Do you believe that this chest has had blistering sunburns, repeatedly? That it has baked in a tanning bed? That it has been sunscreen neglected, constantly?
Yes, that’s all true! How did I get away with all of those sins of my youth with minimal evident damage? I got wise about my skin awareness in my mid 20s, and it has paid off.
The skin of our chest is unique. It falls in this gray zone of not being as of much concern to us as our face and neck, but of more concern than our arms, legs and back. It is very honest in how it displays our age, skin care habits, and sun protective measures. It is not as hearty as the skin on our face, which is better equipped to weather the insults of our environment.
In my practice, I see many patients in their 40s, 50s and beyond who have taken meticulous care of their face and neck, but neglected their chest. And as a result, they develop thin, freckled, mottled skin on their chests; this stands out against the healthy-appearing skin above it.
So even if you, like me, have put your chest skin through some significant damage over the years, here are some tips on reversing some of those telltale signs and how to keep your chest skin healthy moving forward:
- Moisturize your chest skin every day. You don’t need to use an expensive or fancy moisturizer. I like Cerave, Cetaphil, or Neutrogena Hydro Boost.
- Remember to apply sunscreen to this area every day. When you are wearing a V-neck or tank top, this skin is exposed to the elements. It is important to protect it with a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, even if you are just out and about running errands
- Apply a retinoid cream (such as tretinoin, Retin-A, or Renova) once a week at night; more frequently than this is likely to cause redness and irritation. Remember, this skin cannot tolerate retinoids as well as your face can. Retinoids will help even out pigmentation, slough off dead skin cells, and strengthen your collagen.
- Apply an antioxidant serum (I prefer Obagi vitamin C serum or Skin Better Science Alto serum) one or twice a week in the morning after shower and before you apply your moisturizer. Antioxidants applied to your skin help fight free radical damage which leaves your skin cells and skin structure healthy and repaired.
- Talk with your dermatologist about options ranging from chemical peels to lasers to IPL which can more accurately address specific concerns.