PROTECT YOUR ASSETS
To a certain extent, the way you age is genetic. Look at your mother and grandmother’s skin for a forecast of how your own is going to turn out. But the good news is that lifestyle factors, which you can control, also play a part.
The most effective way to ensure a smooth, youthful décolletage needn’t cost a cent and is incredibly simple, says cosmetic dermatologist Anita Patel, a fellow of the Australasian College of Dermatologists. “Sun protection, sun protection, sun protection,” she emphasises. “It’s the best way to look after your décolletage—and the rest of your body.”
An expert in treating skin that has been aged and damaged by UV rays (known as solar ageing or photoageing), Patel explains that many of us remember to care for our face in hot weather but forget about our chest—for example, when out for a run. She also explains that Asian skin is less likely to be affected by the sun than Caucasian skin. “Speaking generally, Chinese skin has a higher pigment content, which means fewer larger freckles or scaly legions after sun exposure. Chinese women are less likely to develop thick and wrinkled skin or broken capillaries. Added to this genetic advantage, generally Chinese women protect themselves better from the sun.”
However, Patel stresses it is still important to protect the décolletage by covering up with clothing, reducing exposure and wearing a cream of SPF50 or more. She says the latest generation of sun cream is water- and alcohol-based, meaning creams are lighter and more comfortable to wear with less risk of developing pimples.
One of the reasons it’s important to protect the décolletage is that it doesn’t respond as well as other areas of the body to anti-ageing treatments. However, skin may improve with at-home rituals and professional therapy. Patel advises looking for these active ingredients in creams and lotions: glycolic acid, retinol, vitamin C and niacinamide. These can help reverse sun damage by improving pigmentation and moisturising the area. “We often neglect the décolletage simply because there aren’t many products on the market,” says Wei Brian. “It’s very important to keep this area moisturised, so products that have emollient-rich ingredients are crucial.”
Moisturise Choose a nourishing cream such as Clarins’ Super-restorative Décolleté and Neck Concentrate. It uses plant extracts to boost collagen synthesis and improve the appearance of wrinkles, dark spots and sagging skin.