The face is always in the spotlight when it comes to skin care, but it’s not the only part of your body affected by aging. Your neck and chest are also on display and because this skin is far thinner and more fragile than other areas of the body, they’re often the first to show signs of aging. A little care and prevention can go a long way; so don’t neglect those areas when they have the potential to be just as radiant as what’s above them.
As you age, the sebaceous glands in your body begin to produce less oil. For women, this typically happens after menopause and results in drier, itchier skin all over your body, including the delicate skin around your neck and chest. To keep these areas smooth and supple, treat them the same way you treat the skin on your face. Moisturize your neck and chest morning and night with a fragrance-free product to minimize irritation and the potential for allergic reactions. Apply your moisturizer right after bathing to seal in the moisture and prevent some of the water in your skin from evaporating.
Fight Sun Damage
Unless you perpetually wear turtlenecks and scarves, your neck and chest are exposed to the sun’s UV rays almost as often as your face, and they’re not immune to damage. The biggest factor in aging skin is sun exposure, which can weaken skin’s elasticity, cause dark spots and accelerate the development of wrinkles. To fight sun damage, apply sunscreen every day—specifically, a broad-spectrum sunscreen that’s water-resistant with an SPF of 30 or higher. Using sunscreen regularly can also help even out the skin tone between your face, neck and chest.
Extend Your Exfoliation
Dull, wrinkled skin is a common concern in the neck and chest area, especially because those parts of the body tend to show aging first. To rejuvenate neck and chest skin and make it look brighter and more radiant, use products that encourage cell turnover in the skin. Whether you use physical scrubs or chemical exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) or beta hydroxy acid (BHA), be sure to apply them all the way down to the top of your chest. AHAs and BHAs can both improve the color and texture of skin damaged by the sun. If you have sensitive skin, opt for products containing BHA, because it tends to be less irritating.
Stick to a Routine
If you neglected the skin on your neck and chest in the early part of your life, you may need to play catch-up now. Because the skin is thinner on the neck and chest, it also requires a solid anti-aging routine to repair it. Much like your anti-aging routine for your face, start by cleansing, toning and moisturizing those areas. Your neck and chest can also benefit from topical retinol and other collagen and elastin-plumping ingredients like peptides and glycolic acid. Consistency is key to seeing any results when it comes to skin care.
This article has been reviewed by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Emmy Graber.