Treasure chest – why skincare should extend beyond your face
When it comes to skincare, our faces get all the TLC. But what about the area that lies beneath?
on average, we spend nine minutes a day on our skincare routines – cleansing like crazy, slapping on serums and mainlining masks like there’s no tomorrow, in pursuit of healthy, youthful complexions. But when you think skincare, does only your face spring to mind? Because, when it comes to keeping your skin on side, that’s where you’re going wrong. ‘Many of us don’t realise that the décolletage extends from the bottom of the earlobe to the exposed part of the bust and shoulder line,’ says Dr Lancer, Beyoncé and Kim K’s go-to dermatologist. So how to take care of that?
RETHINK YOUR ROUTINE
Ask any dermatologist worth their salt, and they’ll recommend a from-the-nipple-up approach to applying skincare products. Why? An extension of our face, the chest area has fewer oil glands than the rest of our body, which makes it prone to dehydration and a crêpey appearance. Pair that with the fact it’s often neglected in the SPF arena and you have advanced pigmentation and subsequent collagen reduction to boot.
Naturally, prevention is key, but don’t worry if you’ve already gone too far. ‘Use
active ingredients, like brightening and collagen-boosting vitamin C, cell-renewing retinol, exfoliating glycolic, tone-evening niacinamide and spot-busting salicylic acid to help even out the décolletage’s colour to that of your neck and face,’ says Dr Lancer. Aesthetic doctor Dr Maryam Zamani agrees, touting SPF as her everyday essential to ward off ageing, as well as fine lines, creasing and sagging.
BOOBS MEAN BUSINESS
Beauty brands have increased their focus on décolletage recently, with products specifically formulated for that area.
Take Fillerina , a topical hyaluronic acid (HA) filler in a light gel that contains eight types/different sizes of HA (to help penetrate skin on every level) and three different types of collagen. The topical collagen kick-starts the skin’s own natural collagen production, while the HA holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water and thereby plumps and hydrates the area. Think of it as topical filler without the needles. There are two options, Grade 4, which is for noticeable wrinkles and sagging (£115), and Grade 5 for severe and deep furrows (£140).
Sarah Chapman, who has been known to tend to Meghan Markle’s face and décolletage, includes a Neck and Chest Rejuvenating Complex , £59, in her range. It’s a silky cream that helps soften dull, dry skin and contains ingredients like niacinamide to help repair skin damage.
Meanwhile, Clarins’ Bust Beauty Extra-lift Gel , £44, uses oat sugars to form a firming film over the breasts’ surface, leading to a a tighter feel. Or try Mio’s Boob Tube+ Multi Action Bust Cream, £29.50, rich in omega oils to smooth and fortify the skin’s surface, or Prai’s new Ageless Bust Crème , £30, which calls itself a ‘padded bra in a jar’ and contains a special extract that has a ‘filling’ effect to make boobs look plumper.
And don’t forget your boob mask either; yes, you heard right, there’s now a selection of masks on offer specifically for the chest. Nannette de Gaspé’s Bust Dry Mask , £130, promises to define the breast thanks to clever, ‘techstile’ technology that sees HA and marine collagen dry-printed (or infused) on to the mask. The only downside? You need to wear it for an hour each day for six days in a row. Commitment-phobes might prefer Skin Laundry’s Wrinkle Release Neck & Chest Sheet Mask, £14, which contains a selection of organic vegetable extracts to help lessen lines and brighten skin. And for the laziest? Lancer’s Contour Decolleté Firming Concentrate , £185, is expensive, but contains marine cone snail venom to combat wrinkles and boost collagen.
RUB IT IN
From Meghan to Mossy, those in-theknow swear by facials that use massage to benefit the face, neck and décolletage. Celebrity facialist Michaella Bolder is known for her firm-handed massage technique during her treatments, but says you can also do it yourself at home. ‘ You should be massaging this area every day – it’s still part of the face,’ she says. ‘ The breast muscle and the fascia tissue that sit underneath the skin both hold so much tension that if it doesn’t get loosened out, it can bring the shoulders forward.’
