The Doctor Is In - Don’t Neglect Your Neck and Chest

06.19.2013, 10:15 CDT | Posted In: Signs of Aging, Skin Care

Dr. Joel Schlessinger

We put so much time and attention into improving and maintaining the skin on our face, it’s important to remember to also care for the delicate skin areas like our neck and chest, which can easily show the signs of aging. Factors like gravity, sun damage or having an ample chest can contribute to, and accelerate, the appearance of aging on your neck and chest.1

Read on as we discuss frequently asked questions regarding your décolletage with one of America’s Top Doctors 2, Dr. Joel Schlessinger, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Specialists P.C. and, to help you ditch the turtle neck and make you proud to put your best chest forward.

Obagi: How is the skin around our chest different than the rest of our body?

Dr. Schlessinger: The skin on our chest is more susceptible to daily damage than other areas of our body because we often forget to provide protection. The skin in this area is also thinner than other areas of the body, so it is more prone to the signs of aging. Additionally, there are few products that address this area and most laser procedures are tough to perform on this area due to the delicate skin.

Obagi: Over the years, I’ve noticed deep wrinkles in my neck and chest area. Is there anything I can do to treat or minimize them?

Dr. Schlessinger: The appearance of wrinkles on the neck and chest can be reduce with creams and serums.

Obagi: Can I get a peel on my chest and which type would you recommend?

Choosing a treatment for your chest is dependent on the concerns you wish to address. Microdermabrasion treatments gently exfoliate skin to restore softness and smoothness and can be done over a lunch hour. Chemical peels can help reveal younger-looking skin, while clay mask peels are best for uneven skin complexion. The Obagi Blue Peel RADIANCE®* is a great option for this area and compliments many other products nicely.

Obagi: I notice the skin on my chest has both dark spots (hyperpigmentation) and light spots (hypopigmentation). What does this mean and what can I do about it?

Dr. Schlessinger: Dark spots, or hyperpigmentation, are caused by extra melanin or pigment in the skin due to sun exposure, or aging. Light spots, or hypopigmentation, occur when pigment cannot be produced or is being inhibited.3 The easiest way to address both of these conditions is to prevent them before they appear by making sure to always wear sunscreen, but should they occur you do have options to improve their appearance.

The best way to treat hyperpigmentation topically is with skin lightening products that contain hydroquinone, a melanin-inhibitor that reduces the production of pigment. Obagi has an impressive line of skin care products with prescription 4% hydroquinone to minimize dark spots and hyperpigmentation. See Important Safety Information for these products below. Peels and in-office procedures are also great options for helping to create the appearance of a radiant, even-looking complexion.

Light spots are not as easy to treat. I suggest concealing them with makeup or individuals can bleach normal skin with topical creams containing hydroquinone to make an even color.

Obagi: Can I use my current face skin care regimen, including sunscreen, on my neck and chest or does it need something different?

Dr. Schlessinger: When it comes to daily maintenance, your everyday facial routine is probably suitable for your neck and chest, although I recommend including a targeted product. Sunscreen should be applied to any area exposed to sunlight. You can use your everyday facial sunscreen like Obagi® Sun Shield Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50, for oilier skin on your face, neck and chest.

Obagi: Breast augmentations are becoming increasingly popular. But surgery is only half the battle. Should I treat my skin for wrinkles and pigmentation before or after my surgery?

Dr. Schlessinger: It’s appropriate to treat skin for wrinkles and dark spots before and after procedures. However, it is important to discontinue use at least one week prior to the procedure and throughout the healing process as to not affect your results. Its best to work with your physician to determine what is right for you.

Now that you’ve learned your neck and chest are essentially an extension of the delicate skin on your face, you can give it the care and attention it needs to proudly show off that low cut shirt or new necklace with a flawless backdrop—your décolletage! Find a doctor in your area to discuss your options today.

For more skin care advice, read Dr. Schlessinger’s blog or sign up for Inner Circle to receive expert skin care tips and advice straight to your email inbox.


  1. Neck and Chest Wrinkles. LIVESTRONG Website. . Accessed June 6, 2013.
  2. Dr. Schlessinger. Lovely Skin Website. Accessed June 6, 2013.
  3. Hyperpigmentation, Hypopigmentation, and Your Skin. WebMD Website. Accessed June 6, 2013.

Using a Broad Spectrum sunscreen like Sun Shield Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50 along with a comprehensive sun protection program including wearing sun protective clothing and avoiding the sun between the hours of 10am and 2pm may help reduce the risk of premature skin aging.

*Not for consumers with active cold sores, herpes simplex, or warts in the area to be treated. Avoid direct sun exposure after the peel.

**The safety and effectiveness of the Obagi Nu-Derm® System beyond 24 weeks of use have not been established. The safety and effectiveness of the Obagi-C® Rx System beyond 12 weeks of use have not been established. If no improvement is seen after 3 months of treatment, use of these products should be discontinued.




9/16 OBG.0174.USA.16