If the eyes are windows to the soul, the neck is the superhighway to the face. Seriously. It’s home to lymph nodes and major veins and arteries, which carry blood and lymph to and from the head. Close to the neck are our thyroid and thymus glands, both of which moderate hormones.
Tech neck or text neck is a relatively new phenomenon that nods to our digital addictions—always looking down at our devices, the neck is in a protracted position now more than ever. “Our posture is getting shittier,” said Britta Plug, aesthetician and holistic health coach, who has seen tech neck affect her New York City client base.
“As soon as the neck is routinely pulled out of alignment, the muscles start to take new shape. The skin will behave differently as a result of the underlying tension, and bunching will affect the flow of lymph and blood to the face.” In other words, yes, your Instagram habit is quite literally robbing your skin of radiance.
“The massage teachers I studied with—in both Eastern and Western philosophies—say that you have to work the neck first in facial massage. We almost might as well not work the face if we’re forgoing the neck,” said Plug.
“I think all neck products are mostly marketing,” said Cybele Fishman, M.D. “Any good anti-aging product for the face will benefit the neck taking into account caveats about irritation.” So it’s safe to use face products on your neck, but Dr. Fishman recommends choosing products that are more gentle. When it comes to using a retinoid, “you need to decrease the strength of the retinoid,” she said. So if you use a 0.05 percent formula on your face, use a 0.025 percent on your neck, or decrease the frequency, for example.