This Retinol Neck Cream Firmed Up My Wrinkles and Sagging Skin in Only a Few Uses

While I've been devotedly using facial skin-care products for years, I'd never thought much about caring for my neck... until the pandemic it, and Zoom meetings became my only way to connect with the outside world. Instead of focusing on the other people on the screen, something else kept grabbing my attention: the slightly loose skin under my jawline and the crepiness on my neck.

I apparently wasn't alone in experiencing this distraction, because in the wake of the "Zoom Boom," products that target signs of aging in the neck and décolletage seem to be everywhere. Since the height of the pandemic, I've tried many of them—and while I've seen some decent results, nothing seemed to tighten the skin in the area quite as much as I wanted. I began considering cosmetic procedures, but thankfully, Skinceuticals Tripeptide-R Neck Repair ($135) came into my life before I took the plunge.

According to Kelly Sullivan, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon and owner of Sullivan Surgery & Spa in Annapolis, MD, aging skin on the neck can be particularly hard to treat because of its fragileness and lack of elasticity. (The fact many of us have our necks bent looking at mobile devices for hours a day also doesn't help.) "Neck skin is different from facial skin, with a thinner and more delicate dermal layer. With fewer lipids than the skin on the face, the neck's skin barrier can weaken as early as age 30," says Dr. Sullivan. "These properties combined with the neck's constant movement can lead to wrinkles that are up to five times deeper than on the face."

That's where Skinceuticals' power-packed formula comes in. The high-performance cream targets early and advanced signs of neck aging, including horizontal lines, crepiness, and loss of firmness. It includes three key ingredients:

  • 0.2 percent pure retinol: a vitamin A derivative that promotes cell turnover to help improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and discoloration)
  • Glaucine complex: an alkaloid derived from the yellow poppy seed plant that supports the skin's resistance to visible neck aging
  • Tripeptide concentrate: a peptide blend that reduces the look of fine lines and improves firmness.

What happened when I tried it

After just a couple of applications of Tripeptide-R Neck Repair, I was thrilled with the results. My neck and décolletage looked smoother and firmer, but what pleased me most was the tightening of the skin under my jawline. The loose skin under my chin was not even noticeable anymore.

Although the cream's low retinol concentration allows for daily use without irritation, I was a bit wary of using retinol on my neck, especially since it's caused minor facial irritation for me in the past. But even when I overlooked putting on sunscreen—something you should always do, but particularly when using retinol because it increases sun sensitivity—my skin was surprisingly okay with zero irritation.

One note: If you've never used a retinol product, Dr. Sullivan advises starting with a low concentration and using once to twice a week, then increasing frequency to every other night if tolerated. You should discontinue use and see a dermatologist if you experience excessive dryness, irritation, or peeling.

"It is important to establish consistent skin tolerance before advancing to a higher concentration," she says. "As your skin becomes used to retinol, you can increase the concentration accordingly."

Since I live in a southern state and am in the sun a lot, I've been rotating the Skinceuticals Neck Repair serum two to three times a week (always with sunscreen, minus that one occasion) with non-retinol neck creams and continue to experience great results. While Tripeptide-R Neck Repair is designed to complement neck-tightening treatments and surgeries, thanks to the product, I won't have to go that route anytime soon—not to mention no longer dreading Zoom meetings.

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