Today I’m delighted to share a valuable post by Julie Lardner of The Beauty Issue, skincare therapist of more than 20 years. The Beauty Issue is where a community of women can find refreshingly honest advice to help tackle the challenges of caring, not just for their skin, but their attitude to ageing. The Beauty Issue provides its audience with a balanced, intelligent perspective offering genuine advice to inspire, enlighten and empower women in making better choices in how to care for their skin and to age gracefully, beautifully, fabulously and positively.
Our breasts are a symbol of nourishment on every level and connect with the heart chakra. They also represent our ability to give and receive love. Any difficulties that we experience with self-love can manifest in this area. I thought it would be great to hear from Julie on how we can care and support our breasts in a practical and loving way. Often this is a part of our body that can be ignored, so this is an invitation to give them some loving attention.
Whilst reading this post below, I invite you to reflect upon how YOU feel about your breasts. What are your most recurring thoughts or judgements about them?
Too big, too small or just right? Be aware and just notice.
Your Breasts – A beautiful reflection of your own affection
When Michelle first asked me to write a post for Sacred Self I was delighted. Michelle suggested I base the article around caring for the skin of your breasts. I have to admit, initially I felt a little apprehensive. After all, the skin of your boobs, well it’s just skin. It needs all the love and attention as the skin of your face or any other part of your body.
I was left wondering what I could say that I wouldn’t say about caring for the skin of your face?
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 breast feeding, the skin in this area is, well, all things being 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.
But still, I continue. On further reflection, my eye travels further up my body to my decolletage, (the neckline or chest area) upon which I ponder the fact, that 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 continue on.
My eye travels further north to my neck, like many women, 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.
You may think this all too vain, you may think you don’t care about your neck, your decolletage or the skin of your breasts, you may say, well as long as I love and accept myself, as long as I have self worth all is well with the world, and yes, that would all be true and significant, but you would be dismissing the fact that your self esteem and confidence are intrinsically linked to how you feel and care about your inner health and outward appearance. Caring for your skin including everything below your jaw line all adds up to how you feel about yourself. Taking the time to care about your outward appearance is an expression of your internal attitude towards, YOU.
So, with all this pondering, this is what I know to be true.
Caring for our necks, decolletage and breasts should be all encompassing.
Your neck, already such fine delicate skin, with no supportive connective tissue to hold back gravity, loses its 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, breast feeding, 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 skin care alone will not solve any of these problems. But, it certainly does help 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.
Despite the seemingly endless array of cosmetic and beauty products all coming with a little bit of hope and a lot of promise, some with celebrity status, some backed up by genuine science and medically proven, others, ethically aware, organically based or naturally derived. Whatever type of skincare you choose, it all comes back to one thing. One single message. 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, wonderful individuals.
So what should you do?
● Stay away from the direct heat of the sun. Wear sunscreen everyday. Not just in the obvious months of summer, but all year round. Ultraviolet A (UVA) radiates every day come rain, hail or shine and penetrates all the way into the dermal layer of your skin (the living layer where collagen and elastin are produced). You cannot feel UVA light, it will not burn your skin, but it will cause long lasting damage at a cellular level.
● Find a good quality, broad spectrum 30 plus sunscreen and wear it every day and take the time to include your neck and decolletage in your application and, 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.
● When showering, choose cream and milk cleansers rather than lathering soaps and gels. These gentle cleansers combine cleansing and emollient ingredients which cleanse your skin while still leaving behind a light moisturising barrier.
● Moisturisers loaded with hyaluronic acid, glycerin and essential fatty acids that mimic your skin’s natural lipid barrier are a great option for protection against moisture loss.
● Seek out good quality serums that contain potent antioxidants to fight free radical activity such as Retinol (Vit A) Niacinamide (Vit B3) and Ascorbic Acid (Vit C).
● Avoid harsh scrubs in favour of gentle exfoliating serums or lotions that contain AHA’s and BHA’s to stimulate cellular turnover and renewal.
● Make sure you are getting plenty of Essential Fatty Acids and Vitamin D in your diet by increasing your daily consumption of Omega 3 oils, which can be found naturally in foods such as oily fish, flaxseeds, walnuts and eggs.
● Choose to eat fruits like blueberries, raspberries, kiwi fruit, pears and oranges to get your daily dose of vitamin c for antioxidant protection as well as being an essential nutrient for the production of much needed collagen for stronger skin.
● Vigorous exercise puts a strain on the ligaments that 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. In fact, 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.
● The highs and lows of weight gain and crash dieting can put 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.
● Do not, ever, ever, spray fragrance on your neck or decolletage. Your fragrance will react with sunshine and leave you with a type of hyperpigmentation that is very difficult to treat.
● 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 disrepair I have talked about today; which is all the more reason to take good care now. It’s not just about good skin care, (even though it’s important), it’s about prevention, a global approach to your beauty, the health of your skin and your inner wellness along with a great attitude.
Thank you Julie, that is so insightful and gives lots to reflect upon. Very valuable. For more about Julie’s work please check out The Beauty Issue.
Now ladies, please share with the gorgeous women in your life.
I would love to hear below in the comments which of these tips you have tried or are going to try?
What other tips do you use to care for your breasts? Share below so we can all learn.