First, stimulate your lymph nodes, which are responsible for draining the body of toxins and sit around your collarbone inside the base of the neck, by using four of your fingers to hook inside the bone and press down, slowly, 10 times. ‘On the lower side of the collarbone, use sweeping motions to slide the same four fingers from the centre to where your shoulder blades start,’ advises Michaella. This light, sweeping motion helps gently move surface fluid and activates the detoxification process.
Start the massage using a product that gives enough slip so that the skin doesn’t drag. Michaella recommends Time Bomb’s Troubleshooter Neck & Jaw Cream , £37, or Romilly Wilde’s Active Boost Face Oil , £75. ‘ With deep pressure and big sweeping circular motions, use the palms of your hands to work from the centre of your chest, round to the shoulder, and then back around the breast,’ says Michaella, who also suggests using the opposite hand to the shoulder you’re working around. Then use circular motions in-between the boobs to help stave off tram lines and stimulate collagen production. After you’ve done this for as long as you have time for, go back to the draining techniques you began with.
OFF YOUR CHEST
Where skincare fails (a topical product can only do so much), dermatologists also offer treatments of varying degrees that can help target the pigmentation, fine lines, uneven texture and sallowness. ‘If you’re suffering from pigmentation and have a [ lighter] skin tone that can burn, IPL [ intense pulsed light therapy] is a great way to help,’ says Dr Zamani. ‘Skin can’t be suntanned when doing it so this is a good treatment to have
‘ The breast muscle and fascia tissue underneath the skin hold tension’
during winter months.’ You’ll need up to five treatments, one month apart. Head to efmedispa.com for IPL treatments nationwide (from £280).
For wrinkled texture, Dr Zamani’s Glow Rehab treatment ( drmaryamzamani.com, from £1,500) combines three different treatments to tackle skin from all angles: Profhilo, PRP and Laser Genesis. ‘Profhilo treatment is where a form of hyaluronic acid is gently injected into the skin to hydrate deeply while stimulating collagen,’ explains Dr Zamani. PRP is where we take the blood (and isolate the platelet-rich plasma) and reinject it into the skin to stimulate collagen production, and finally Laser Genesis is a laser that helps stimulate collagen.’
Radiofrequency is another treatment gaining traction. Plastic surgeon Patrick Mallucci, medical director at Mallucci London ( mallucci-london.com), advocates it for ‘skin tightening and regeneration’. He combines it with Profhilo and recommends from three to six treatments, separated by a couple of weeks. Then there’s ultherapy, which uses ultrasound technology to tighten and lift the skin on the chest for up to two years. ‘ Treatment is uncomfortable, but you only need one,’ says Dr Zamani. You should then see pronounced results within six months.
LIVE AND LET LIFT
Looking for an alternative to breast implants? ‘A lot of women who come to me want their implants taken out,’ says plastic surgeon and breast specialist Dr Rozina Ali, ‘ but still want the breast volume they once had with them in. For that, I suggest lipofilling.’ This process injects fat taken from the thighs, knees and underneath the bum into breast tissue. It’s a lot less invasive than breast augmentation and helps build shape without surgery.
Alternatively, the PDO Thread Lift, a technique that involves inserting super-fine micro threads (with a needle, so no scars) through the mid layers of skin to lift the breast. As well as lifting skin, the threads prompt better collagen production and makes boobs look fuller and firmer. It lasts around nine months, by which time the threads dissolve into the body. Dr Barbara Kubicka in London’s Clinicbe specialises in PDO Thread Lift ( clinicbe.com, from £380).
Never underestimate the power of make-up. ‘Look for lightweight products, like a tinted moisturiser or CC cream. A full-on foundation can be ageing and messy,’ says make-up pro Mel Arter. A faux tan can work wonders too, but be careful. ‘If the chest has visible pigmentation or sun damage, as they often do, fake tans can cling lighter and darker in certain patches,’ says tanning extraordinaire James Harknett, who recommends a noncommittal wash-off tanner. Vita Liberata’s Body Blur , £29.50, is name-checked by both pros, as well as the Grazia beauty team, and offers the ultimate, even, glowy tan in just a swipe of a mitt.