When it comes to our skincare routine, most of us tend to focus on our faces. But it’s not the only place subject to fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. The same way your forehead, chin, and the area in between can burn when exposed to direct sunlight, UV damage may make an appearance south of your visage too. Keep reading to find out which surprising spots we’re missing in our anti-aging routine and the best ways to tweak our practice so we never forget them again.

Check up from the Neck up

Asian woman applying cream to her neck.

While we’ve all been told just how important it is to extend the skincare love past our chin, that doesn’t mean we always remember to. But, if you’ve ever had a spa facial, you’ll notice that not only will the skincare application process incorporate the neck, but it will often start there as a whole. “The skin on your neck is thinner than on your face,” says Debra Jaliman, an assistant professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “The muscle and skin tissue on the neck is also weaker than the face.” This means that it is just as, if not more, susceptible to the signs of aging — including everything from wrinkles to sagging — because it lacks the strength and resilience to bounce back. As a result, without proper care, it’s likely that jowls could become more prominent. (Photo via Ian Hooton/ Getty)

And it doesn’t take a huge change to incorporate the area into your routine. You can still use whatever you use on your face, just make sure to apply it to the neck with sweeping upward motions to encourage lift. To get your neck in check, Jaliman recommends looking for products that stimulate collagen production, like La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense 24 Hour Rehydrating Face Moisturizer ($36), as well as ingredients like hyaluronic acid, which is known to hydrate and plump the skin. “Hyaluronic acid will help to reduce the neck’s crepey appearance,” she says.

If you want a skincare solution with more serious staying power, you can look into injectables to iron out wrinkles in the area. “Wrinkle-relaxing treatments like Botox and Dysport are commonly used in the neck to improve the appearance of neck bands and lines,” says NYC-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner. “At the same time, it can help lift and firm the jawline.” Jaliman also points to platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections to lift sagging chin and neck skin, though they require a series of sessions to maintain.

Deck Out Your Décolletage

Woman applying cream to her chest.

Aside from our faces, our chests are often one of the first places to burn — meaning it’s prime for premature aging. “Areas such as the back of the hands and the chest are extremely thin-skinned, which means that continued ultraviolet light exposure may be associated with earlier aging [compared to] other parts of the body where the skin foundation is stronger and more [resistant to] wrinkling,” Zeichner says. (Photo via macniak/ Getty)

To repair any sun damage, turn to low-dose hydroxy acids and vitamin C — just be sure to only use them at night since they can make the skin extra sensitive to the sun’s UV rays, and opt for lower concentrations overall. “Since the skin is thin and sensitive [in these areas], [higher concentrations] may lead to irritation more easily on areas like the upper chest and hands compared to the face,” Zeichner warns.

If you prefer something in-office, there are a number of treatments to consider for a brighter, firmer décolletage. Chemical peels can be an easy solution but take time to recover from before you see results. Fractional lasers like Clear + Brilliant, as well as intense pulsed light (IPL) lasers on the other hand, can offer instant gratification for dark spots and even broken capillaries. “The laser energy creates millions of microscopic treatment zones in your skin in order to stimulate collagen building and replace damaged skin with healthy, younger looking tissue,” says Jaliman.

Give Yourself a Helping Hand

Woman applying hand cream.

The fact that our hands are one of the first parts to show signs of aging shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, we use them daily, but we don’t protect and treat them as much as our faces. “As you get older, the natural fat in the hands begins to deteriorate, and the underlying tendons and veins become more pronounced,” explains NYC-based dermatologist Doris Day. “Patients often come to me saying that the appearance of their hands does not match the appearance of their youthful face.” (Photo via ChristopherBernard/ Getty)

In order to maintain that youthful appearance, you’re going to need more than a little hand cream. Jaliman notes that many people forget to apply a solid sunscreen on their hands, which leaves them exposed to the elements that can lead to signs of aging. She recommends using a body lotion formulated with retinol, like the ReplenixSmoothing Body Lotion ($81) or the Nivea Q10 Plus Skin Firming Hydration Body Lotion ($11), to help increase cell turnover and kick collagen production back in gear. What’s more, if you have some serum or moisturizer left over after catering to your facial complexion, feel free to smooth it on the back of your hands.

Want to turn back the clock at a faster rate? Fractional lasers and IPL can help zap age spots instantly, just like on your chest or face. Day also recommends injectable fillers like Restylane Lyft, a hyaluronic acid gel that was FDA-approved this year for restoring the volume in your hands. “Volume loss requires more than topical creams or lasers to treat,” she says. “[Restylane Lyft] is a safe, dissolvable filler and an ideal option for those who are looking to restore volume loss.”

Just Start Slowly

You woman applying moisturizer to her neck.

While it should be a cinch to incorporate all of these additional areas into your skincare routine, the experts advise starting off slow as your skin adjusts to the ingredients in those spots. “Use one new product at a time, and start by applying every other day and work your way up to once or twice a day if no irritation,” explains Day. “After two weeks of no reaction to a product you can introduce another one.” This is especially true when it comes to retinol, which should be applied every other or every third night, depending on how your skin tolerates it, and then gradually increased to nightly use over the course of four to six weeks to avoid any irritation. (Photo via Luxy Images/ Getty)

Another way to avoid inflammation: Slather on some sunscreen. While it should already be a staple in your routine since it prevents many signs of premature aging, SPF is especially important when working with hydroxy acids, retinoids, and laser treatments since they can do more harm than good, ending in serious irritation and even scarring, when triggered by UV rays.

Whether you decide to opt for OTC or in-office skincare solutions, the best way to get the most out of a full-body anti-aging routine is to talk with your dermatologist to determine which formulas are best for your skin type and the beauty benefits you’re aiming to achieve.

Do you apply your skincare essentials to other areas of your body? Let us know @BritandCo!

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