Most of us have been cleansing and moisturizing since we were in high school but how many pay attention to our chest? The skin on the décolletage is very fragile as it produces less oil than the face, but also often receives more sun exposure. Forgetting to apply SPF and neglecting to nourish it can result in premature ageing quicker than you'd imagine. Here's why and how to care for your neckline TODAY.
1. The neckline is often one of the first places to show signs of aging.
"The majority of sun damage is done in childhood/teens/early adult in the décolletage area," Dr Philippa Lowe Skin Specialist at the Cranley Clinic explains. The skin around your chest and neck is very thin; it contains less sebaceous glands and limited melanocytes (cells that give color to your skin and protect it from UV rays)—so damage is more easily done.
2. Skipping SPF is irreversible.
Your chest area is one of the most UV exposed areas of the body and therefore suffers harsh sun damage when exposed over time. To combat this be sure to wear broad spectrum sunscreen when your neck or chest is uncovered. This is a must even in cloudy weather—those rays will still be damaging you.
3. An SPF foundation is not enough, though.
Tom Ogden, EU Business Manager at Alpha-H explains, "The most important product to recommend is daily SPF protection. A lot of women rely on foundation to provide protection, but they're not blending it down onto their neck in sufficient amounts to block damaging UVA rays." You've been warned.
4. "Sleep wrinkles" are a thing (and can show on your chest).
Side sleeper? Apparently curling up on your side can also speed up chest wrinkles and have a sagging effect. Try to get off to sleep when lying on your back.
5. Most of us forget to cleanse that area properly.
Clarisonic Training Manager, Jeanette Nexgaard suggests cleaning the neckline properly to buff away the build-up of dead skin cells and pores that are blocked with dirt (eww). "My best tip is to treat your décolleté like you treat your face." Get cleansing.
6. The special skin there has special needs.
The skin of the décolletage has some unique attributes that require special care Rebecca Booth, M.D. founder of VENeffect Anti-Aging Skin Care told us. "It is a high histamine response area, and thus red flushing can occur, so it is important to choose a skin care product that is free of fragrance."
7. Indeed, yourbody lotion just isn't enough.
Most women think skincare stops at the neck. However, Anna Persaud, CEO of This Works says "the quality of most daily body lotions is insufficient to treat or delay signs of aging on the neckline because to include active ingredients at therapeutic concentrations is expensive and these products are priced to be included as part of the weekly shop.'' If you're serious about treating your chest, shop for décolletage-specific skincare.
8. But you can tone your skin as you pamper it.
Ole Henriksen, founder of OleHenriksen cosmetics gave us the ideal method for applying cream to your décolletage: "Tilt your head back, relax your upper body, and open and close your mouth—jetting your jaw forward and tensing it as you do it. The platysma on the neck muscles are like cords, you are strengthening them that way. The muscles on the neck are independent from the skin, unlike the face where it's all glued together. Apply the neck crème first with vigorous upward strokes using your entire palm, and then do the exercise. Repeat the exercise 20 times each night to get great results!"
9. Getting older can be a bitch, basically.
?"Overtime, gravity, UV damage, stress and age lead to visible ageing and loss of skin's support structure at a rapid pace in the neck and décolleté. The loss of collagen leads to sagging and visible horizontal rings around the neck, crepey texture and creases in the décolleté area, along with visible discoloration of the skin." Dr Lieve Declercq from Origins explains. Our ability to retain water also diminishes—meaning more wrinkles. Fight the aging process by using a moisture-retaining cream and keep hydrated; if you're dehydrated on the inside, the skin on the outside will be too. Keep a 2-liter bottle of water on your desk and aim to finish it every day.?
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.