Decolletage Care and Why You Need to Stop Overlooking this Tell-tale Sign of Ageing

Emma-Charlotte Bangay

Beauty and Lifestyle Expert

With worrying about crows feet around the eyes, age spots on the hands and excess skin around the midriff, who has time to ponder the downfall of ones decolletage?

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Biologically, the face, neck and hands all age at the same rate. It’s just that the face cops all the visible flack – and slack – and in turn, benefits from all the skincare spoils explains Plastic, Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Dr James Southwell-Keely.

Simply put, there is far more emphasis and attention put on the ageing of the neck upwards, and what should be done to prevent it.

“The decolletage is a classic site to give away one’s age, just like the tops of one’s hands,” explains Dr Southwell-Keely. “The main reason is that it is overlooked when it comes to rejuvenating therapies. The face is the big-ticket item, followed by the neck. The poor decolletage is an afterthought yet can undermine the good work that has been done above it.”

However, for most of us, the skin of the decolletage has a similar level of sun exposure to the face and neck, hence has a similar level of exposure to sunlight and other environmental aging factors, he notes. “A major difference however is anatomical or structural in so far as gravity plays a minimal role in skin aging of the décolletage as compared to the face and neck.”

Gravity drags the face downwards towards the lower border of the jaw where the soft tissues are fixed, he explains. The soft tissues of the cheeks, jaw and neck start to fatigue against gravity, resulting in “‘hanging’ and loose, fatty, poorly defined neck with platysmal muscular bands.”

As gravity doesn’t have any pull in the decolletage area (pardon the pun) you don’t see sagging and folds, as much as you do see loss of skin volume and structural integrity.

“The net effect is thin crepey skin with irregular pigmentation,” summarizes Dr Southwell-Keely.

What should you do?

Sun protection is incredibly important. “Not just sunscreen but the whole shebang – broad brimmed hats, avoiding the heat of the middle of the day and covering up,” urges Dr Southwell-Keely. Not smoking, a healthy diet and plenty of sleep all help but a cosmeceutical grade skin care regime makes a big difference too. “The above measures slow the aging process but to help wind back the aging clock light therapy (Fraxel laser and IPL) stimulate the old skin cells to self-rejuvenate and repair producing a soft, even dewy complexion and ironing out telltale fine wrinkles.”

What are your options?

  • A high quality facial cosmeceutical skin care range works well in this area. “Whether the cream is branded facial or body is less important than their concentration of active ingredients.”
  • Laser – works well for the décolletage by improving blotchy pigmentation and stimulating skin self-rejuvenation. “Laser is very targeted (mono-chromatic light i.e. single wavelength),” he assures.
  • IPL – similar to laser in terms of its effects but is less targeted (poly-chromatic light).
  • Collagen Therapy – collagen induction therapy ( eg: Dermastamp) “is excellent for rejuvenating the skin by stimulating new collagen growth through micro needling of the skin but is less effective for the treatment of pigmentary sun-induced changes.
  • Skin Brightening – the above-mentioned treatments are more reliable,” says Dr Southwell-Keely. “In general I am not a fan of skin brightening, as the results can be patchy.”
  • Chemical peels also work well for the décolletage by stimulating new collagen production but the effects on pigmentation are less predictable, he advises.

Image Credit: Zimbio

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