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How to Care for Your Décolletage

Unknown woman touching her neck

When it comes to skin care, people usually tend to focus on the face, but did you know that the skin on your décolletage is just as fragile and delicate as the skin on your face? 

This is why the décolletage, which refers to the neck and chest, is usually more prone to developing the visible signs of aging when compared to the rest of the body.  

So, what is the best way to care for the skin here? 

Here are a few tips to help you out…

Daily Cleansing

Hopefully, you are already cleansing your face at the end of each day, which means that this is a routine that you can easily extend downwards to your décolletage too. 

If you don’t cleanse each day, then this is something that you need to start doing. 

Why is cleansing so important?

Well, even though you might not be able to see it, everything from dirt and pollutants to oil, dead skin cells and bacteria build up on the surface of your skin throughout the day. 

Infographic on how cleansing removes clogged pores

Not only does all of this lead to a rough and dull complexion, but it also ends up accelerating skin aging. 

How? 

Well, if they aren’t cleaned away, all of those unwanted particles begin to delve their way into your pores. This causes inflammation, which is something that is associated with free radical damage. 

How do free radicals actually damage the skin? 

In a number of ways, such as:  

  • Weakened skin and damaged elastin fibers, leading to loose and sagging skin 
  • Dark spots 
  • Broken and visible blood vessels 
  • Fine lines and wrinkles

Learning about how to minimize this free radical damage is important, and will be discussed in more detail further on, but prevention is always better than cure, which is where cleansing comes in. 

Cleansing will clear away all of the unwanted particles from the surface of your skin, preventing them from working their way into your pores and causing long term damage. 

You can use the same cleanser that you use on your face for your neck, meaning that you won’t need to purchase any extra products for this. 

Weekly Exfoliation

Exfoliation is just as important as cleansing when it comes to skin care. 

Wondering what the difference between the two is? 

Cleansing cleans the surface of your skin, while exfoliation works a little deeper, clearing out your pores too. 

This not only prevents free radical damage, but also increases the rate at which your skin produces new skin cells. 

This is key when it comes to maintaining a youthful complexion, as it means that your body is able to carry out its own natural exfoliating functions more efficiently. 

Wondering how often you should be exfoliating your décolletage? 

The same amount you exfoliate your face. 

This usually depends on your skin type – those with oily skin will need to exfoliate two to three times a week, whereas those with dry or sensitive skin should be exfoliating less. 

When it comes to your chosen method of exfoliation…

Chemical exfoliation is better for your décolletage than physical exfoliation. 

Why? 

Because physical exfoliation requires you to scrub at your skin, and all of this pulling and tugging ends up causing stress to your skin. When you have an area of skin that is so delicate, you want to minimize the friction caused to the area as much as possible. 

Chemical exfoliation will clear out your pores without causing any friction. If you opt for an alpha hydroxy acid, such as lactic acid or glycolic acid, this will also hydrate your skin, helping to minimize the appearance of any wrinkles or fine lines. 

Décolletage Masks

You are likely already familiar with face masks, but have you ever used a mask on your décolletage? 

The skin here needs these intensive treatments just as much as the skin on your face does, yet many people tend to neglect this area when it comes to using a mask. 

Woman undergoing a neck mask treatment

Wondering if you need to use a special mask for your décolletage? 

This all depends on the type of mask you prefer to use…

Some masks, such as clay, mud and cream masks, can be applied directly to your décolletage in the same way they are applied to the face. 

However, if you prefer to use sheet masks, then you will need to purchase different ones for your décolletage. 

Why? 

Because the majority of facial sheet masks are designed in the shape of a face, with holes cut out for the eyes, nose and mouth. As you can imagine, this would all be a bit pointless for your décolletage. 

Instead, special décolletage sheet masks are available. These are shaped to properly cover the neck and chest, and will usually contain specific ingredients that would benefit the skin in this area. 

Since this area tends to be quite fragile, often making it drier, décolletage masks will contain hydrating, strengthening and anti-aging ingredients, all of which will keep the skin here looking fresh and youthful for longer. 

Wondering if there are any particular ingredients that you should be looking out for? 

Yes, and these will be discussed in more detail below. 

If you can’t find a mask designed specifically for the décolletage…

You may have more luck looking for sheet masks designed for the body. These will simply be in the shape of strips or large squares, and can be draped over whichever part of the body you want to treat. Just make sure that it contains hydrating and anti-aging ingredients, since these are what your décolletage will benefit the most from. 

How often should you be using a mask on your décolletage? 

Once a week would be ideal. For best results, make sure that you have cleansed and exfoliated your skin first, as this will allow the active ingredients within the mask to properly penetrate into your skin’s layers without being blocked by dirt, oil and other substances. 

