Magazines, movies, social media… society spends a whole lot of time focused on women’s chests. But how much are you thinking about your own? If you’re like many women, you have a solid skincare routine and take measures to keep your complexion in top shape, but are you giving your décolletage area the attention it deserves?
Before we dive in, let’s get one thing straight. You’ve probably heard the bust region described as the décolleté and décolletage. Which one is it?
Décolletage vs. Décolleté
Everything sounds better in French, non? Décolletage and décolleté are lovely words that originate from Français, and both refer to a fittingly delicate part of the body, comprised of the neck, chest, and shoulders. But what’s the difference?
According to the dictionary, décolletage is a noun, defined in three ways:
- The low-cut neckline of a dress
- A dress having a low-cut neckline
- Bust; the upper part of the human torso between the neck and waist
Often alternated with the word décolletage is the (primarily) adjective form, décolleté, which according to the dictionary, means one of two things:
- Wearing a strapless or low-necked dress
- Having a low-cut neckline
The catch is that over time, décolleté has evolved to often take on the same meaning as its noun counterpart, décolletage. So, long story short, they’re pretty accepted as interchangeable. But enough of the linguistics—let’s talk action.
5 Simple Treatments for Décolletage Wrinkles
We all know that the face is generally the first area to show signs of aging. But did you know that the décolletage is second on the list? There are several factors at play here: low oil production (even less than the face!), susceptibility to sun exposure, and the weight of the breasts, which all make it prime real estate for gravity and aging to work their black magic.
The neck and chest are also naturally thin-skinned, which means they produce less collagen to begin with. Tack that on to the fact that we lose volume in our skin as we get older, and the sag factor is just about inevitable. But whether you’re already showing some signs of mature skin or you’re looking to prevent future décolleté wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and drooping, we’ve got you covered with some easy-to-integrate décolletage treatments.
1. Sleep on Your Back
Bad news... sleep wrinkles are a thing! Side- and stomach-sleepers, you’ve been warned. When you sleep on your side, the chest presses up against itself, which can result in sagging and creases—and is exacerbated by heavy breasts.
While we’re on the subject, wearing sports bras and push-up bras that squeeze the breasts together can also have an impact over time, similar to the way making the same facial expression repeatedly can cause lines to form.
2. Spread the Skincare Love
The neck and chest are often exposed, especially in warmer seasons. So they’re just as susceptible as the face is to the elements: germs, air pollution, UV rays, you name it. And yet, many of us forget to even cleanse below the chin, let alone exfoliate and moisturize. It’s easy enough to give your neck a little TLC using your normal cleanser and scrub—and if you use a toner, go one step further and swipe that cotton pad all the way down to your chest, using whatever product remains from your facial routine.
And most importantly: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Because the neck has almost no oil glands, it’s highly prone to dryness. Dry skin is wrinkle-prone skin, so don’t forget to slather up with a good body oil or moisturizer. Keep in mind that the chest is a high histamine response region, so you may want to use fragrance-free products if you’re at all prone to allergies.
As an alternative to traditional moisturizers, you can also use a hydrating patch, like the SiO SkinPad, a super thin and comfortable medical-grade silicone pad that adheres to the chest and creates a moisture-intensive “microclimate” that plumps depleted skin and gently compresses fine lines and wrinkles. Sleep with it overnight, or squeeze in a quick session before a flirty night out in that low-cut LBD. Either way, one décollete pad lasts up to two weeks. And clinical studies on the product found that 89% of users’ skin felt rejuvenated after continuous use (45 times), and 93% felt their skin was more hydrated (Bioscreen 2017, CRL 2016).
3. Load Up on SPF
Nothing says aging like a crinkly décolletage with a crepey surface texture, fine lines that parallel the cleavage, and those pesky sunspots, which are all products of the wear and tear caused by UV rays. Not to mention, the sun is the most common cause of skin cancer. So, get smart!
We’ve been bombarded with warnings about sun damage to the face, so odds are you have some SPF built into your skincare and/or makeup routine by now. But are you neglecting your neck, chest, and shoulders? If you rely on your foundation for SPF, then you definitely need to snag some sunscreen in order to protect the skin below the chin.
Keep in mind that chemical sunscreens have been under fire in recent years for their potentially harmful ability to absorb into our bloodstreams and their negative impact on the environment. Just to be safe, spring for a mineral sunscreen made from zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
4. Rethink Your Shower Routine
When was the last time you did something to switch up your bathing routine? Considering how it can affect the health and appearance of your skin, it pays to give it a second look.
Before you even hop into the shower… fit in a good dry brushing session. If you’re not already familiar, dry brushing is an ancient ritual known to stimulate circulation, clear the pores, balance fat distribution, tone muscles, and remove dead skin cells. By brushing the skin with a dry, soft-bristled brush, you also encourage your oil glands to produce oil, which helps to protect the skin while also smoothing texture and strengthening elasticity. Spend a couple of minutes brushing before you step into the bath or shower, and then wash the dead skin and toxins away. Over time, you’ll start to see a noticeable improvement in the delicate skin of the décolletage.
Another thing to note? Soap can be highly alkaline and stripping of natural oils. For a part of the body that produces very little to begin with, this can wreak havoc. Try using your facial cleanser in this region rather than body wash, as it’s less likely to dry out and disrupt the skin barrier. And while you’re at it, try showering in warm—not hot—water, in order to prevent dehydration and irritation.
Last but not least, when you get out, make sure you’re dabbing your skin dry with a towel instead of rubbing, which can inflame the skin and even damage capillaries.
5. Work It Out
Exercise is great for all systems of the body, the skin included. But in this case, we’re talking about a very specific kind of fitness. Did you know you can actually strengthen the muscles of the neck and chest for a firm, taut, youthful appearance?
To strengthen the neck, tilt your head back, relax your upper body, move your mouth open and closed, and jut your chin forward, tensing your jaw. Repeat this about 20 times, then give yourself a nice self-massage using the palms and heels of your hands, making long, firm strokes from the center of the chest upwards and outwards through the neck and shoulders. As a bonus, this helps to stimulate blood flow which promotes skin regeneration. Do this every day to see major results. And once a month or so, sneak a self-exam into your routine to make sure you’re staying on top of breast health, too.
The poor, poor décolleté—so often neglected and so rarely pampered. We spend so much energy caring for our faces that many of us forget to even cleanse below the chin, let alone exfoliate, moisturize, and protect against cleavage and chest wrinkles. The truth is, the décolletage can tell someone’s age as clearly as the hands or the face. But with a little awareness and a few small change-ups to your normal skin care regimen, your glowing new décolleté just might give that cute face a run for its money.