Put Your Best Chest Forward: Expert Advice for a Younger Looking Chest
I have to admit, I do like a good turtleneck as much as the next woman, but when the right occasion warrants it, I'd still like to don my fair share of cleavage-baring ensembles without feeling like I'm inviting criticism. Though I've always taken great care of my complexion with antioxidant serums, moisturizing creams and masks, broad spectrum sun protection, facials and other face-saving, rejuvenating treatments, I've been far less diligent in other oft-exposed zones, including my chest. Luckily, I've yet to experience the telltale signs of aged and damaged skin in this area, but I have a feeling it's in my not-too-distant future if I don't step things up a notch.
Honolulu, Hawaii based board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Clyde H. Ishii, has a wealth of knowledge on the subject and was more than willing to share his advice with Smart Beauty Guide readers. "As women age, the skin on their chest gets thinner, loses elasticity and can even develop red and brown spots as well as wrinkles," says Dr. Ishii. He adds, "Chronic exposure to the sun accelerates this process as does smoking, and if you're a woman with a lighter skin tone you're more prone to chest wrinkles than those with darker complexions, since darker skin is naturally thicker and more photo protective."
So…what exactly can be done to prevent future damage or treat the chest area once issues have started to arise? Dr. Ishii says, "There are a variety of anti-aging, over-the-counter products and spa treatments for the chest, but their efficacy has limited value because the skin in the chest and neck areas have fewer pilosebaceous units (hair follicles and the oil-producing glands in the skin) than the facial skin does." However, don't be too disheartened -- all hope is not lost.
It's common knowledge that it's always easier to prevent any damage to your skin from occurring in the first place than it is to play catch up and treat it once the damage is already done, so clearly, preventing photo aging through the use of sun protection and sun protective clothing is the best thing you can do to guard against chest wrinkles. Dr. Ishii also recommends the following to help treat and even reverse the damage that might have already occurred:
- Use topical vitamin C products. Vitamin C is a well-known powerful antioxidant, capable of shielding skin from free radical damage that can cause premature aging. It's also been credited with helping to even out skin tone, reduce inflammation and boost collagen production.
- Apply retinol. Retinol, a form of Vitamin A, has antioxidant properties that can help prevent and decrease wrinkles, boost collagen production and diminish an uneven skin tone.
- Undergo in-office IPL treatments. IPL (aka Intense Pulsed Light or photo rejuvenation) can be used to lighten or remove sun spots or other red and brown spots on the chest and other areas of the body.
- Fractional and non-ablative lasers can help to smooth fine lines and wrinkles and improve the skin's texture, too.
- Light chemical peels aren't for the face and hands only. They're also being used on the chest area to smooth skin texture and decrease wrinkles and fine lines.
- There are newer treatments for the chest area including fat grafting and the injection of soft tissue fillers in the works, but further study is needed before they can be recommended as viable solutions.
To maintain the results you've achieved from any of these or a combination of these solutions, Dr. Ishii highly recommends the continued use of topical vitamin C, retinols and periodic light peels, fractional/nonablative lasers or IPL so more damage doesn’t accrue. Also, make religious use of a high SPF broad spectrum sunscreen a part of your daily skincare regimen and keep in mind that sunscreen needs to be applied throughout the day to maintain its effectiveness. If wrinkles haven’t yet appeared on your chest, then you’re in luck! Start loading up on that sunscreen even in the fall and winter. You’ll be bearing some cleavage with confidence for years to come.