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Many of us pay a lot more attention to the skin on our face than we do to the skin on our décolletage. Although it’s an area that’s often forgotten, your décolletage is frequently on display, especially when you wear an open shirt or plunging neckline.

Just like the skin elsewhere on your body, neglecting your décolletage can result in overexposure to harmful ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, sun damage, premature wrinkling, and other skin issues.

Here’s a look at everything you need to know about caring for your décolletage and giving it the attention it deserves.

Located south of your chin, the beauty industry refers to the décolletage as your neck and chest — a critical cosmetic area that often gets overlooked.

Like your face, this part of your body is prone to sun exposure and premature aging. It’s also a common area for skin cancers to develop.

According to Dr. Nikhil Dhingra of Spring Street Dermatology, sun damage, especially repetitive intense bursts, can result in collagen breakdown, brown sunspots, crepey skin, and visible blood vessels, all hallmarks of skin damage.

Because your décolletage is often exposed to the sun, it’s prone to skin cancer and early signs of aging, according to Dr. Michael T. Romano, FAAD, a CareMount Medical dermatologist.

Although UV radiation from the sun is the main risk factor for skin damage on the chest and neck, Romano says other factors such as genetic predisposition, the natural aging process, and pollution can also affect the appearance of your décolletage.

Here are 10 key ways to take care of the skin on your décolletage, according to the skin care experts.

A small dose of sunshine is an excellent way to boost your mood and increase vitamin D levels. But too much sun exposure can damage your skin and increase your risk of skin cancer.

Before heading outdoors, plan activities that allow you to stay in the shade. This way, you can enjoy the outdoors without being exposed to the full extent of the sun’s UV rays. Also, be sure to apply sunscreen to your décolletage for extra protection.

Additionally, try to limit the amount of time you spend in the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are most intense.

If you’re going to be spending time outdoors, make sure to apply sunscreen to the skin on your décolletage and any other exposed areas of your body.

For maximum protection, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, is SPF 30 or higher, and is waterproof.

Romano recommends physical sunblock with zinc and titanium because the active ingredients work immediately after application and offer a wider range of protection against UV radiation.

The skin on your décolletage is thin and delicate. To minimize damage, avoid scrubbing this area when cleansing.

Because scrubbing can irritate the skin and accelerate skin aging, the AAD recommends adopting a gentle approach when cleansing.

Instead of vigorously rubbing the skin on your neck and chest, use your fingertips to gently apply cleanser and rinse with lukewarm water.

To help combat aging, Dhingra recommends applying topical retinoids to this area. Retinoids, which are topical vitamin A-based derivatives, may help reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing collagen production.

If you use retinoids on your face, extend the treatment area to your neck and chest at night. Retinoid products are available by prescription or over the counter.

Here are some products that include retinol that can be found online:

In addition to cleansing the skin on your décolletage twice a day, consider using an exfoliating product or mask a few times a week. This can help slough away dead skin cells on your neck and chest.

To enhance skin hydration, Romano recommends using a moisturizer or serum with hyaluronic acid on the skin of your décolletage.

According to a 2014 study, hyaluronic acid has the ability to decrease the appearance of wrinkles, improve skin hydration, firmness, and elasticity, and keep skin looking firm and youthful.

Antioxidants like vitamin C may help protect your skin and reverse damage from free radicals.

Dhingra recommends Revision Skincare Nectifirm, a very popular option with clients. Other, more affordable options, include the following products that can be found online:

A slightly different recommendation, but one that works, according to Dhingra, is the SilcSkin Décollete Pad.

“I’ve had a few patients swear by these, and they’re fairly inexpensive,” he said.

These pads are made of 100 percent medical-grade silicone that you place on your décolletage at bedtime. The pads help trap moisture in your chest area and prevent compression-induced wrinkling while you sleep.

The primary way to protect your décolletage, says Romano, is by producing your own shade.

“This is accomplished by wearing wide-brim hats and clothing that covers your chest,” he said.

If you exercise in the sun, consider wearing athletic clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor, or UPF, of at least 30. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, some manufacturers will include this rating on the product label to indicate the amount of UV radiation that can penetrate the fabric and reach your skin.

If you have significant sun damage and advanced signs of aging on the skin in your chest and neck area, consider talking to a board certified dermatologist.

A dermatologist may be able to use treatments like microneedling, laser therapy, or chemical peels to improve the pigment, tone, and appearance of your décolletage.

Your skin care routine doesn’t stop at your neck. Your décolletage, which includes your neck and chest area, deserves just as much care and attention as other areas of your body.

Adopting a skin care routine that includes cleansing, moisturizing, exfoliating, and applying topical treatments to your décolletage can boost the appearance of this area.

Regularly wearing sunscreen and protecting your skin from the sun can also go a long way to help slow down the signs of aging and skin damage.

If you have questions or concerns about how to care for the skin on your décolletage, be sure to follow up with your doctor or dermatologist.