Let’s talk about your breasts … er, chest

Summer is here in full force — at least in North America — and that means a lot of people are spending time either poolside or at the beach. They’re working on relaxing as well as their tans, and they’re sharing their fun-in-the-sun moments on social media.

Those bronze glows often look perfect from a distance, but if you’re a woman over the age of 40, try enlarging your photo. You might see something like this:

Sun damage on a woman’s chest. (Note: not my chest.) 

Full disclosure: That’s not my chest. It’s the chest of a woman whose skin is prematurely wrinkled due to sun damage. This isn’t even a worst-case scenario. I’ve seen Facebook and Instagram photos of women whose entire chest areas, from armpit to armpit, look wrinkled, dry and — frankly — old.

The truth is that a bronze glow can be gorgeous, but also (in the not-unlikely event of skin cancer) scarring or deadly. As tempting as it might be to bake your way to brown, it’s smarter to slather yourself in sunscreen from forehead to neck to chest. And the higher the SPF, the better. Not only will it protect this delicate area from the sun’s harmful rays, but it will also help keep wrinkles at bay. After all, a wrinkled neck and chest — as well as the sagging skin that’s also a sunshine side effect — are extremely aging. My personal choice when it comes to face, neck and chest protection is Shiseido’s Ultimate Sun Protection Cream, which has an SPF of 50. It hasn’t failed me yet!

My go-to sunscreen: Shiseido’s Ultimate Sun Protection Cream

I personally don’t mind having a peaches and cream (translation: very pale) complexion. But if you can’t face going to the beach or pool with a “ghost tan,” give self-tanners a try. The newest versions are l0ng-lasting, streak-free and minus the distinctive chemical odor that accompanied earlier concoctions. I usually reach for Vita Liberata, which elicits an olive cast instead of the dreaded orange tone.
So remember: Protect your face, neck and chest from premature aging with a powerful sunscreen. Your skin will thank you.

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