Your medicine cabinet is probably filled to the brim with lotions for your face and body. But what about a neck cream? Although some may argue that all three are the same, a neck cream can help target the skin’s specific concerns in that area in ways that other moisturizers cannot, says Dr. Arash Akhavan, a board-certified dermatologist who focuses on the neck area among others.
Like the face, the neck can develop fine lines and crepey skin over time. Luckily, neck creams can help prevent and target these concerns, according to our experts. To determine the best neck creams of 2023, we spoke to board-certified dermatologists about the active skin care ingredients to help combat these concerns and other factors to consider when shopping for one to implement into your daily routine.
Our top picks
How we picked the best neck creams
We spoke to experts about what to look for to make sure your neck cream is effectively helping your skin. They recommend considering the following in mind:
Skin type: Oily and acne-prone skin should look for a non-comedogenic cream. Dehydrated skin, which may feel itchy or dry, will probably respond better to a neck cream with hyaluronic acid. Mature and sensitive skin should also choose a hydrating neck cream but sensitive skin should avoid irritants like fragrance.
Ingredients: Our experts recommend looking for a neck cream with retinol, which helps promote skin cell turnover and improve texture. Hyaluronic acid and ceramides are hydrating ingredients that also help reduce the appearance of fine lines while antioxidants including vitamin C help against sun exposure and stimulate collagen production, according to our experts.
Neck concern: If you are looking to add moisture to the neck area, you may want to buy a neck cream with ingredients like hyaluronic acid. If you’re taking preventative measures, consider a morning neck cream with an SPF. To combat crepey skin, consider a firming neck cream that will target loose skin.
The best neck creams in 2023
Below, we’ve rounded up dermatologist-recommended neck creams, plus some highly rated ones to consider that align with our experts’ guidance.
This neck cream by Neocutis provides lots of hydration which is why Akhavan recommends this product. Not only does it hydrate the dry area, but it also firms the loose skin on the neck with ingredients like glycolic acid, jojoba oil and vitamin C since they exfoliate, hydrate and boost collagen production, says Akhavan. Apply the cream on the neck and decollete area in an upward motion and use it both in the morning and at night, according to Neocutis.
Suitable for dry skin, this Tatcha neck cream is formulated with hydrating ingredients, according to board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green. “It has Japanese superfoods such as Okinawa Red Algae and Akita Rice to promote water retention and nourish the skin with essential proteins and has natural botanical actives to smooth fine lines,” Green says. Apply a coin-size amount and apply the cream upwards in the morning and at night, according to the brand.
Suitable for oily and acne-prone skin, Green recommends this product because it won’t clog pores or cause any unwanted breakouts. Safe for both the face and neck, you can apply the product at night after using a serum, recommends Caudalie.
This neck cream is one that Akhavan’s patients have used and seen positive results. Suitable for normal and mature skin, this product has natural oils, antioxidants and peptides, says Akhavan. The oils hydrate the skin while the antioxidants and peptides help reduce the appearance of fine lines.
This RoC face and neck cream is great for oily skin but also can work for mature skin, too, because: “it plumps creases and fills out the lines and wrinkles around crepey skin, revealing hydrated and firmer-looking skin,” says Green.
Retinols can be irritating for certain skin types, so this retinol alternative neck cream is a good swap. The plant-based retinol helps to reduce the chances of sensitivity, while also improving skin’s texture with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and peptides, says Green.
To prevent visible signs of aging from sun damage, this neck cream has dermatologist-recommended SPF 30 and ingredients to target neck area concerns, says Green. The fragrance-free formula has peptides and hyaluronic acid to firm the skin and vitamin C to brighten, she adds. Use the neck cream after cleansing in the morning on both the face and neck, avoiding the eye area, according to No. 7.
This Stivectin cream is a favorite of NBC Select editor Lindsay Schneider because of its thick consistency. “This cream is thick, but that’s exactly why I like it,” she says. “It feels like it makes a difference on my neck, chest and décolletage. Plus, I can still apply SPF or makeup over it.” The neck cream comes in three other sizes as well including a travel, small and large version.
How to shop for the best neck creams
When shopping for neck creams, our experts recommend keeping in mind certain ingredients and your specific skin type. Below, we break down how to decide which eye cream is best for you.
Neck creams can help soften fine lines, protect skin from sun exposure and treat existing concerns like discoloration and skin elasticity. To find the best neck or face cream for you, you should identify what you’re hoping to achieve.
The neck can be drier than the face because it doesn’t produce as much oil. Because of this, it’s safe to use heavier oils and fats to moisturize the skin regardless of your skin type, says Akhavan. However, there are plenty of neck creams that are non-comedogenic which makes it suitable for oily and acne-prone skin if you prefer. It’s important to have a neck cream that contains hydrating ingredients especially if using a retinol that can dry out the skin, according to our experts. For those with sensitive skin, consider a neck cream that is not only hydrating but is also formulated without any irritants including fragrances and dyes to avoid any reactions or redness.
Retinol is king when it comes to smoothing fine lines. For anyone unfamiliar, it’s a vitamin A derivative that promotes skin cell turnover to improve skin’s texture, says Green. As mentioned above, both hyaluronic acid and ceramides are great ingredients for hydration and smoothing fine lines, according to Green.
Our experts also say that antioxidants play a major role in neck creams — vitamin C being a popular one since it helps to even skin tone and stimulate collagen production. For a little exfoliation, look for glycolic acid on the ingredient label, according to Akhavan.
What do neck creams do?
Unlike your regular daily face or body moisturizer, a neck cream can help target that specific area and combat concerns with the help of ingredients that won’t always be found in your standard lotion or cream. Although there is some overlap between all three products, it has more actives and valuable ingredients, says Akhavan.
The neck area can often get depleted of collagen and elastin which causes those fine lines and loose skin. A neck cream can help the skin at a cellular level with the help of ingredients by boosting collagen production and elasticity which helps fill in those fine lines, improve the texture of skin and hydrate the skin.
Do neck creams work?
Neck creams can help show improvement in that particular area because of the concentration of ingredients that target concerns and promote new skin cell growth for improved tone and texture, according to our experts.
However, in some cases, a neck cream is not enough to combat issues like loose skin and fine lines. After speaking to your dermatologist, non-invasive procedures like laser treatments and injectables like Botox can help reduce the appearance of your concerns and may be the better route if a neck cream isn’t able to help, according to Green.
When should you start using neck cream?
Individuals begin introducing neck creams in their 20s and 30s, according to our experts. Once we turn 20 our body slowly starts decreasing collagen production and by age 25 we begin to see some of these signs like fine lines, says Green.
Depending on your skin type and skin concern, you might begin earlier or later than others. However, once you begin to introduce a neck cream into your skin care routine it’s important to make sure you get the most effectiveness out of it.
You should apply a neck cream twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. “Neck creams should be layered after lightweight products, such as treatments or serums, to hydrate and protect the skin from environmental factors,” Green says. It’s also recommended to follow up with sunscreen in the morning if your cream does not already have SPF.
Meet our experts
At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.
Dr. Arash Akhavan is a board-certified dermatologist and founder and director of The Dermatology & Laser Group in New York City. His areas of expertise include non-invasive and minimally invasive procedures on the face, neck and body.
Dr. Michele Green is a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at her own private practice in New York City. Her areas of expertise include skin cancer, skin disorders, non-surgical neck lifts, body contouring and more.
Why trust Select?
Bianca Alvarez has been covering beauty for a year and has written about various skin care topics. For this piece, Bianca interviewed two dermatologists and researched many neck creams on the market. She recommended products the dermatologists shared with us and met their shopping guidance.