We put so much time and attention into improving and maintaining the skin on our face, it’s important to remember to also care for the delicate skin areas like our neck and chest, which can easily show the signs of aging. Factors like gravity, sun damage, or having an ample chest can contribute to, and accelerate, the appearance of aging on your neck and chest.1
Read on as we discuss frequently asked questions regarding your décolletage with one of America’s Top Doctors 2, Dr. Joel Schlessinger, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Specialists P.C. and LovelySkin.com. We hope to help you ditch the turtle neck and make you proud to put your best chest forward.
Obagi: How is the skin around our chest different than the skin on the rest of our body?
Dr. Schlessinger: The skin on our chest is more susceptible to daily damage than other areas of our body because we often forget to provide protection. The skin in this area is also thinner than other areas of the body, so it is more prone to the signs of aging. Additionally, there are few products that address this area, and most laser procedures are tough to perform on this area due to the delicate skin. That’s one reason that Obagi ELASTIderm® Décolletage System is a great choice for the chest.
Obagi: Over the years, I’ve noticed deep wrinkles in my neck and chest area. Is there anything I can do to treat or minimize them?
Dr. Schlessinger: The appearance of deep wrinkles on the neck and chest can be reduced with creams and serums. These treatments can tighten skin to help reduce the apparent depth of wrinkles and soften the appearance of fine lines. Obagi ELASTIderm Décolletage System is a skin care system containing two products specifically designed to address the appearance of wrinkles and pigmentation on the neck and chest. When used regularly, these products can improve the appearance, tone, and texture of your skin.
Obagi: Can I get a peel on my chest and, if so, which type would you recommend?
Choosing a peel for your chest is dependent on the concerns you wish to address. Microdermabrasion treatments gently exfoliate skin to restore softness and smoothness, and they can be done over a lunch hour. Chemical peels can help reveal younger-looking skin, while clay mask peels are best for uneven skin complexion. The Obagi Blue Peel RADIANCE® is a great option for this area and compliments many other products nicely.
Obagi: I notice the skin on my chest has both dark spots (hyperpigmentation) and light spots (hypopigmentation). What does this mean and what can I do about it?
Dr. Schlessinger: Dark spots, or hyperpigmentation, are caused by extra melanin or pigment in the skin due to sun exposure or aging. Light spots, or hypopigmentation, occur when pigment cannot be produced or is being inhibited.3 The easiest way to address both of these conditions is to help prevent them before they appear by making sure to always wear sunscreen, but should they occur you do have options to improve their appearance.
The best way to treat hyperpigmentation is with topical skin lightening treatments that contain ingredients like hydroquinone or melanin-inhibitors that reduce the production of pigment. Peels and in-office procedures are also great options for helping to create a more even skin complexion. Obagi has an impressive line of skin care products for minimizing dark spots and sun damage; with their proven ingredients, you can help lighten the appearance of even the most sun damaged skin and actually reverse the visibility of pigmentation.
Light spots are not as easy to treat. We suggest concealing them with makeup or individuals can bleach normal skin with topical creams to make a more even color.
Obagi: Can I use my current face skin care regimen, including sunscreen, on my neck and chest, or do I need to use something different?
Dr. Schlessinger: When it comes to daily maintenance, your everyday facial routine is probably suitable for your neck and chest, although I recommend including a targeted product such as Obagi ELASTIderm Décolletage, which is designed for this application and is gentle enough to use nightly. Sunscreen should be applied to any area exposed to sunlight. You can use your everyday facial sunscreen, like Obagi Sun Shield Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50, for oilier skin on your face, neck, and chest.
Obagi: Breast augmentations are becoming increasingly popular. But surgery is only half the battle. Should I treat my skin for pigmentation and the appearance of wrinkles before or after this type of surgery?
Dr. Schlessinger: It’s appropriate to treat skin for the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots before and after procedures. However, it is important to discontinue use at least one week prior to the procedure and throughout the healing process as to not affect your results. It’s best to work with your physician to determine what is right for you.
Now that you’ve learned that the skin on your neck and chest is essentially an extension of the delicate skin on your face, you can give it the care and attention it needs to proudly show off that low cut shirt or new necklace with a flawless backdrop—your décolletage! Find a doctor in your area to discuss your options today.
For more skin care advice, read Dr. Schlessinger’s blog or sign up for Inner Circle to receive expert skin care tips and advice straight to your email inbox.
1. Neck and Chest Wrinkles. LIVESTRONG Website.
http://www.livestrong.com/article/295527-neck-chest-wrinkles/ . Accessed June 6, 2013.
2. Dr. Schlessinger. Lovely Skin Website.
http://www.lovelyskin.com/study/dr-schlessinger/. Accessed June 6, 2013.
3. Hyperpigmentation, Hypopigmentation, and Your Skin. WebMD Website.
http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hyperpigmentation-hypo.... Accessed June 6, 2013.
People with prior history of sensitivity or allergic reaction to this product or any of its ingredients should not use it. The safety of topical hydroquinone use during pregnancy or in children (12 years and under) has not been established.
Avoid contact with eyes, nose, mouth, or lips. In case of accidental contact, patient should rinse eyes, nose, mouth, or lips with water and contact physician.
Sunscreen use is an essential aspect of hydroquinone therapy because even minimal sunlight exposure sustains melanocytic activity.
Contains sodium metabisulfite, a sulfite that may cause allergic-type reactions including anaphylactic symptoms and life-threatening or less severe asthmatic episodes in certain susceptible people. The overall prevalence of sulfite sensitivity in the general population is unknown and probably low. Sulfite sensitivity is seen more frequently in asthmatic than in nonasthmatic people.
PRECAUTIONS (ALSO SEE WARNINGS):
Treatment should be limited to relatively small areas of the body at one time since some patients experience a transient skin reddening and a mild burning sensation, which does not preclude treatment.
Pregnancy Category C: Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with topical hydroquinone. It is also not known whether hydroquinone can cause fetal harm when used topically on a pregnant woman or affect reproductive capacity. It is not known to what degree, if any, topical hydroquinone is absorbed systemically. Topical hydroquinone should be used on pregnant women only when clearly indicated.
Nursing Mothers: It is not known whether topical hydroquinone is absorbed or excreted in human milk. Caution is advised when topical hydroquinone is used by a nursing mother.
Pediatric Usage: Safety and effectiveness in children below the age of 12 years have not been established.
Using a Broad Spectrum sunscreen like Obagi Sun Shield Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50 along with a comprehensive sun protection program including wearing sun protective clothing and avoiding the sun between the hours of 10am and 2pm may help reduce the risk of premature skin aging.
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