If you suspect that your enthusiasm for all things electronic is giving you wrinkles, you’re not alone–I’m often asked about the most effective ways to tackle "tech neck".
A malady of our times, it’s thought that when you gaze down at your phone or laptop, you apply an excess pressure of up to 50 pounds on the bones and muscles around your neck, which is only meant to handle around 10 to 12 pounds. The result of this excess weight is said to lead to premature wrinkles around the neck. Said to, because studies on the issue are non-existent and there are other explanations for why the skin on your neck may be ageing faster than the skin on your face. For one, the skin is thinner, so there’s less collagen and elastin to begin with. The neck also has fewer oil glands than your face, so fine lines can look exaggerated.
Of course, the last thing women need is a new beauty battleground; wrinkles are, after all, entirely normal and an ordinary part of getting older. But if your neck wrinkles bother you, there are ways of managing them. As ever, prevention is almost always better than cure. In this case, that begins with skincare—and applying a product to your neck just as diligently as you would to your face.
First, make sure you’re using a gentle SLS-free cleanser; sodium lauryl sulfate is a foaming agent that can be overly harsh on an area that’s already lacking in oil glands. Next, apply a vitamin C serum; this will help to protect the skin from free radical damage (thanks, pollution and sunlight) that’s known to cause premature fine lines. Using vitamin C under your SPF can also give you up to seven times more sun protection. Whatever moisturiser you choose, it should contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides—and be sure to finish your morning routine with a broad-spectrum SPF, even when it’s raining. At night, apply a retinol serum to encourage collagen production, which helps reduce the appearance of fine lines. Opting for an encapsulated retinol that’s drip fed into the skin will reduce the risk of irritation, as will using it on alternate nights, three times a week.
There are also some brilliant in-clinic treatments that will boost the results of a good skincare regime. Profhilo, an injectable skin treatment, uses hyaluronic acid that works to improve skin tissue quality by lifting, tightening, and hydrating the skin. Polynucleotide injections work similarly, stimulating fibroblasts that boost collagen production and calm inflammation. For lax skin around the neck, radiofrequency treatment, which stimulates collagen and elastin production, combined with microneedling, can lift the skin; CO2 lasering has similar effect.
Inputs by Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme, founder and medical director of Adonia Medical Clinic
This piece originally appeared in the November 2023 print edition of Women's Health UK