The beautiful French word "décolleté" means a low neckline on a woman's dress or top. It's also used to refer the area of the neck, upper chest and cleavage.
There's one part of the body which is almost always neglected skincare-wise! In my practice I often see women with smooth and well taken care of faces and wrinkly, sun damaged décolletage areas. The reason being, most people don't apply any products there and that part of the skin gets just as much environmental exposure as our faces.
For the most part, neck and décolleté skin is more sensitive than facial skin. When you choose a skin care regimen that needs to be taken into consideration, to avoid irritating and drying out your skin, which will create the opposite effect of what we are looking for.
Wash with a gentle cleanser. Every time you cleanse your face, you should be including your neck and décolleté . You can use soft sponges and washcloths with your cleanser to avoid mess on your shirts. If you're in the shower you can use your regular body wash and a loofah, but avoid harsh scrubbing.
Use a toner that has hydrating and anti-aging properties. You should be looking for ingredients such as antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, Vit B5, CoQ10 etc.
Serum is a key! Décolletage skin has smaller pores, as oil glands in that area are not as active. Thats why skin there is usually drier that the face. Therefore you need a serum because 1) it has smaller molecules to penetrate pores easier 2) it can provide extra hydration, due to higher ingredient concentration. You need to be looking for water binders such as hyaluronic acid, alpha lipoid acid, CoQ10, Vit B5 and Vit E. Another group we need in our serum is antioxidants - Vit C and E, berry and citrus extracts, beta-carotene etc. These magic molecules attach to the free radicals that damage our skin and deactivate them, thus rejuvenating skin appearance.
Correctives should be used 2-3 times a week if you already have signs of aging and sun damage. Best to use is a low concentration /1% or lower/ of Retinol in a moisturizer form, combined with brighteners like hydroquinone, arbutin, kojic and azelaic acids. I personally have found AHA's to be too harsh to use in that area. However if your skin is thicker and tolerates it, then you can use that instead of retinol.
Protection is a must ! Regardless of the season, sunscreen is essential. Use SPF 15 or more every morning and reapply as needed. This is so important that I ended up creating an SPF spray to make the process easier and to promote regular use. Of course lotions are great too, but I found sprays don't create an oily look or leave white residue when layered with other products. They are also easier to spritz on throughout the day, especially if you are wearing make up.
To summarize, here is what your neck and décolleté regimen should look like:
A.M. Wash, Tone, Serum, SPF
P.M. Wash, Tone, Corrective/ 2-3 times a week/, Serum