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October 9, 2020

How To Achieve A More Youthful Décolletage

When you think skincare, chances are, your mind jumps straight to your facial skin. But there’s more to caring for your complexion than what’s above the neck — many of us tend to neglect the all-important décolletage in our daily routines. (Guilty over here.)


If you’re unfamiliar, décolletage (pronounced deck-la-tage) is a French word that refers to the neckline of a woman’s dress. In the beauty world, it refers to the skin that a dress like this would show off, including the neck, chest, and upper breasts, explains Dr. Dale Prokupek, owner of Aesthetic Body Solutions in Beverly Hills. (To think about it another way, the décolletage is usually the chest skin that a bathing suit would show.)


Achieve A More Youthful Décolletage
Décolletage (pronounced deck-la-tage) is a French word that refers to the neckline of a woman’s dress.


While its delicate, smooth nature is easy to take for granted when you’re young, the truth is that this area is especially prone to early signs of skin aging, such as brown and red splotches, loss of elasticity, and thinning of the skin. In fact, the décolletage often loses its youthfulness even more quickly than facial skin (which, ironically, is where many of us focus our anti-aging efforts). 


Here’s what you need to know about why this happens, how to stop it in its tracks, and how to repair an already-damaged décolletage. (The good news? It’s totally possible.)


Causes of Décolletage Skin Aging 


There are a few main reasons for why the décolletage tends to age early, explains Dr. Prokupek. And, sorry sun-worshipers, but each of them involves sun damage. The first is that the placement and angle of the décolletage put it in prime position for sun exposure, and the second is that this skin area isn’t as advanced in its natural rejuvenation abilities. 


Dr. Dale Prokupek
CA board-certified internist Dr. Dale Prokupek is a top-rated aesthetic professional and owner of Aesthetic Body Solutions.


“The face has a lot of repair mechanisms that the body skin does not have,” explains Dr. Prokupek. “For example, there are more sebaceous units and hair follicles, and those are meant to help repair the sun damage. Body skin gets injured quicker and the repair is less efficient, so it tends to age much quicker than the skin on the face.” 


On another note, consider the last time you lathered up with sunscreen on your chest (aside from a pool or beach day). There’s your third reason right there: Most people don’t religiously apply sunscreen here like they might on their face on a daily basis, though it’s equally as important. 


How to Prevent Décolletage Aging


Catch it early, and there are two major ways to counteract this. Your primary defense should be wearing clothing that covers your chest. “Nuns don’t have problems with their décolletage, you know what I mean?” laughs Dr. Prokupek. “They’re wearing their necklines up to their mid-neck. So anytime you can keep that area from being exposed to sun, that’s your goal.”


That said, that’s not always possible, so your next best defense is — you guessed it — sunscreen. Go for SPF 50, and opt for a product with zinc or titanium oxide in it. (Here are five mineral sunscreens we love.) Zinc oxide and titanium oxide actually block the sun’s rays from striking your skin by acting as a physical barrier, which offers superior protection to chemical-based sunscreens, says Dr. Prokupek.


Achieve A More Youthful Décolletage
Your next best defense is — you guessed it — sunscreen. Go for SPF 50, and opt for a product with zinc or titanium oxide in it.


How to Reverse Décolletage Aging


If the damage is done, it’s not too late. For minimal damage, up your vitamin intake suggests Dr. Prokupek. “The way that the sun damages the skin is it reacts with the cells, which begin to break down, and then we have to rely on our body’s repair mechanism to fix the damage. The body requires vitamins C, D, A, E, and hyaluronic acid to repair that skin,” he says. If you’re in the sun quite a bit, make sure you’re getting plenty of those vitamins through your diet. 




Epicuren Discovery
Epicuren Discovery Moisture Surge Hyaluronic Acid Gel ($37)


There are also plenty of topical serums and creams containing those vitamins that can be effective, says Dr. Prokupek. In particular, he recommends the brand Skinceuticals (their Vitamin C serum is a fan-favorite) and their new Tripeptide-R Neck Repair has high doses of pure retinol and a powerful tripeptide to firm and smooth both the neck and décolletage, is free of parabens, dyes and fragrance, and backed up by clinical results.


