Your medicine cabinet is probably filled to the brim with lotions for your face and body. But what about creams for your neck? Although some may argue that moisturizers for your face, body and neck are all the same, a neck cream is designed to target specific skin 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, we spoke to board-certified dermatologists about what active skin care ingredients to look for to help combat these concerns and other factors to consider when shopping for one to implement into your daily skin care routine.
SKIP AHEAD The best neck creams | How to shop for neck creams
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: It’s important to shop based on your skin type — the same way you wouldn’t use a curly-hair shampoo if you have straight hair, you should find a neck cream that matches your skin type. Oily and acne-prone skin should look for a noncomedogenic cream. Dehydrated skin, which may feel itchy or dry, will probably respond better to a formula with hyaluronic acid. Those with mature and sensitive skin should look for a hydrating cream but if you also have sensitive skin avoid irritants like fragrance.
- Ingredients: Neck creams will generally help moisturize the skin. To help get even more out of your creams, look for formulas with added ingredients like retinol, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C. If you want to promote skin cell turnover and improve texture, retinol-based creams will be best, according to our experts. Hyaluronic acid and ceramides are also helpful ingredients to have in a formula since they can reduce the appearance of fine lines and add hydration. You should also look for formulas with antioxidants, like vitamin C, to help protect the skin from sun exposure and stimulate collagen production, according to our experts.
- Neck concern: When shopping, first figure out what problem you are trying to address. If you are looking to add moisture to the neck area, look for formulas that are specifically targeted toward hydration. 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 2024
Below, we rounded up dermatologist-recommended neck creams, plus some highly rated options to consider that align with our experts’ guidance. Every option on this list focuses on hydration — our necks do not produce as much oil as our faces and are therefore naturally dry. We also included options that have retinol, retinol alternatives and antioxidants to suit various skin concerns and types.
Neocutis Neo Firm Neck Cream
Akhavan recommends this neck cream since it’s especially good at helping with hydration. It can also help firm up loose skin from the glycolic acid, jojoba oil and vitamin C in its formula since they exfoliate, hydrate and boost collagen production, says Akhavan. You can use it both day and night and should apply it in an upward motion, according to Neocutis.
La Mer The Neck & Décolleté Concentrate
To wrap up her nighttime skin care routine, NBC Select SEO editor Nikki Brown reaches for this rich cream because of how hydrating it is. “It has a thick consistency but absorbs at a surprisingly fast rate and leaves behind a beautiful sheen,” says Brown. It also comes with an applicator to help evenly spread the cream across your neck and decollete. “The mini brush made applying the cream feel like a ritual and something to look forward to every day,” she says.
Perricone MD Cold Plasma Plus+ Neck & Chest Broad Spectrum SPF 25
This firming neck cream has a lightweight, whipped texture that’s fragrance-free, making it great for all skin types, even for those with sensitive skin, according to the brand. It has vitamin C and vitamin E to help even skin tone and dark spots, peptides to firm the skin and mineral-based sunscreen so you can wear it during the day, according to Perricone. Reviewers say this neck cream, which has a 4.1-star average rating from 1,100 reviews on Amazon, is also fast-absorbing and noticeably tightens the skin on their neck, jawline and décolleté.
BareMinerals Ageless Phyto-Retinol Neck Cream
Retinols can be irritating for certain skin types, so this retinol alternative-based neck cream is a good swap. The plant-based retinol, which has hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and peptides, helps reduce the chances of sensitivity, while also improving the skin’s texture, says Green. Since it has a retinol alternative, it is safe to use in the morning and at night, according to the brand.
Strivectin TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream Plus
This Strivectin cream is a favorite of NBC Select editor Lindsay Schneider’s because of its rich, thick consistency. “It’s quite thick, but that’s exactly why I like it,” she says. “It feels like it is making a difference on my neck, chest and décolletage. A little goes a long way; plus, I can still apply SPF or makeup over it.” The neck cream comes in two other sizes including a travel version.
Neostrata Triple Firming Neck Cream
This cream, which has a 4.2-star average rating from over 580 reviews on Amazon, is pregnancy-safe, and helps tighten and firm your skin, according to the brand. The nonsticky formula is fast-absorbing, so it doesn’t transfer onto your clothes or settle in the creases of your neck, according to the brand. For the best results, apply one pump of the cream to your neck and dedécolletage in the morning and at night.
Tatcha Ageless Revitalizing Japanese Neck Cream
Suitable for dry skin, this Tatcha formula is also especially hydrating, according to Green. That’s because it has ingredients that help promote water retention and smooth fine lines, she says. Each tub comes with a gold spoon, so you can easily scoop out the right amount needed for your neck and décolletage.
