The nape of the neck, a much sexier name for the back of the neck, has long been a site of male gaze and considered part of the arsenal of feminine beauty. It is no surprise then that, much like the attraction of the decolletage, fashion styles have taken advantage of this association. For what would a Jane Austen ballroom scene be without delicate up-do’s and strategically revealed napes.
And while today’s penchant for strapless is anything less than scandalous, I would argue the nape is oft neglected in many a skincare routine.
And so, it should be treated with the same love and care as the front of your neck and decolletage. Especially when it comes to sweaty gym gear and sun protection. As one of the most common parts of the body to develop skin cancer, it’s essential to apply sunscreen and make the most of available shade – including from a wide-brim hat. Not easy to inspect either, your GP will be sure to include the nape as part of an annual skin check.
Lastly, the nape of the neck is home to some pretty major muscles. They help support the weight of your head and move it in different directions. It’s also a place where stress and tension like to hang out (go on, give them a feel now). Try applying firmer pressure with a facial roller or gua sha at home. Or, help release muscles by performing gentle chin tucks and neck stretches at work, where posture really is key.
Mayo Clinic Neck Stretch
- Bend your head forward and slightly to the right.
- With your right hand, gently pull your head downward. You’ll feel a nice, easy stretch along the back left side of your neck.
- Hold for about 30 seconds.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
A New Year and perhaps, a new routine for the nape of your neck.
Image courtesy of QAGOMA Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec / France 1864–1901 / Tête de fille (Head of a girl) 1892 / Oil on canvas.