One of the most telling places of a woman’s age is her neck. It is, unfortunately, extremely difficult to treat once damage from the sun has been done. Dermatologists call the neck an “under privileged” area. That is because unlike facial skin, the skin on the neck has relatively few adnexal structures such as hair follicles and sweat glands. These are the structures that help us heal. So healing of the neck after a procedure is slow, and aggressive treatment with lasers or peels to minimize the effects of sun damage and the aging process is risky. Another unfortunate thing about the neck is that young women often forget about the importance of protecting their necks from the sun. By middle age, when significant sun damage has already occurred and starts to become visible, many women will finally start their sun protection regimen of this area. It’s never too late but the earlier you start protecting your neck, the better it will look later in life!
Typically, women’s necks really get hit quite hard by the sun. Why? Because we don’t apply make-up which may have some SPF on our necks, and our necks are exposed to the sun year round, with or without hats and often even with protective clothing.
I have a couple of very important recommendations. The obvious recommendation is to start every morning by putting on your sunscreen before you get dressed so that you can apply it to your entire neck and upper chest without having to worry about getting it on your clothing. But my recommendation is not for sunscreen alone, although this is a critical daily product as I have just mentioned. I also recommend getting two inexpensive versatile fashion scarves. I would keep a larger one in your glove compartment or central console of your car and another smaller one in your purse. The amount of sun your neck gets while you are driving around is incredible! If you spend just 20 minutes a day driving around when the sun is in the sky, you will have 120 hours of sun exposure on your neck per year and that doesn't even count the hours that you are out walking around during the day! This is the reason for the scarf in the car. Next time you are driving around with your sun visor pulled down in your car to protect your eyes and face from the sun, look in the rear view mirror and notice that the sun is still shining on your neck. Trust me, I've tried all angles and twisted sitting positions to try to avoid the sun from getting on my neck and it just doesn't work. So I went to using a scarf when the sun is hitting my neck in the car. I have a really large one so sometimes I’ll even drape it over my arms. It’s second nature to me now and I hope it becomes so for you! PS, the purse scarf is for when you are in situations when you are forced to be in the sun and you have no options for shade. It’s like emergency sunscreen that doesn't expire.