Revision Skincare Nectifirm
Akhavan has seen positive results from his patients — specifically those with mature and dry skin — who use this. It has natural oils, which help with hydration, as well as antioxidants and peptides, which can reduce the appearance of fine lines, according to Akhavan. You can use this on your décolletage and even your jawline, too.
Caudalie Resveratrol-lift Retinol Alternative Firming Night Moisturizer
Suitable for oily and acne-prone skin, Green recommends this moisturizer because it won’t clog pores or cause any unwanted breakouts. Instead of using retinol, which can be irritating, it instead uses a retinol alternative to help firm the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines, according to the brand. Safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding, you can apply this to your face and neck at night after using a serum, according to Caudalie.
No. 7 Restore & Renew Face & Neck Cream SPF 30
To prevent visible signs of aging from sun damage, this neck cream has the dermatologist-recommended SPF minimum of 30 and ingredients to target neck area concerns, says Green, so it’s a great option to use during the day. The fragrance-free formula also has peptides and hyaluronic acid to firm up skin, and vitamin C for brightening.
Roc Multi Correxion Crepe Repair Face & Neck Cream
This face and neck cream is great for those with oily skin, but can also work for mature skin, too, according to Green. “It plumps creases and fills out the lines and wrinkles around crepey skin,” she says. The scented cream is also the most affordable option on our list.
What do neck creams do?
Unlike a regular daily face or body moisturizer, neck creams are designed to target the neck area specifically and have ingredients you won’t always find in your standard lotion or cream. Although there is some overlap between all three skin care products, neck creams tend to have more actives with higher concentrations, says Akhavan. They also tend to have heavier oils than a standard face cream because there is less worry about clogging pores since the oil production is lower on your neck.
For example, when the neck area gets depleted of collagen and elastin, you might start to see fine lines and loose skin. A neck cream can help the skin at a cellular level by boosting collagen production and elasticity, which helps fill in those fine lines, improve the texture of skin and hydrate the skin, according to Akhavan.
How to shop for the best neck creams
When shopping, 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 neck 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 first identify what you’re hoping to achieve.
The skin on our neck can be drier than the skin on our face because it doesn’t produce as much oil. Because of this, it can be especially helpful to use heavier oils and fats in neck creams to make sure the skin on your neck is getting the moisturize it needs, says Akhavan. When shopping, look for formulas with hydrating ingredients — especially if you are also using a retinol that can dry out the skin, according to our experts.
If you have sensitive skin, look for creams without any irritants, including fragrances and dyes, to avoid any reactions or redness. If you have oily or acne-prone skin and are concerned about clogging your pores with oils or rich creams, look for formulas that are noncomedogenic.
Like face and body lotions, neck creams will have various ingredients to help moisturize the skin; they will also have ingredients that help address neck-specific concerns, whether it is tone and texture or fine lines. Our experts recommend looking for four categories of ingredients when shopping: retinol, hyaluronic acid and ceramides, antioxidants and exfoliants.
- When it comes to smoothing fine lines, retinol is the best ingredient to have in a formula, according to Akhavan. Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that promotes skin cell turnover to improve skin’s texture, says Green. However, since the neck area tends to be drier because of its lack of oil production, retinol can exacerbate that issue. Consider products that also have ingredients like glycerin to counteract this issue, according to Akhavan.
- Hyaluronic acid and ceramides are great when you want something smoothing and hydrating, according to Green.
- Antioxidants are another category to look for; they play a major role in neck creams. Vitamin C specifically is a popular ingredient you may find since it helps even skin tone and stimulate collagen production, according to Green. (Collagen is the building block and underlying support of your skin; when your skin has enough support, it can improve fine lines, sagging skin and elasticity according to Akhavan.)
- If you want a cream that will remove dead skin and help renew the skin at a faster rate, look for glycolic acid, according to Akhavan. The chemical exfoliant helps by causing minor yet healthy inflammation. “The inflammation activates the body’s natural wound healing pathways to generate collagen and elastin,” says Akhavan. Glycolic acid is typically safe to use on all skin types. However, it may cause irritation for those with sensitive skin or can be irritating improperly combined with retinol, according to experts in our guide on alpha-hydroxy acids.
Meet our experts
At NBC 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 noninvasive 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, nonsurgical neck lifts, body contouring and more.
Why trust NBC Select?
Bianca Alvarez has been covering beauty for a year and has written about various skin care topics including blackhead treatments and the best salicylic acid products. For this piece, she interviewed dermatologists and researched top-rated neck creams on the market. She also included expert recommended products and NBC Select staff favorites that met their shopping guidance.
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