Sun damage causes about 90% of the changes we associate with aging, as a result of harmful ultraviolet rays. The skin of the chest is just as vulnerable as the skin of the face or hands, but many individuals are not as aware of the need to protect the chest and neck with sunscreen. As a result, the chest can have some unsightly signs of sun damage, including dark spots, uneven pigmentation, and creases or wrinkles. With sun damage and aging, the volume of subcutaneous tissue decreases in most people, with reduction of collagen production, leading to loose skin. Gravity, hormones, pregnancy, and weight loss can all cause significant changes in the skin of the chest. This is an area where skin is relatively thin and delicate, so it’s not as easy to repair as other sun-damaged areas. Protection against the sun’s damaging rays is the most important step you can take to preserve the beauty of your décolletage.
There are a few things you can do to improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin that detracts from your appearance. Hydroquinone is a topical product that can be used to brighten your skin and bleach dark, uneven pigmentation or freckles, although a lower concentration of hydroquinone is used on the chest, compared to the face or hands. Niacinamide, a derivative of niacin (Vitamin B3), shows promise as a restorative ingredient in skin care products. Niacinamide has anti-inflammatory properties and research suggests that it can speed up cellular renewal and even out discoloration in the complexion.
Microdermabrasion can be helpful, but it will take several treatments to see optimal effect. Chemical peels renew skin tone and radiance to some degree, but the skin of the chest is too delicate to use strong chemical peels without the risk of discoloration. Fraxel fractional laser treatment is effective for reduction of pigment and can improve the tone of your skin. Patients normally see results after one treatment, but several treatments are necessary to get the best effect. Intense pulsed light therapy targets dark spots and freckles caused by sun exposure, evening out a sun-damaged complexion.
There are some topical products that can increase collage production and production of elastic tissue in your skin. Injectable products can also be used in the chest area, although they are not specifically FDA approved for this purpose and it’s important to consult a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon with experience using these products. Fraxel laser treatment is helpful for tightening skin in the chest region.
Prevent further damage by using a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Broad spectrum sunscreens offer protection against both UVA and UVB light. Exfoliating your chest will keep your skin looking its best and also allows better absorption of skin care products. Moisturizing and remaining hydrated can improve the appearance of your face, neck, and chest – and a healthy diet with adequate amounts of essential vitamins and nutrients will keep your skin looking its best. Smoking is also damaging, and quitting is the best thing smokers can do for their skin and for their health.