I feel bad about my neck and other stories.
There is a book written by Nora Ephron, the film director who brought us films such as When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle and the classic 90’s movie, You’ve Got Mail. When Nora was not writing and directing, she penned short stories which eventually, became the book called I Feel Bad About My Neck.
Nora describes perfectly the feelings evoked as we watch helplessly as our necks begin to age. Nora has a wry wit, and you’ll have to read the book if you want to know the conclusions Nora draws on the ageing skin of her neck.
But of course, it did get me to thinking about the skin condition of my neck, breasts and décolletage. What can be done to slow down the ageing skin process?
Keeping abreast of things. Time for a bit of reflection and soul-searching.
To be truthful, I ignore the skin of my boobs, having never seen the light of day, nor the rigours of pregnancy and breastfeeding, the skin in this area are, well, all things considered in pretty good condition. At 54 they look kind of okay, although I wish they were smaller and gravity wasn’t interfering quite so much.
Onwards to my decolletage (the neckline or chest area). I ponder the fact, even with my evangelical love affair with sunscreen since my twenties, growing up in Australia has taken its toll, sun damage from my childhood and teen years deciding to make itself known in my forties and fifties. Then there are the little vertical creases that, any big breasted beauty who sleeps on her side will know are almost impossible to avoid.
A struggle for acceptance of the march of time and an unwavering, yet fragile self-approval come to mind right about now, but I shall continue.
Finally, to my neck, like Nora, I’m not too fond of the way my neck looks as I age. I’d rather have the swan-like and youthful neck of my twenties and thirties. But again, sun exposure, time and gravity have all made an appearance.
So, with all this pondering, this is what I know to be true.
Caring for the ageing skin of my neck, decolletage and breasts is essential.
Your neck. Already such translucent, delicate skin, with no supportive connective tissue to hold back gravity, loses it’s elasticity and begins to sag and with too much exposure to the sun your lovely neck can become dry, crepey, red and blotchy.
So too, your decolletage, often forgotten, and yet regularly exposed to ultraviolet light, can suffer the same fate, with uneven pigmentation, redness, blotchiness and dryness being the legacy of too much sun as well.
Your breasts, protected most of the time from the environment, still need extra help, pregnancy, breastfeeding, weight loss, weight gain all put stress on the skin of your breasts as well as the ligaments that support them, leaving your skin with a loss elasticity. Your breasts begin to lose their firm tone and, well, their perkiness.
It all sounds a bit depressing, and skincare alone will not solve any of these problems. But, it indeed and good, well-considered skincare should always be the first place to start in both prevention and improvement in your skin’s tone and texture.
It’s time to stop ignoring our greatest assets.
The neck, decolletage and your breasts all represent you and your unique loveliness. Your sexuality, your sensual femininity, maternal comfort, self-esteem and confidence are all intertwined with these parts of your body.
Caring for the skin of your face, your neck, your boobs, your hands, your feet.. it all matters, it all contributes to our subconscious attitude to caring about ourselves as unique, beautiful individuals.
12 Ideas to stop feeling bad about your neck and slow down the signs of ageing skin.
1. Stay well away from the direct heat of the sun. Wear sunscreen every day. Not just in d summer, but all year round. Ultraviolet A (UVA) radiates everyday rain, hail or shine and penetrates the dermal layer of your skin (the living layer where collagen and elastin grow). You can’t feel UVA light, it will not burn your skin, but it will cause long-lasting damage at a cellular level.
2. Find a good quality, broad-spectrum 30 plus sunscreen. Wear it every day. Take the time to include your neck and decolletage in your application. It’s worth noting: It takes only 5 minutes of ultraviolet A exposure every day for the damage to accumulate in your skin and over time will reveal signs of photo-ageing and put you at greater risk of skin cancer.
3. When showering, choose cream and milk cleansers. Gentle, low foaming cleansers combine cleansing and emollient ingredients which cleanse your skin while still leaving behind a light moisturising barrier.
4. Moisturisers loaded with hyaluronic acid, glycerin and essential fatty acids. To mimic your skin’s natural lipid barrier and an excellent option for protection against daily moisture loss.
5. Seek out good quality serums that contain potent antioxidants. Fight free radical activity with topically applied Retinol (Vitamin A) Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) and Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).
6. Avoid harsh scrubs. Gentle exfoliating serums or lotions that contain AHA’s and BHA’s to stimulate cellular turnover and renewal are the best options for any areas of delicate skin.
7. Make sure you are getting plenty of Essential Fatty Acids and Vitamin D. Increase your daily consumption of Omega 3 oils, found naturally in foods such as oily fish, flax seeds, walnuts and eggs.
8. Get your daily dose of vitamin C. As well as being an essential nutrient for the production of much-needed collagen for firmer skin, vitamin C is also an important antioxidant to fight free radical damage. Choose to eat fruits like blueberries, raspberries, kiwi fruit, pears and oranges.
9. Vigorous exercise puts a strain on the skin of your breasts. Ligaments connect your chest wall to your pectoral muscles which lie behind your breasts. These ligaments can wear out a bit like a rubber band, so wearing a comfortable, supportive bra that fits you well is pretty important. 8 out of 10 women wear ill-fitting bras!! Don’t be one of the 8. Occasionally and when the need arises get yourself fitted out by an expert. You’ll be surprised at the results.
10. The highs and lows of weight gain and crash dieting. Putting additional stretch on the skin of the breasts potentially leaving you with stretch marks and sagging. Try to keep your weight at a healthy range; one that feels right for you.
11. Do not. I repeat. Do not spray fragrance on your neck or décolletage. Your chosen fragrance will react with sunshine and leave you with a type of hyperpigmentation that is very difficult to treat.
12. Try to change the way you lie in bed by sleeping on your back. I know. Difficult. But, this one habit will help minimise those annoying vertical lines that etch themselves into the skin of our decolletage.
A final thought.
You may be many moons away from worrying about some of the signs of ageing skin I have talked about today, which to be honest, is all the more reason to take action now. It’s not just about proper skincare, (even though it’s essential), it’s about prevention, a global approach to your beauty, including skin treatments to improve the health of your skin in these areas and of course, your inner wellness along with a great attitude.
See you next time,