Short answer: the skin is different in this area. "The epidermis around your chest and neck is very thin," explains Samantha Wilson, founder of Skin Republic.
"There is very little subcutaneous fat cushioning the area and also limited melanocytes – the cells that protect our skin from UV rays. It is also usually, along with our face, the most exposed part of the body and equally as prone to sun damage."
Really, the big news is: your face doesn't end at your chin.
Marnina Diprose, dermal clinician and founder of Aroze Dermal Therapies says "Prevention is the best way to keep your décolletage looking good. UV radiation causes breakdown of collagen and pigment deposition which results in mottled pigmentation."
Don't Neglect the Dec!
How often do you put on moisturiser and sunscreen and forget to apply it right down to the bust? "We tend to neglect our neck and décolletage in skincare routines," says Samantha. "Our faces are (hopefully) exfoliated, toned and moisturised everyday, but we seldom use the same products down the neck and onto the chest. It's also susceptible to sleep wrinkles, especially if you’re a side sleeper."
Yup, sleep wrinkles. Ladies, those v-shaped lines that travel from your lower neck right down to your cleavage are the product of well, not enough product and sleeping on your side. Plus; "Gravitational changes from ageing and the loss of collagen and elastin," says Marnina. Apparently they're more common in larger busted women.
Thankfully, skincare technology has come a long way (long than those lines!) and you can plump up and smooth the skin on the décolletage by using laser or a myriad of hydrating and replenishing products. Here are a few options in no particular order:
#1 IPL/lasers (for superficial wrinkles or fine lines)
"The light energy is attracted to the pigment and redness (haemoglobin) in the skin," says Marnina. "As the laser energy meets the target it causes heat and coagulates the blood and pigment. Then, the body's immune system takes away the cellular debris."
#2 Fraxel/CO2/Collagen Induction Therapy (for deeper wrinkles)
According to Marnina, "These treatments are more for the very aged and wrinkled skin. They work by causing a controlled wound which will then help to rebuild collagen and elastin fibres in the area." The result? Improved skin tone, texture, colour and elasticity. "The downtime is more significant (not as long for Collagen induction therapy) but the results are long lasting."
#3 Ultherapy (for superficial or deeper wrinkles)
"Ultherapy acts to tighten the collagenous fibres just under the skin and takes a few months to see the results," explains Dr Niamh Corduff of The Cosmetic Refinement Clinic in Geelong, VIC. It can take up to 1.5 hours to treat the entire face, neck and décolletage but the effect is long lasting. "The results continue to improve over 12 months," says Niamh.
Create a Daily Routine
Ok, so now you know the décolletage is as sensitive to the sun as your face, it's time to talk products. Get on board as early as possible and treat your neck and dec with special care.
Skin Republic Neck and Décolletage Repair Mask
Once a fortnight, pop one of these super-hydrating masks over your neck and chest and let the goodness steep in. Collagen, aloe, rice bran and mulberry will give the area a boost of hydration and help improve the tone and elasticity. Perfect to use before a wedding or special occasion, too.
Obagi Hydrate Luxe Moisture-Rich Cream
Remember: apply moisturiser to your face, neck and décolletage from now on! Apply a pea size amount of Obagi Hydrate Luxe over everything and overnight it'll work with your skin's own chronobiology to release dermis-loving peptides, shea butter and soybean fibres so you wake up looking a million dollars.
Skinceuticals Neck, Chest and Hand Treatment
Specifically created for those easily-forgotten places, this triple-action cream will bring back the glow to you décolletage in no time. The active ingredients (hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid, sodium tetrahydro-jasmonate and vigna aconitifolia seed extract) help support the collagen and diminish crepiness.
Cosmedix Illuminate & Lift Neck & Decollette Treatment
Potent vitamin C, peptides and stem cell extract help to fade hyperpigmentation and keep the moisture in. Lather over the neck and décolletage in the morning then repeat before bedtime and say hello to a smoother, firmer bust line.
Slip, Slop, Slap
Last, but certainly not least, to keep this area looking Hollywood-good, get into the habit of putting sunscreen on your neck and décolletage: Every. Single. Day.
"Wearing sunscreen every day is imperative to protect and prevent further damage," warns Dr Anh Nguyen, plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Dr Anh Medispa in Perth.
She adds; "Sun damage can be treated with a variety of modalities ranging from laser to topical creams. Successful treatments rely on a comprehensive assessment and the right combination of treatments specifically for your skin type and concerns."
"When choosing products, look for specific ingredients like vitamin A, niacinaminde (vit B3), and vitamin C which is an antioxidant, all of which help to reduce pigmentation," says Anh.
In short, says Anh, "Prevention is always the key to maintaining results and healthy skin."