Nora Ephron once wrote that "our faces are lies and our necks are the truth," and she was right (of course she was). We tend to our faces precisely and dutifully, as if restoring pieces of art, yet our necks go neglected. On a good day they may get the remnants from our skincare routine, but for the most part it's a spray of perfume. And so, we arrive at the topic of ‘jecks’ – a name for the point at which jaws merge with necks, known formerly as double chins (cruel), softened jaws (charitable) or even nins (clever). With lockdown life and its countless, insecurity-exposing Zooms, we're noticing them more than ever before.
Just like boobs, jaws are at the mercy of gravity, and coupled with the fact that the skin is thin and crepey, it’s no wonder we prod with disdain. “There are fewer oil glands, which means more dryness and ultimately, more wrinkles,” says 111SKIN founder Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, who created the 111skin Celestial Black Diamond Lifting and Firming Mask, £140.00, a biopeptide-infused neck and face mask, to help us on our way. Dr. Sophie Shotter agrees, adding that change also becomes more apparent as we age, “because the bones in our faces shrink, which means our chins and jaws provide less support.”
But maturing is only partly to blame. If you’re hunched over your phone right now, may we suggest you unfurl your neck and align your spine, because just like tech necks before them, ‘jecks’ are exacerbated by the chin-down action that accompanies – incessant, ahem – mobile phone use. “The position accelerates the loosening of the neck muscles and connective tissues,” says Dr. Shotter. And the frequency with which we assume it, well… Stop. That. Doomscroll.
But the question still stands of whether we really, like really, need different skincare for our necks. In short, the answer is yes. “Not only is skin there different, it’s also exposed to different agressions” says Jose Ginestar, Scientific Director of Sisley-Paris, who had a hand in formulating Sisley-Paris Neck Cream: The Enriched Formula, £120.00, which contains ingredients like caffeine and red algae, to lessen the appearance of those horizontal wrinkles. No matter how good one’s Botox, right Nora?
While formulas can’t re-scaffold the area, they can resuscitate it somewhat. As its name suggests, Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Fortifying Neck Emulsion, £75.00, includes powerhouse actives ferulic, which slows the process of aging, and retinol, which helps to build collagen and improve skin texture and elasticity. “Actives in this area are always a good idea,” says Dr. Shotter, but as with any targeted skincare, they must be used in tandem with SPF. Also, it’s not just what you apply, but how you apply it. To maximise results, “tilt your head back and tense your jaw to activate the muscles under the neck, and in an upwards motion stroke your hands upwards,” advises Dr. Yannis. Try it with the reassuringly named IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Neck Cream, £44.00.
Depending on the severity of sagging, there are also in-clinic treatments. From Coolsculpting which freezes stubborn appendages of fat, to Ultherapy which uses ultrasound to build collagen, all is not lost. Nor need it be lax.