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Décolleté Duty: Get Sun off your Chest

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Gorgeous Sophia Loren and her enviable décolleté

Gorgeous Sophia Loren and her enviable décolleté

I've already told you that every time I wear a low-ish neckline, my friend Lesa accuses me of having got sun on my décolleté And I confessed that she's sort of right – I did get sun, but not recently. The stubbornly darker skin on my upper chest is due to a number of years of inadequate sun protection. I'd remember my face, but not the skin revealed by my necklines. My bad.

Some time ago I mentioned to Rhonda Rovan, Best Health's beauty editor, that I'd heard someone say a woman's décolleté reveals her true age. Next thing I knew I was researching and writing this Best Health story on how to rejuvenate that oft-neglected area. Seems the neck and upper chest is the new anti-aging frontier, in fact. Several décolleté-specific formulas hit the shelves in the last few months, including new-this-month Olay Definity Neck & Chest Daily Restoration Treatment, which targets hyperpigmentation, that darned perma-tan.

The following range of products – Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate ($77), Neostrata Intense Skin Brightener ($72.50), Neutrogena Ultra-Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 70 ($15.99) and Olay Definity Neck & Chest Daily Restoration Treatment ($39.99) – are, or soon will be, part of my team of décolleté renovators.

Kiehl's and Neostrata lotions include Vitamin C, Kiehl's at 10% and Neostrata at 20% (one of the highest concentrations available), to fade hyperpigmentation and brighten skin. I'm including Vitamin C in my décolleté treatment because I think I'm dealing with more than mild damage (curse my missspent beauty youth). When I finish the Kiehl's, I'm moving on to the Neostrata. I can only use it at night, though, because as potent Vitamin C oxides in skin, it has a weird, raw sliced potato scent. *blergh*

For daytime, I start with non-sticky Cliniderm Gentle Protective Lotion SPF 45. (The SPF 70 Neutrogena Dry-Touch sunscreen is high on my list of next-to-trys; the "dry-touch" element is a particular lure.) Then I apply the fragrance-free Olay Definity Neck & Chest Daily Restoration Treatment, which contains niacinamide and a glucosamine complex to reduce existing discolouration and prevent further undesireable pigmentation.

That the Olay has no SPF bothered me. But Pam Baillie, P&G Beauty External Relations Manager, pointed out that adding a high SPF to the formula would make for a less pleasing cream texture. She likes the Olay applied after allowing a separate SPF to absorb, because it smooths and mattifies away any trace of sunscreen stickiness. I tried that approach with an SPF brand that does tend to leave skin a little tacky, and am now totally on board. After all, what girl likes a sticky chest? Or an old, wrinkly, quilted chest, for that matter?

Not me. You?