User's Manual: Skin

Great Skin: Look Younger from the Neck Down

Take time off your...chest
“I often see women in their early 20s who have blotchy, freckled chests—a clear sign that their skin has gotten too much sun,” Dr. Howe says. Eventually, the broken vessels and brown splotches will be joined by wrinkles, loose skin, and white spots, which appear when pigment-making cells sustain so much damage that they simply shut down.

Simple fixes: The best way to keep your decolletage from deteriorating? Cover it with clothing or sunscreen during the day and a lotion that contains antioxidants like co-enzyme Q10 and vitamin E at night; try Gold Bond Ultimate Restoring Skin Therapy Lotion. “The combination of these two ingredients neutralizes sun-induced free radicals and helps reduce wrinkles,” Dr. Ashinoff explains. To improve skin tone and texture, dermatologists often prescribe retinoid creams, like Renova and Avage. If the skin on your chest is too sensitive for these, over-the-counter retinol or retinaldehyde lotions work similarly but not as quickly; try Avène Eluage Cream ($39; www.spalook.com).

Intensive solutions: Glycolic peels ($300 to $500) can lighten spots and improve texture on large areas of skin. Fractional lasers also “do a good job of correcting most aspects of sun damage: freckling, blotchiness, rough texture, and deep lines,” Dr. Howe says. Each treatment costs a bundle (about $1,000), though, and youll need between three and six. If discoloration is your main concern, intense pulsed light can wipe out brown spots and red vessels in three to six treatments and is slightly less expensive ($500 to $900 per treatment).

Skin savers for your chest: Gold Bond Ultimate Restoring Lotion ($7.49; CVS stores)

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