Whether we’re rocking a swimsuit or wearing a low-cut top this summer, we want our skin to look the best it can. Dr. Rondi Walker, board certified plastic surgeon, tells us to protect our décolletage and improve sun damage.
What happens to the skin and neck area as a woman ages?
Our skin’s main support structure, collagen, starts to break down and is difficult to rebuild. The subcutaneous fat (fat under the skin) also deteriorates. Consequently, our skin becomes drier, thinner, and duller.
Because our skin doesn’t have the volume it had when we were younger, it looses pores, follicles, oil and sweat glands and makes it less efficient and more fragile.
Skin also becomes more sensitive to light, heat and extreme temperatures, which leads to increased problems with photo aging, and the emergence of sun freckles and liver spots. Further, the incidence of skin cancer rises because our skin can’t repair itself like it used to.
What are some easy things women can do to keep their décolletage areas healthy?
First and foremost, use sunscreen to protect yourself against UVA and UVB rays. Wear SPF30 for everyday use, and SPF50 or higher if you’re going to be in the sun for extended periods of time. One of the best over-the-counter brands is Neutrogena. Our office sells SPF50 from the ZO Skin Health line, which has a titanium dioxide base. No matter what skin type you have, you need to protect it. And don’t forget to moisturize daily!
If the damage has already been done, what can a woman do to improve the appearance of her skin?
It really depends on the patient, but some of the easier solutions we provide are skincare kits from ZO Skin Health, which will brighten, moisturize, and exfoliate, or light chemical peels, such as the ViPeel. These help to counter pigment damage and improve the appearance of our skin.
What if peels and creams aren’t enough?
If the problem is deeper wrinkles or more complex pigmentation, I use a Fraxel laser, which usually requires a series of treatments. This procedure should not be done when you’re going to be exposed to the sun.
Ultherapy is a fantastic treatment for deeper wrinkles and skin laxity, but it is not used to treat pigmentation. It treats deep and superficial levels. This non-invasive, in-office, procedure uses ultrasonic energy, which causes small bombardments in the very deep level below the skin. When these areas have to heal, new collagen is laid down and the skin tightens and smoothes out. It can be performed any time of year on any type of skin and is a one-time treatment. The full effect can be seen after 90 days, and the results last about 18 months.
Ultherapy on the chest
Dr. Walker is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who practices in Washington, DC. See her news segment below!