Want to keep your cleavage looking youthful, firm and perky? You might start by covering it up.
Summertime is swimwear and high skin damage season. We expose once hidden body parts when the weather turns warmer outside. Worse yet, whatever harms our décolletage ups our risk of skin cancer. According to the CDC, rates of skin cancer are now double what they were 30 years ago.
It's easy to ignore calls to cover up during the summer months. Who wants to think of how to prevent cleavage wrinkles when you don't even have them? It can take years for the damage to show up in the form of moles, sun spots, and vertical lines. But before you know it, 5, 10, or 15 years have passed. You look in the mirror one day and wonder why you have a group of funky little ridges and bumps on a once pristine chest. And, yes, I speak from experience.
Cleavage wrinkles (or "creasage") appears when the thin, delicate skin on your chest (a) ages; and (b) becomes damaged by the sun. I didn't notice it until I hit my mid-50s. Little fine lines appeared where all was once smooth and tight. Anyone with a fairer complexion, like mine, is at high risk. But whatever your skin tone, unprotected exposure to the sun's harsh UV rays isn't a good idea.
Studies show that regular use of sunscreen reduces skin aging. It helps prevent the appearance of premature cleavage wrinkles and other blemishes while keeping you looking younger.
But for whatever reason, most of us don't bother to wear any. A recent survey found that only 30% of women apply sunscreen on a regular basis. They cover their faces but neglect other areas like the neck and chest. I get the disconnect. It's easy to slather on my morning facial moisturizer that includes an SPF 25. But I don't think to conceal what's further south and bared by my scoop front t-shirt or dress.
Even when you wear it, your sunscreen may not be as effective as you think. How to know? Check out Environmental Work Group's (EWG) report on the best and worst products on the market. I was surprised to find one of my favorite brands on the "Hall of Shame" list. Now's the time to go through your bathroom drawer and look at labels.
It's hard to consider the long-term consequences of UV sun damage, especially when you can't see any problems today. There are many ways to reduce risk. You can stay in the shade, keep your skin covered, and wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. You can even reverse some of the damage done to décolletage, temporarily. But these procedures are both time-consuming and expensive.
Chest wrinkles may not be that big a deal to you. My dermatologist (who practices in sunny Los Angeles) tells me my skin looks pretty good for a woman my age. She's seen far worse damage in patients younger than me. But I wish I had developed better sun safety habits in my 20s, 30s, and even 40s. Worse than unsightly cleavage wrinkles is knowing I could have done more to reduce my lifetime risk of developing skin cancer.
What's your view? Do you wear sunscreen or avoid over-exposure to the sun? What do you think is the best way to prevent cleavage wrinkles?
Featured image: Vitamin A Brena One-Piece Swimsuit via Nordstrom