The Best Neck Creams, According to Dermatologists
PSA: Proper skin care shouldn't stop at the face. Experts share the best neck creams for rounding out your routine.
What's the point of shelling out big bucks on anti-aging products and procedures for your face if you neglect the neck that serves as its foundation?
"When we talk about anti-aging routines, a lot of people stop just below the chin/jawline and that shouldn't be the case. Increasingly, people are noticing that signs of aging show up on the neck, as well," says Dendy Engelman, M.D., dermatologist at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery in New York City.
And neck creams have become all the more relevant (especially for younger generations) thanks to growing concerns over "tech neck,'" says Rita Linkner, M.D., of Spring Street Dermatology in New York City, suggesting that looking down at cell phones and other devices for extended periods of time can potentially lead to additional droopiness and cause the neck to appear fuller or more jowly.
You're probably aware that it's best to use specialized products on sensitive areas (think: eye cream). "But the neck, just like the periorbital area and the back of the hands, is owed its own attention," says Dr. Linkner. (Related: 10 Anti-Aging Skin-Care Products Celebrities Use—Starting at Just $14)
That said, as a general rule of thumb, you should also extend your facial moisturizer and sunscreen to the neck for additional protection, says Lily Talakoub, M.D., of the McLean Dermatology and Skin Center.
Unsure where to start? Dermatologists share some of their best non-surgical defenses for keeping your neck skin in check. From weightless serums to high-tech complexes (and the one neck cream experts could not stop raving about along the way), read on as they reveal their best neck cream picks for a range of budgets and needs.
Best Multi-tasker: Neocutis Neo Firm Neck & Decollete Tightening Cream
Recommended for all skin types, this neck cream can be used to tackle a range of anti-aging troublemakers.
"The unique peptide complex can promote collagen and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and the glycolic acid and vitamin C improves hyperpigmentation associated with sun damage. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent photoaging," says Jaimie Glick, M.D., clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Boca Raton dermatologist Jeffrey Fromowitz, M.D., also recommends this product to his clients, who typically see results after four to six weeks, and maximum improvement after about 12 weeks of daily use. "At this point in time, I will often transition patients to a maintenance regimen where they may only use the product a few times a week to maintain results," he says.
Buy It: Neocutis Neo Firm Neck & Decollete Tightening Cream, $135, dermstore.com
Best Deal: No7 Restore & Renew Face and Neck Multiaction Serum
Marie Hayag, M.D. of Fifth Avenue Aesthetics in New York City has seen her fair share of neck creams, but this one, which promises results in less than two weeks, gets her "PPP stamp of approval."
"PPP stands for popularity (with my patients), price (very reasonable!), and punch (the cream is full of quality ingredients, including peptides, antioxidants, retinol, and ceramide, which translate into a smoother, firmer, younger neck that patients rave about)," she explains.
The compact, squeezable (aka mess-free) tube also makes it a great pick for keeping skin looking fresh and youthful on the go.
Best Exfoliant: iS Clinical NeckPerfect Complex
This antioxidant-rich formula contains nourishing Vitamin B5 and sweet almond seed extract, along with hydrolyzed quinoa and Acacia Senegal gum for safeguarding and smoothing skin.
"It gently exfoliates, diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and helping the skin to look more radiant, firm, and lifted," says Dr. Talakoub.
Best Firmer: NeoStrata Skin Active Triple Firming Neck Cream
Elliot Weiss, M.D., of the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York ranks this triple-action cream among his favorite topical treatments for delicate neck skin.
"The hero ingredients—NeoGlucosamine, NeoCitriate, and Pro-Amino Acid—help stimulate collagen production, boost the skin's support matrix, and gently exfoliate areas of uneven pigmentation," he explains.
"It also helps to retain moisture, reduce sagging, and improve the texture of this sensitive area," adds Michele Farber, M.D., of the Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City.
Best Tightener: Alastin Skincare Restorative Neck Complex with TriHex Technology
As its name suggests, this innovative complex is formulated with a custom TriHex technology designed to assist the skin in producing new elastin (a protein that gives skin its elasticity) and collagen (a protein found abundantly in skin) for a tighter, more youthful effect.
"The technology is combined with fruit extracts for really tackling crepey skin. The formula is also very hydrating. Apply it twice a day for fast results," says Dr. Linkner.
This is also a top pick for Jenny Liu, M.D. assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota. "Their clinical studies show great results and I've had similar compliments from patients," she adds. Liu recommends pairing the cream with a resurfacing laser treatment for a more dramatic effect.
Best Moisturizer: ISDIN Isdinceutics Age Contour
Experts have come to hail this 'contour' for its firming peptides and hydrating (hyaluronic acid) properties.
"I personally love it and use it because it acts as an all-in-one for me in the morning—it serves as a moisturizer and tightener for the face and neck," says Sapna Palep, M.D., founder of Spring Street Dermatology in New York City.
The luxurious formula also contains alteromonas ferment (deep-sea algae) extracts, which help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. (See: What Seaweed Skin-Care Products Can Do for Your Skin)
Best Lifter: StriVectin TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream Plus
This neck cream has won multiple beauty awards (including the Shape 2018 Beauty awards!) for its ability to tighten (and brighten) skin in as little as a few weeks.
"It has a lifting complex (Gravitite-CF) to visibly lift and address sagging of the neck, helping it to appear firm and tightened. Nia-114 (aka niacin or vitamin B3) also improves the moisture barrier of the skin," says Jeannette Graf, M.D.
Best Retinol: PCA Skin Perfecting Neck and Decollete
“This cream combines specialized peptides that firm the skin and minimize the appearance of lines, along with skin-strengthening retinol and antioxidant-rich botanical extracts,” says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Product reviews also remark how easy the cream glides on without having to push or pull, especially important when dealing with thinner or more delicate skin. (See: Everything You Need to Know About Adding Retinol to Your Routine)
Best Barrier Cream: SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2
Julie Russak, M.D., of the Russak Dermatology Clinic is another proponent of using retinol as an anti-aging agent for the neck, ideally paired with a barrier cream like this one from SkinCeuticals.
"This restorative treatment contains ceramides, cholesterol, fatty acids, vitamin E, and essential oils, providing optimal anti-aging benefits and a buffer for any irritation, especially important for those who are using retinol for the first time or have more sensitive skin," she explains.
Best Overall: Revision Skincare Nectifirm Advanced
While a tad on the pricier side, this neck cream from Revision Skincare proved the most popular among our experts, suggesting it's worth the splurge.
It uses Smart Antioxidant Technology (lingonberry extract) and a proprietary blend of eight peptides to minimize the appearance of wrinkles, plus red microalgae extract to lift and firm the skin, says Dr. Engelman. She recommends using it daily (day and night) for a lasting effect.