The Neck, Eyes and Hands: Anti-Aging Beyond the Face

If you are getting facials on a regular basis, pat yourself on the back because you are ahead of the game!  Regular cleansing, exfoliation, extractions and facial massages are wonderful ways to maintain and rejuvenate your skin…but do you ever wish you could do more for places beyond the face?

 

Even with regular facials, it is likely that your neck, eyes and hands are not necessarily getting all of the attention they deserve.  It is important to understand why these areas require extra care and learn about the ways we can treat them effectively in the spa setting and at home.

 

About half of my clients complain or make comments about their necks.  Most say that they can't stand the horizontal ring-like lines, the look of "rubber bands" that seem to protrude beyond their normal neckline and the loss of elasticity, in general, of that area.  It is quite frustrating for a client who takes amazing care of their visage to look down six inches and see an area that seems to be falling behind.  It is important to ask, "in terms of anti-aging, what makes the neck quite different from the face?"

 

As far as oil production is considered, the neck is a barren desert compared to most faces.  Most clients do not complain that they have to blot their oily necks throughout the day!  Oil production is responsible for keeping skin moist, sealing in hydration and creating a barrier from the elements.  Without these safeguards, the skin of the neck is more vulnerable to deterioration.  It's also likely that because there is a lack of an oily barrier on the skin of the neck that it tends to be thinner, more sensitive and irritate easily.  

 

A newer, technology-related phenomenon that affects the neck is what Dr. John Tagliarini of Tagliarini Chiropractic once called "tech neck."  Now that people text incessantly, keep up on social media 24/7, email and generally stare in a downward direction toward their inseams, many of us are loosing the natural curve of our cervical spine.  As my X-Ray once showed, people can actually have a reversed curve to their cervical spine because of poor posture and alignment!  Whoa.  It made me wonder: can the structural malformation of the neck create more accelerated aging for the neck?  As we know, skin goes where muscle and bone goes and if they are moving in the wrong direction then the skin is apt to follow…(gasp!).

 

Besides "tech neck," the skin of the neck is sent south when we fail to apply products in an upward, sweeping motion. Be aware of how you apply creams, sun protection (and even cleanse) the neck area because if you're not pulling up then you're going in the wrong direction.  

 

So the next time you are at the spa, ask your esthetician about special products for the neck.  Most neck care creams tend to be labeled as such and can be over the counter strength or prescription strength.  Be sure to also ask for sun protection for the neck (and you may as well bring it down to the chest) so that you can prevent sun damage and the breakdown of collagen caused by the sun's harmful rays.  In-spa services that target neck rejuvenation may include: a mask add-on for hydration and moisture; a massage add-on for toning; L.E.D. or microcurrent treatments; a special neck-suited gentle exfoliation or a galvanic ampoule infusion.  Be sure to ask your esthetician or skin care professional what they can offer during your facial to address this special area.

 

"They" say the eyes are the window to the soul.  But to your esthetician, the eyes are a window into how well you are taking care of your over-all anti-aging routine.  A lot can be observed in the eye area: sketched-in lines from consistent expressions and solar damage, extra skin in the upper lid area, puffiness in the upper or lower part of the eye, redness or irritation inside the eye, dark circles below the eye, thinning skin, and...hopefully tears of joy when you realize their may be solutions to some of these problems! 

 

The eye area can be tricky…it's sensitive, it's a place that takes a beating from rubbing it, stretching it, applying make-up to it and scrubbing make-up off of it.  Eyes can be a source of allergy-season agony, computer screen strain and a contact lens-wearing battlefield.  Oh m(eye).

 

To top it all off, the skin of the eye area is very thin (and much like the neck) lacks vital sebaceous gland lubrication.  What on earth can be done, you ask?  Besides wearing massive sunglasses, be sure to start products that are specifically designed for the eye area as early as possible (in your late teens and twenties, to be exact).  In essence, the time to start caring for your eye area is basically yesterday.  Run, don't walk, to your nearest amazing spa and start a professional-grade eye cream, eye serum, at-home eye mask and/or cooling roller-ball eye product as soon as you can.  And for the love of all that is sacred, if you ever magically find yourself in a time machine traveling backwards, remember your eye cream then!   

 

Once you get back, book it to your spa of choice and ask your esthetician to kick it up a notch with the facial add-ons for your peepers.  Add-ons like collagen eye patches, gentle lymphatic drainage massages, pressure point massages, cooling eye masks, and cold stones can all pacify eye-area woes for several days. Make it a habit to give this area a lot of extra love every time you lay down for your facial because the results will certainly add up! 

 

Medical-grade eye services like peri-orbital neuro-toxin (a.k.a. Botox, Dysport and Xeomin) are used to relax the muscles around the eyes that create super-creasy expressions and radio frequency treatments such as Thermage can also be used to rejuvenate and tone the skin around the eye.  Thank goodness for options!

 

Hands-down, another dead give away for aging: you guessed it…your clappers!  Clients often complain that their hands look "older than the rest of my body" because they are hyperpigmented, lacking in volume, wrinkled and dehydrated.  Why is this so common? Hands are lacking in natural sebaceous emollients just like the neck and eyes; exposed to the elements 365 days per year; washed and dried throughout the day; doused in hand sanitizer; exposed to harsh household cleaning products; and, now, getting private tanning sessions during UV gel nail polish applications…it's a wonder they can even hang on!  Have mercy on our five-fingered friends!  

 

Look for spa-quality hand creams that have anti-aging ingredients (peptides, vitamin C, high-quality emollients and small doses of alpha hydroxy acids for cell turnover).  Keep said hand creams in your car, purse and by your bed, so you can reapply wherever you are.  Other awesome items for the health of your hands include: daily sun protection, special scrubs, and sleeping gloves.  Don't let your hands become so damaged that they crack, bleed and ache!  These puppies are in constant contact with the world around us and need to be clean, supple, and protected without openings that could introduce harmful bacteria into our bodies.  

 

On the less dramatic side of that coin, think about how hands can reflect your true age and take anti-aging hand therapies seriously the next time you are visiting your spa or medical spa.  Ask your esthetician about add-ons to your facial that could include gentle hand exfoliation with microdermabrasion, scrubs, or enzymes.  You could follow that with a sanitary paraffin treatment (a.k.a. Eco-fin which is a single-use product) as opposed to dipping your hands into a vat of communal, petri dish filth (i.e. standard paraffin).  You can also opt for a massage with super-emollient creams worked into your hands followed by warm mitts…sounds cozy to me!  If you are opting for a medical grade fixer-upper, some doctors inject cosmetic filler into the hands to plump them up and decrease the appearance of wrinkles and veins. The choices are in your hands!  

 

Anti-aging goes far beyond the face!  Don't forget about your neck, eyes and hands!  Be sure to seek out rejuvenating options that work for you and your budget. Keep in mind that the face can look nice, but taking care of it alone will not suffice!