The Décolletage Area: What To Do About Chest Wrinkles, Age Spots & More (Updated Oct. 2023)

Your “décolletage” area. It is one of your greatest assets! It’s something you show to the world—almost as much and as often as your face. ‘My what?’ You pretty much know what it is but may hesitate to say it (because it’s a French word, often used imprecisely).

That’s where we come in. We’re going to tell you not only what your décolletage is—but how you can smooth those chest wrinkles and skin texture issues to keep it smooth and in prime condition. Trust us, you will want to.

Décolletage & Décolletté   

Let’s start with the dictionary. The origin of décolletage is French, from décolleter, the action of cutting or wearing a low neckline. Its first known use was in 1894. Here’s what the Webster dictionary has to say about it:

décolletage:   noun  dé·col·le·tage \(ˌ)dā-ˌkä-lə-ˈtäzh,

  • 1. the neckline or top of a dress cut low so as to bare the neck, shoulders, and cleavage
  • 2. the flesh revealed in this type of dress”

“décolleté  adjective  dé·col·le·té \(ˌ)dā-ˌkäl-ˈtā, –

  • 1. Cut low so as to bare the neck and shoulders, as some dresses 
  • 2. Wearing a décolleté dress, etc.”

(Source: Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 2023)

Painting of Marie-Antoinette showing her decolletage
Marie-Antoinette, 1775 – Musée Antoine Lécuyer

So, to clarify, you would be correct in saying something like: “She’s really showing off her décolletage – in that very décollete dress.

What and Where Is the Décolletage?

The décolletage is normally interpreted to include the area between your breasts, upward to your neck. It actually provides a frame for the face and the bust. It can include part of the shoulders, cleavage, and collarbone regions. That’s a lot of territory. For such a vast landscape, the décolletage is actually one of the most neglected areas of the body. Big mistake.

You’ve learned to protect and pamper your facial (and hopefully neck!) skin. You cleanse, moisturize, add sunscreen, and apply a little carefully chosen makeup. You even take steps to smooth out unwanted lines and wrinkles. Then, of course, the attention paid to your breasts. Many women invest greatly in their breasts, in terms of size, shape, and keeping the breast skin supple, smooth, and beautiful.

What Is Floating Head Syndrome?

Woman wears a dress showing her smooth decolletage.

What happens between the face and the breasts?  We asked our aesthetician for her opinion. She says it’s what skincare experts often refer to as “floating head syndrome.” Smooth, beautiful face and breasts and then an upper chest with spots of all shapes and sizes, major sun damage, color changes, crinkles, deep wrinkles, and sagging. The goal is to maintain all of the skin.      

How To Get Rid of Chest Wrinkles & Other Décolletage Concerns

The décolletage is exposed to sun and soap, scratchy fabrics, and a lack of attention. Your first line of defense is to remember it’s there. Your beautiful, visible skin doesn’t stop at your neck and the bra line. Here are some ways you can ensure your décolletage gets the attention it deserves:

  • Regular Moisturization: Applying a high-quality moisturizer daily can help keep the skin hydrated, making it appear plumper and more youthful. Look for products containing hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and peptides.
  • Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen: Protect the décolletage from sun damage by applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every day. This will prevent further aging and damage caused by UV rays.
  • Topical Retinoids: Products containing retinol or prescription-strength retinoids can promote collagen production, improving skin texture and reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Antioxidant Serums: Products with ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin E, and niacinamide can combat free radical damage, promote skin repair, and brighten the skin.
  • Chemical Peels: Done professionally, chemical peels can exfoliate the top layer of skin, revealing smoother, fresher skin beneath. They can also stimulate collagen production and diminish age spots.
  • Laser Treatments: Laser skin resurfacing treatments smooth chest and cleavage wrinkles, reduce sun damage, and smooth out uneven pigmentation. They work by promoting collagen production and resurfacing the skin.
  • Dermabrasion: This treatment exfoliates the skin’s surface, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and scars.
  • Gentle Exfoliation: Use a gentle scrub or exfoliating product once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells, promote cell turnover, and reveal smoother skin.

And, our in-house expert has some very practical advice:

  • Sleep position can add to wrinkling in the décolletage area! Side-sleepers have a little more of a tendency to develop wrinkling in the chest and cleavage.

The skin and tissue in the décolletage area are thinner than in most other areas of the body. That means it’s more likely to show signs of aging more quickly. Thinner skin, loss of elasticity, and sun exposure all speed up the visible aging of our skin.  If you can’t avoid sleeping on your side, look around for different types of pillows to help position you better to discourage crinkling.

What About BOTOX® for Chest Wrinkles?

BOTOX is often a powerhouse treatment for wrinkles and other signs of aging. It diminishes expression lines on the face, reduces vertical banding on the neck, and smooths “orange-peel skin” on the chin. However, the skin on the chest is different from that on the face, and results can vary. While BOTOX may help in some cases, other treatments like laser resurfacing or chemical peels might be more effective for deeper wrinkles or sun-damaged skin on the chest. It’s crucial to consult with an experienced provider to determine the best treatment option for your specific concerns.

Are There Surgical Solutions for Décolletage?

The décolletage is not an area that invites a surgical solution. This part of the body is much more prone to the formation of thick scars known as keloids, and it just doesn’t lend itself well to incisions for lifting purposes. A facelift or neck lift, while very effective in their own areas, does not really address the upper chest and cleavage.

For a lasting, beautiful décolletage, your best bets are regular, careful skin maintenance, and, if necessary, a peel or laser resurfacing treatment to restore or improve the upper layers of skin. In other words, your best approach is the prevention of sun damage and regular, ongoing care of this delicate and highly visible part of your anatomy. Think about it, and for a quick reminder, take a look at your décolletage the next time you choose to wear a scoop neck or open an extra shirt button.

You can learn about other rejuvenation options at our plastic surgery practice in San Jose. Use our online form to request a consultation or call us at (408) 356-4241 to schedule an appointment.

(A board-certified plastic surgeon in San Jose/Silicon Valley, Dr. Vincent Lepore offers a full range of cosmetic surgery and nonsurgical options at Reveal Plastic Surgery.)

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