Use the Right Ingredients

The ingredients that you use on your décolletage will have a huge impact on the health and appearance of the skin in this area. 

Which are the ingredients you should be using? 

Here are some of the most effective ingredients for your décolletage: 

  • Ceramidesthese are lipids that are naturally found in the skin, and will keep the skin hydrated and plump
  • Hyaluronic Acid – a humectant that hydrates the skin 
  • Retinolone of the most potent anti-aging ingredients out there, this vitamin A derivative does everything from repair sun damage to fade dark spots to minimize fine lines and wrinkles
  • Green Tea Extract – packed with antioxidants that tackle the signs of aging, while also repairing damaged skin cells 
  • Vitamin C – increases the rate at which the skin produces collagen and elastin, helping to keep the skin strong, smooth, firm and flexible 
  • Caffeine – has a skin tightening effect, making wrinkles appear less defined

There are so many other ingredients out there that can help your décolletage, but the above are amongst the most effective. 

When it comes to delivering these ingredients to your skin…

Serums tend to be the most effective method. 

Why? 

Because their lightweight consistency means that the skin can quickly and easily absorb them. They also contain high concentrations of active ingredients, which is why they are able to have a significant impact in just a few weeks. 

Don’t forget, these serums can be applied to both your face as well as your décolletage. 

Sleep on Your Back

As you age and your skin produces less collagen and elastin, your skin ends up thinner and looser, making it more prone to wrinkles and folds. This is especially noticeable on the décolletage, as gravity ends up pulling the loose skin down, highlighting the issue. 

While topical skin care products can be extremely effective at boosting your levels of collagen and elastin back up, there are other ways in which you can prevent gravity from taking its toll. 

One of these ways is by sleeping on your back, rather than your side. 

Woman sleeping on her back, with a sleeping mask

How does this make a difference? 

The way in which your neck and head bends when you sleep on your side, coupled with the effects of gravity, will end up pulling any loose skin downwards. When this happens each and every night, the skin ends up being stretched much more than it needs to. You may not notice this immediately, but, as you grow older, you will find that the skin on your décolletage doesn’t quite bounce back to normal in the same way that it used to, leaving you with permanent folds and wrinkles. 

Sleeping on your back helps to prevent all of this from happening, but for those of you who are so used to sleeping on your side, this can be a difficult habit to break. 

Here are a few tips to help encourage this new sleeping position: 

  • Strategically positioned pillows – placing pillows around you, as well as under each arm, can help to prevent you from rolling over during the night 
  • Malleable pillows – pillows that are malleable, such as buckwheat pillows, prevent the head from rolling about while you sleep, giving you enough support to hopefully keep you on your back through the night 
  • Persistence – if you find yourself rolling onto your side during the night, it is important to move yourself back into the right position, no matter how tired you may be. The only way to train your body to sleep in this new way is to be persistent

The bedding that you use each night can also make a difference…

Cotton sheets may be the most common material when it comes to bedding, but each time your skin rubs against this, whether it may be your pillowcase, bedsheet or covers, friction is caused. As mentioned above, friction is something that you want to avoid as much as possible when it comes to your décolletage, as any extra pulling or tugging will only end up stretching out the skin here.

So, what should you be using instead? 

Silk or satin is your best bet, as these will enable your skin to smoothly glide over the fabric, preventing any friction from arising. 

Wear Sunscreen Every Day

Just like with many of the other steps in a standard skin care routine, sunscreen is often applied to the face, but not to the décolletage. 

However, unless you wear clothes that completely cover up your neck and your chest each and every day, this area is going to be just as exposed to the sun as your face is. 

This makes sunscreen absolutely vital, no matter the time of year. 

A broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is perfect for your décolletage, and don’t forget that you will need to reapply this every couple of hours throughout the day. 

Woman applying sunscreen to the neck

What will happen if you don’t wear a sunscreen on your décolletage? 

A number of things that you won’t want, such as: 

The sun’s UV rays will damage your skin even in the winter, and even when you think you are protected by glass or clouds, meaning that sunscreen is a skin care item that you should never skip. 

Wondering if a moisturizer containing SPF is enough? 

Usually, no. While some moisturizers may contain high SPF levels, these are not usually applied to the skin in a thick enough layer to actually provide the SPF rating on the label. In order to ensure that your skin really is protected, you would be best off opting for a dedicated sunscreen. 

The décolletage is an area of the body that is often neglected when it comes to skin care, at least until wrinkles, loose skin and more become visibly apparent. Rather than waiting until it is too late, caring for your décolletage in the right way now will prevent all of those issues from arising as early on as they otherwise would have, and will also mean that any skin changes you do experience in this area will be much less severe. 

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