Welcome to our column, "Hey, Quick Question," where we investigate seemingly random happenings in the fashion (and beauty) industry. Enjoy!
There's something deeply satisfying about masking. Clay, turmeric, sheet or — for the truly advanced, multi-masking – there's just something satisfying about pressing a layer of something skin-saving on and feeling all of your possibly questionable skin-care choices (not washing your face, wearing makeup to the gym, that third margarita) melt away. Are they a magic cure-all? No. Does that make us love them any less? Nope.
Masks have been around forever, but over the last few years they've really stolen the spotlight thanks to gimmicks and trends, not to mention the outspoken masses of mask-obsessed Korean skin-care devotees. And while we wonder how we ever did without some of them (looking at you, Farmacy Hydrating Coconut Gel Masks) there are others that still seem a little kooky and frankly, kind of ridiculous. Take, for example, the new niche market of masks for your girls, and no, we don't mean your gal pals.
Masks specifically designed for your chest (and often specifically tailored to target cleavage, actual breasts or décolletage) have become increasingly common of late. There are K-beauty versions, like Infinitive Beauty Collagen Chest Masks, which look like gold nipple pasties had a baby with pineapple slices, French iterations (the Timeless Truth Firming Breast Mask) and special silicone masks that are supposed to ward off between-breast wrinkles that can appear after years of being a side sleeper (see: the Sio Skinpad). All this fuss made us wonder if we've been missing out on a key step to our youthful skin regimen (or if somebody's just trying to get us to shell out extra cash to solve beauty problems we weren't even sure we had.) So we asked an expert.
"The skin on the chest is much thinner than the face and doesn't have the pilosebaceous units that the face does," says Dr. Jeannette Graf, a dermatologist in NYC. In case you're not also a dermatologist, pilosebaceous units are the combination of muscles, hairs and sebaceous glands that help deliver your skin's natural oil to the surface. Obviously that oil is a big deal when it comes to keeping your skin looking plump and moisturized, so areas with fewer of these units are more prone to showing their age. "It's quite conceivable that what helps the face with collagen production and lightening helps the chest," Graf continues. So, should you be taking care of the skin in this area? Absolutely. Could that even mean busting out the occasional mask or treatment? For sure. But Graf isn't completely sold on the need for these chest-specific products.
There's no evidence that you need a specially designed mask to keep your breasts looking perky, though the carefully crafted shapes of certain chest-specific sheet masks are no doubt easier to apply to those areas than standard face-shaped ones. The best thing to do, though, if you're concerned about taking care of the skin on your chest is to always protect it from damaging UV rays with broad-spectrum sunscreen and regularly slather on moisturizer.
Since the skin on your neck and chest bears many similarities to the also-delicate eye area, a good rule of thumb is to treat both areas with much the same level of care. "Skin on the chest can become more irritated with stronger products, and therefore these products should either be used less frequently or with thick moisturizer and SPF on top," suggests Graf.
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