For the past 15 years, Mary Lee has trusted her pale, allergy-prone skin to the firm hand of facialist Rosaline Lowe. “I just ask for whatever is good and new and listen to her,” the Brookline artist said. “I’m older, so I’ll use anything that works.”
So when Lowe first suggested adding décolleté treatments to her regular facial regime, Lee happily and immediately acquiesced. “The area became smoother and less wrinkly,” Lee said. “Your skin is alive and young, and it’s fabulous. It pops.”
Heaving bosoms may be the stuff of romance-novel legend, but the décolleté, or upper chest area, tends to be a cosmetically neglected part of body. Skincare zealots usually quit their cleansing regimes once they hit the jawline, and while facials often include a shoulder massage, few attend to the neck and chest in any meaningful way.
But now some local salons are offering décolleté treatments for this oft-exposed bit of body geography. Exhale Mind Body Spa in the Back Bay recently introduced its Bodice Facial, a 30-minute treatment designed exclusively for the neck and chest. Red Zoe, director of skin care development, added the regimen to address the needs of an area she calls the “Aphrodite part of the body.”
“The décolleté is one of the most beautiful and feminine areas of the body and should be treated in the same manner that one treats one’s face,” Zoe says. “It ages at the same rate as the face and should be nurtured in a similar fashion.”
During the treatment, the décolleté is treated with an enzyme mask to slough off dry skin, then hydrated with a softening mask. A cool laser treatment then tightens the skin. Zoe says the $85 treatment, which can help fade sun and liver spots, is most popular with baby boomers reluctantly owning up to years of sunbathing. (A facial is an additional $65.)
The Equinox Spa at Boston in the Back Bay offers the 45-minute Décolleté Boost, which spa manager Judilyn Green describes as “almost like a facial.” Steps include cleansing, toning, steaming, a botanical enzyme peel, and a moisturizing mask – plus lots of massage. Green explains that dehydration – due to one too many cocktails or dry air – causes fine vertical lines to appear on the chest. The Boost, at $35, helps plump the skin, she says, resulting in “that really glowing finish.”
Lowe, the owner of Rosaline’s Skincare & Spa, is emphatic when discussing the importance of proper neck and chest care.
“I have clients come in for facials, and I have to tell them how important it is to keep that area moisturized,” she says. During her 40-minute Neck & Eye Boost, she treats the neck and chest to both collagen (for moisture) and elastin (for firmness), then covers the area with plastic wrap for up to a half-hour to let the ingredients take effect. The cost? $70. If sun damage to the chest is significant, she might also suggest a light microdermabrasion or glycolic peel.
At the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, Patrycja Crzarnecka, owner of the Estetika at Royal Treatments Spa, offers a 25-minute Neck and Decolletage Treatment that includes cleansing, exfoliation, massage, and an alpha hydroxy mask. She says the $40 treatment is most popular with women concerned with early signs of aging. “The face you can cover with makeup, but not the neck, chest, and hands,” she says.
Which is why dermatologists contend that prevention is the best way to keep neck and chest looking youthful. That means using sunblock daily.
“People are better at putting sunscreen on their face, but people who want to look their best should use sunscreen in both areas,” said Dr. Mathew Avram, director of the Dermatology Laser & Cosmetics Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. In terms of treatment for the skin, he said: “We want to use lasers that can treat the underlying damage.”
A visit to the spa can’t hurt, either. Estheticians say the results of a décolleté treatment can be extended by staying hydrated, protecting the neck and chest with scarves and sunblock, and using products such as Clarins Super Restorative Decollete and Neck Concentrate and Bliss’s Thinny Thin Chin.
All of which help assure bodice-ripping appeal for years to come