The sun damages and ages your skin, and your neck in particular. Here’s how you can prevent it.

It’s a hot, sweltering day at the beach, and you have just one dot of sunscreen left in your bottle. Uh-oh. Where to apply it? Most of us would be inclined to put their sunscreen on their face to prevent sunburn. But there are other areas that need the sunscreen much more urgently.

“If you only have a squirt of sunscreen left, it should go to your neck area, not the face,” says rejuvenation expert Dr. Konstantin, “and not just to the back of the neck, where most people know to put it; it should go to the front of the neck and the décolleté area.”

The importance of sunscreen on the neck

Sun tanning is considered by most experts to be one of the most skin-damaging practices. Second only to cigarette smoking, it can destroy collagen, create deep wrinkles, and cause premature aging of the skin. However, even after the skin is damaged by harmful UV light, there are still a number of treatments available that can improve your skin’s health and appearance. Laser treatments, chemical peels, and dermabrasion are just some of the methods to rejuvenate the skin of the face.

But few people know that the neck/décolleté is an entirely different story. Despite close proximity and apparent similarity, the skin of the neck is completely different from the skin of the face. One of the most notable differences is the number of sweat glands; the neck has a greatly reduced number as compared to the face. Surprisingly, this small detail makes it almost impossible to rejuvenate the skin of the neck the same way the face would be. Therefore, from a plastic surgeon’s perspective, putting sunscreen on the neck is far more protective against aging changes than it would be on the face.

Regular use of sunscreen is strongly recommended by experts

To avoid needing to fix an unsightly neck region, one should practice applying sunscreen daily when outside. Wearing a layer of SPF 15 lotion even in colder months will protect your skin without being too oily or thick. In the warmer months, a higher SPF is recommended for longer exposure and stronger UV rays.

Wearing brimmed hats, gaiters, turtlenecks, and scarves are other ways to protect the neck and décolleté area from the sun. Staying hydrated is key to healthy skin year round. Avoiding times when the sun is the strongest is also a smart idea for those looking to protect their skin from harmful UV rays.

Neck and décolleté rejuvenation

If you are in your 40s-50s, have spent quite a bit of time in the sun in your youth, and are feeling like your neck is not looking its best, there are still some options you can consider. Even though the neck skin cannot be resurfaced with laser, there are other procedures that can help. Tightening the skin of the neck with a neck lift is one of the most popular options. Another potentially beneficial treatment involves injection of a filler or fat under the skin to smooth out small wrinkles typically associated with sun damaged skin. This option is mostly effective in the décolleté area.

Whether you are in your 20s or your 70s, protecting yourself from the sun should be a priority. UV rays can cause skin aging, burning, and even cancer. By following simple steps to take care of your skin– particularly the parts that are most vulnerable to the sun, like the neck/décolleté area– you will be able to engage in outdoor activities without damaging your skin. Should you need rejuvenation, Dr. Konstantin is only a consultation away. Contact his Manhattan practice today.

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