Q: Why does my neck look like it’s aging twice as fast as the rest of me, and what can I do about it?

Neck skin tends to age “faster than almost any place else on the body,” said Dr. Theodora Mauro, a professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco. The skin on your neck is “particularly vulnerable” to damage, she said; poor posture, insufficient skin care, sun exposure and the natural weakening and decline of your neck muscles can all lead to accelerated aging.

The skin on your neck also doesn’t heal as well as it does elsewhere on the body because the skin there is less durable and has fewer stem cells and other structures that help repair it, said Dr. Katie Given, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon in the Bay Area who has written about skin aging in the lower face and neck. When it comes to slowing the aging process for neck skin, she said, “the trick is prevention, prevention, prevention.”

Your neck needs sun protection

“Sun is your neck’s enemy,” Dr. Mauro said. Many signs of aging on the neck can be traced back to sun exposure. When your skin is exposed to even a little sunlight, she explained, ultraviolet A waves reach the dermis, or the skin’s inner layer, and damage the cells that are responsible for producing collagen and elastin.

Collagen and elastin are two proteins that are essential for keeping your skin’s structure intact, said Dr. Oma Agbai, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at UC Davis Medical Center. “Collagen helps to maintain firmness of the skin, and elastin helps it resume its original shape after it has been stretched,” she said. The dermis, which comprises these proteins, “tends to be thinner on the neck compared to other parts of the body, like the face and the upper arms,” she added.

Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to a “more crepey and more wrinkled” appearance, as well as skin discoloration and sunspots, Dr. Agbai said.

People often forget to use sunscreen on their necks, Dr. Mauro said, but protecting that area is just as important as protecting the rest of your body. She recommended using a moisturizing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day; apply liberally all over your neck, she said, and if you’re outside, reapply periodically throughout the day.

Treat your neck as well as you treat your face

People tend to lavish attention and care on their faces, Dr. Agbai said, regularly applying serums, moisturizers and more. Necks, on the other hand, don’t tend to get much love. We should be including that area in our skin care routines, she said, applying products all the way down to our necks.

As we grow older, our skin loses some of its capacity to retain moisture, Dr. Mauro said. The skin on our necks becomes dry, dull and less smooth. So make sure you use a moisturizer both morning and night, she said, and avoid using alcohol-based skin care products on your neck since they are likely to dry your skin out even more. Many soaps contain ingredients called surfactants that also dehydrate the skin, she said, and products like Ivory bar soap have alkaline ingredients, like sodium tallowate, that throw off the skin’s pH levels and moisture barrier. If a product leaves your skin looking and feeling dry, that might be a sign for you to switch to something different.