Woman in her forties checking her aging neck in the mirror.

means perfecting the art of ending small talk in the smoothest way possible, trying new things you were afraid of failing at, and being your most badass self. It’s wonderful. Yet, many of us spend a good chunk of time worrying about our appearance – no thanks to insecurity-inducing beauty ideals. One concern that looms large as women enter middle age is an aging neck.

No one is immune to the pressure to stay youthful. Kim Kardashian admitted to getting Botox injections in her neck, and the late great Nora Ephron wrote a whole book about it. So, what are the signs of wear and tear that make so many women obsess over their necks?

Neck Aging Signs: More Than Wrinkles

The skin on the area is thinner, which makes it very vulnerable to gravity. To add to that, and elastin reserves – two building blocks of taut and springy skin – start depleting once you hit 25. As a result, you may begin to see these changes on your neck.

Neck lines can appear as early as your 20s.

Many factors can cause an aging neck, but one that may move you to is tech neck. It generally refers to neck pain caused by looking down at a screen for too long, though experts also use it to describe horizontal neck skin folds from repeated movement. When you hunch over your device, you’re putting a lot of strain on the delicate skin. The more you bend your head down for long periods, the sooner start to set in.

If your neck lines are particularly prominent, genetics may be at play. Smoking can also be the culprit since it speeds up skin aging.

Vertical neck bands make you look tense.

Vertical neck bands, also known as platysmal bands, are usually visible when you clench your teeth or strain to make a grimacing face. However, they become more pronounced as you age due to skin laxity. The also adds that muscle activity, coupled with thinning skin, also contributes to these lines.

Crepey and loose skin occur over time.

The most common sign of an aging neck is crepey skin around the décolletage area. As you age, your skin loses its ability to bounce back like it used to. Gravity also pulls your skin downwards, causing it to hang loosely and create the “turkey neck” effect.

Reddish-brown spots from sun exposure.

Mottled pigmentation, or poikiloderma of Civatte, can affect everyone of all ages but is particularly common in . A drop in estrogen levels makes the skin more sensitive to , resulting in uneven pigmentation and, in some cases, spidery red lines on the sides of your neck.

How to Protect Your Aging Neck

Sorry to break the news, but there isn’t a magical solution to halt this natural process entirely. But although you can’t turn back time, you can take extra steps to slow it down as well as minimize the lines, wrinkles, and spots on your neck.

1. Show your neck the same care you give your face.

All too often, people pay attention to their faces, and rightfully so. Necks, however, don’t get the same amount of love. A few drops of and every night can help rejuvenate the area. But before you apply any product, cleanse the skin with mild soap.

The thinner skin on the neck area also makes it prone to dryness. Try Dove Pink Beauty Bar to cleanse and add extra suppleness to the area. The product has¼ moisturizing cream for softer, smoother, and more radiant skin.

If you prefer using a liquid cleanser, opt for Dove Deeply Nourishing Body Wash, which cleans like soap and moisturizes like lotion. Made with NutriumMoisture™ technology, it delivers nutrients deep into the surface layers of the skin and seals in hydration.

2. Protect with sunscreen.

Daily sun protection is a must. Without it, UVA and UVB can penetrate the epidermis and damage the skin cells, leading to premature aging and a host of other concerns.

Spread a broad-spectrum sunscreen with all over your neck and chest every morning. Reapply it once every two – four, if you’re indoors – hours. If you’re doing outdoor activities, it’s best to wear protective clothing, such as scarves or bandanas around your neck.

Everyone wants to look young as long as possible – it’s only natural. Still, accepting that an aging neck is a natural and inevitable part of life can be liberating. Skincare and treatments can help maintain your youthful appearance but eventually, we’ll all undergo changes that are beyond our control. So, whether your neck is droopy, wrinkly, or speckled, you don’t need to feel bad about it.