I have some stuff to get off my chest, and it ain’t pretty.
In the 90s, I was obsessed with a product that was newly invented by the marketing geniuses over at Victoria’s Secret® called the Miracle BraTM. This magical undergarment would lift and push a woman’s breasts in just the right way to create the most supple cleavage. I owned one of every color — and then even invested in Miracle Bra bikinis so I could share my cleavage with local beachgoers. Because I was in college at the time, I tended to fall asleep in said undergarments, and also enjoyed a little too much sun with my breasts squished together for years. The results have sadly made my chest look older than my actual birth years.
Women are almost always focused on protecting or repairing their face as they age, and of course, the neck is a focus as well. Yet, we don’t hear too much about protection or repairing of the skin on the chest, and neglecting it can cause it to appear saggy, crepey, or lined.
Sun damage, overusing my push-up bra, and sleeping on my side have created the perfect storm to result in very unsightly vertical lines in the center of my chest. I have exfoliated and slathered fancy anti-aging creams and lotions in this area with little to no results. I have upped my sun protection since the ‘90s, from SPF 4 (I know — I was a total sun worshipper) to SPF 50, but alas, it seems it’s too late. It’s obvious to me now that the best way to avoid this would have been to have used SPF 50 since I was born . . . but hindsight is 20/20. So what’s a girl to do? Keep reading to discover the top solutions (both temporary and more permanent) to help improve your chest concerns.
As a professional makeup artist, I often rely on cosmetics for a quick fix. One short-term solve is to use light-reflecting products when you have a night out in that sexy top that reveals your chest. When formulas with shimmer in them reflect light, they help blur the look of imperfections and optically even out the skin. I recently discovered the Laura Geller®Illuminating Body Mist ($29), which brings me some comfort on date night. This vanilla-scented glittering body spray adds a bit of glow to the chest area (and anywhere else you want to spritz it!) to make skin appear flawless and radiant.
I’ve also made great efforts to give up my preferred side sleeping in order to sleep on my back. Yet after many nights of surrounding myself with DIY pillow forts to force myself to doze off on my back, I inevitably end up on my side. This causes one boob to smush the other boob, continuing the destruction of my chest skin — so that’s not working for me.
Interestingly enough, after some research, I found a helpful product: Wrinkles Schminkles® Chest Smoothing Kit ($30). It’s basically a “breast spacer” pad made of medical-grade silicone that is placed in between your breasts to smooth out skin and prevent it from creasing while you sleep. After multiple uses, the silicone is said to improve the look of lines.
According to Dr. Glen Brooks, plastic surgeon of Longmeadow, MA and the medical director of the Delamar Med Spa in West Hartford, CT, this at-home treatment could help. “Topical treatments can help and possibly prevent further damage.” The product claimed to work overnight — and I did notice my skin seemed smoother after just one use. I also think it will help stave off further creases and folds. However, I still want to get rid of these lines for good.
More Permanent Options
Unfortunately, the décolleté is a particularly challenging area because the skin is so thin — and it gets even thinner as we age, notes Dr. Brooks. We can try to prevent further damage with chest-smoothing products and high levels of sun protection, but the harm that’s already been done will need to be treated by other means.
Because this area is delicate, any treatment should not be too invasive. “Aggressive treatments, such as deep lasers, can result in scarring,” Dr. Brooks warns. “Laser resurfacing would be too risky a procedure for this area, as it really injures the skin and can result in keloid scars, which are raised abnormal scars that are thick and elevated.”
However, this is not to say you have absolutely no options at all. A series of three to four fractionated laser treatments can help stimulate new collagen growth. (The laser works by leaving tiny holes in the skin, injuring the collagen deep below the surface.) The result is firmer, tauter, smoother skin. These treatments are best done about six weeks apart and range anywhere from $800 to $1,500.
Brooks notes that you should see “great results” after even one appointment, but you’ll see much more improvement with multiple visits. “The less invasive laser provides a safe way to smooth out the area with minimal downtime,” he says. “There will likely be some inflammation, bleeding, burning, or redness, but it should be gone [within a few] days.”
If lasers aren’t for you, but you’re still down to try something new and exciting, then consider combining microneedling with Platelet-Rich Plasma treatments, a.k.a. PRP. A word to the easily queasy: this treatment involves having your blood drawn. Your blood gets spun via an FDA-cleared process, which separates your red blood cells from the stem cell-rich plasma.
Nina Silver, RN of Silver Solutions in Pittsfield, MA is excited about PRP. She says that her clients often see results in a single treatment (which costs anywhere from $800 to $1,000) but suggests doing it once every six months for optimal results. “PRP has been shown to stimulate collagen when injected under the surface of the skin,” she explains. “You will notice that skin is smoother and find lines will be gone — and it’s not messy or invasive.”
For those of us who want the least amount of downtime, a light chemical peel applied by an esthetician or a doctor can offer satisfying results as well (a deep peel is too invasive for this delicate area). These typically involve acid-based formulas that work to exfoliate layers to improve the appearance of skin texture and work to stimulate collagen.
However, keep in mind that “this would be the last option that I would recommend,” notes Dr. Brooks. “It’s important to remember that whether you choose a mild or more aggressive treatment, the results will directly match that.” Basically, if a chemical peel is mild with little to no recovery time, the results will also be more mild.
But don’t feel defeated — peels will still be effective and have benefits! This will be your most affordable in-office option, with esthetician-administered peels ranging from $150 to $300 and those administered to $600 to $800. According to Dr. Brooks, you’ll reveal the best results with two to three treatments.
For now, my Wrinkles Schminkles chest pad offers 20 to 40 uses, so I am going to enjoy it for all it’s worth. But I’m happy to know I have lots of options to treat my décolleté before next summer!
Some products were gifted to the author for the purpose of writing this article.
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