  • Beautytap’s professional community of Beauty Experts (aestheticians, facialists, makeup artists, and hairdressers ) recommend this anti-aging Vitamin C Essence. 


SanDaWha Vitamin C Brightening Essence ($69)


If your damage is more advanced, consider visiting a cosmetic dermatologist for treatment; there are plenty of minimally invasive, no-downtime options to rejuvenate your décolletage to its youthful glory. (Just note that you have to treat the two main issues — sun spots and loss of elasticity — separately.)


“For the brown age spots and red broken blood vessels, the best way to approach that is with a laser called an IPL,” explains Dr. Prokupek. “It stands for Intense Pulse Light, and the way it works is the wavelength of light targets specifically those colors, and it doesn’t damage the other skin.” This is preferable to CO2 lasers, which break the skin barrier and can lead to complications such as scarring and prolonged healing. It’s also a much better option than chemicals peels since you have to take off quite a few layers of skin to effectively reduce brown spots (also potentially leading to scarring and more downtime, since you’re losing your skin’s protective barrier). 


Achieve A More Youthful Décolletage
For the brown age spots and red broken blood vessels, the best way to approach that is with a laser called an IPL,


Meanwhile, the skin’s natural loss of elasticity over time (which is accelerated by sun damage) is traditionally treated by an ultra-invasive neck lift, but recent technology has made this process much easier. Dr. Prokupek uses a technique called radiofrequency micro-needling, which spurs the body’s natural repair mechanisms by injecting powerful energy through tiny needles that go 1-3 ml beneath the skin’s surface. (Read: No need to go under the knife). Applying numbing cream in advance makes this treatment quite tolerable. 


So, whether you’re trying to turn back time or preserving your décolletage’s youthful allure, consider both modern skincare technology and good old-fashioned sun protection.

Alexa is a Denver-based writer, editor, and marketing pro who covers all things wellness, travel, beauty, and lifestyle. She has written for Women’s Health, Woman’s Day, Runner’s World, Self Magazine. When she’s not crafting content, you can find her hiking or skiing (depending on the season), drinking red wine, or planning her next travel adventure.



My mom was the first person I ever received any skincare/makeup advice from. I started really taking my skincare routine serious around my teenage years and one thing my mom always told me was to apply any products I applied to my face, to my neck, as well. Sunscreen, of course, is also extremely important!


I’m in my mid-20’s and started paying attention to my neck and chest during this quarantine. I also had a failed experiment with a new sunscreen and you know what- now that’s my dedicated décolletage sun care product. It not strictly necessary, but if you struggle to remember to take care of this area, a dedicated inexpensive sunscreen and moisturizer could be a great incentive to prevent these signs of aging.
Also, just want to say aging isn’t everything. It’s great to prevent it for the sake of your health and happiness, but be proud of your body. Too often... Read more

Well said! As a two-time skin cancer survivor (I wrote about it here both times) SPF is everything. Have you sampled the Restorsea Neck & Decollatage Treatment? It's not a miracle but I've had good results with it.

This article stood out to me. If you're my age (I'll just say middle aged...) or in your twenties, This is for you! I try to stay diligent and I've been pretty good with it, yet I can still see how my neck line ages. It is never to early to start pampering this area of your body!

Great read, thanks for sharing! :)

Love the nun bit too Alexa! Kudos. I never understood why some women get facelifts and disregard their Shih-Tzu like neck and chest. Tisk! Tisk! Funny thing for me is my chest is smoother than, my neck and face? WTF?! Yes. I am the Bermuda triangle of beauty anomalies, but I am very thankful for brands like Epicuren, Sekkeisei, SanDaWha and for lots of scarves...

I always tell my clients to bring the skincare routine down to the neck area. It is so important to include care to this area

“Nuns don’t have problems with their décolletage." Bravo for getting that gem, alexatucker! It's one of the best quotes I've seen in a skincare article in a long, long time. On the sunscreen front, oh how I wish I'd known that this mature woman's woe was preventable. SPF is the greatest anti-aging product we have in our arsenal. *sighs and looks forward to cold weather and turtlenecks*

It's so important not to leave behind your neck when it comes to skincare!