi’s are a result of a hormonal imbalance.
Collagen loss is the other predominant skin condition found on the neck, decollete and breast areas. Diagnosing this is easy, it is a vertical striation that is seen by having a light source opposite and looking across the skin. It can not be easily seen through a magi light or by looking down onto the skin. To confirm your diagnosis take a small pinch of skin tissue hold for a second then let go. If the tissue stay peaked, you know you have collagen loss.
Having established we are dealing with easily damaged tissue its not surprising that by the time a woman is 40 the neck area is showing signs of age. We will continue this article by first addressing the damaged skin and then we will look at how it could have be avoided or the ageing process slowed, by answering your most commonly asked questions.
What can I do about the pigmentation down the side of my neck?
As I mentioned pigmentation across the chest and down the each side of the neck are what most women notice first. Spaying fragrance to the neck area may have caused this pigmentation. Many perfumes have photo-sensitisers in the form of fragrance fixatives: these fixative agents when exposed to the sun cause the pigmentation.
Having established the cause of the pigmentation, please consider there is no point in pursuing any other skin treatment program without doing these next two important things.
- 1. You must stop spraying fragrance onto the neck area.
- 2. You must avoid sun exposure.
- To begin fading the pigmentation you must begin by applying a sun block to the affected area on a daily basis.
- There is a number of pigmentation fading treatments for the neck tissue available from your beauty therapist, ring and make an appointment for a consultation to find out what’s best for you.
What sort of things work best for fading pigmentation?
Look for creams and serums that contain Vitamin C, Green Teas, Liquorice, Kojic Acid, Mulberry Leaf extract, Paper Mulberry, Arbutin. All of these have the ability to inhibit tyrosinase, modify the melanin pigment or have an anti free radical effect, thus having an effect on pigmentation. And of course a SUN BLOCK!
How can I prevent the lines around my neck and between my breasts?
If you are guilty of sleeping with jewellery chains around your neck every night, then you are contributing to the lines around your neck. The links that make up the chains twist and restrict the skin while your sleeping hence causing lines.
Poor posture will also aggravate the pouching under the chin, along the jaw line and form lines between the breasts. Keep those shoulders back and your chin up.
Investing in an excellent pillow can prevent sleep lines between the breasts and along side of the face. The buckwheat filled pillows is best; they also have a low allergy risk.
If you are large breasted, have your next bra professionally fitted, look for wide shoulder straps, wide back clasps. Ill fitting bras will contribute to poor posture thus aggravating lines between the breast.
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