Antiaging Techniques for the Neck and Chest

Ask a Therapist

By Melanie Vasseur

Originally published in Body Sense magazine, August/Winter 2005.

Q. Sometimes I feel the years are catching up to my skin. Can you give me some guidance on how to keep the area under my chin and around my neck looking as young as possible?

A. Absolutely, says Melanie Vasseur, California cosmetic chemist and esthetician. That area is your décolleté (day-kol-tay) — an often-overlooked, but most age-revealing part of the body. Vasseur offers these tips to keep your décolleté looking as young as your face.

The skin in this area is thin and must be treated with care. It tends to show sunspots and creases easily with age. So begin by using the same cleanser starting from your chest all the way to your face. Apply the same treatment on your chest as you do on your face and always follow with sunscreen. An estimated 40 percent of sun damage occurs while you are indoors near windows that let in harmful UV rays.

You may treat your face with peels, but these are far too harsh for the delicate décolleté. So Vasseur offers some natural remedies. They may take up to six months for revealing results, but they’re worth the wait.

To naturally remove sunspots, try lemon or lime juice. They act as natural alpha hydroxy acids and are very effective. Squeeze fresh lemon juice or lime juice into a bowl and apply with a cotton swab to your chest every other night for two to three weeks. Take a break for one week and repeat for one more week.

Try enzymes with natural papaya or pineapple on your skin. The bromelian in pineapple disintegrates dead protein. These enzymes are good for sensitive skin.

Finally, try products with the following active ingredients: vitamin C, Esther C, and dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE). These are natural exfoliators and firming agents that help with sun damage. You can also take DMAE orally as it also acts as an antioxidant. Aminolevulinic acid is great for preventing and treating damaged skin. Idebenone is the most effective antioxidant on the market and has recently been hailed as more effective than vitamins A and C at preventing sun damage.