Back when Lisa Barr wore a size 34B bra, she didn’t know about cleavage wrinkles. But soon after she got breast implants in 1999, augmenting her measurements to a 36C, she started waking up with thick lines on her chest where one breast had fallen against the other as she slept on her side.
“The wrinkles would stay even when I was getting dressed,” said Barr, 40, a litigation paralegal in Rochester. Nor did they diminish as the day progressed. She could not help wondering why she had gotten the implants if she was going to have to cover the areas around and above them.
The skin just below the neck can reveal a woman’s age and skin-care history just as easily as her hands can. Cleavage wrinkles are deep, vertical creases caused by hours spent sleeping on one’s side, where gravity forces the top breast to bend farther past the body’s midline than it should. The lines can also be caused by sports and push-up bras, which squash the breasts together and are often worn for hours.
Once the collagen in skin breaks down from age and sun exposure, those wrinkles tend to linger. And thanks to gravity, the generously endowed — whether naturally or surgically — tend to be more afflicted.
“It is definitely something women complain about,” Tiffany Grunwald, a plastic surgeon in Santa Monica, California, wrote in an e-mail. “Most of what we have to offer is skin care to try and plump up the skin. Unfortunately, there is not a good place to hide the scar from a ‘chest lift’ so we don’t do that.”
Barr tried applying moisturizer and vitamin E to her chest, and sleeping with a pair of socks between her breasts to keep them separated, but the socks would not stay in place. Then she found the Kush Support (US$19.99), a contoured plastic cylinder that is “firm enough to support the breasts yet light enough you won’t feel it’s there,” said its inventor, Cathinka Chandler, 42. The device is placed between the breasts at night.
“When I got it, I thought, there’s no way this is going to work,” Barr said. “It didn’t even weigh two ounces.”
She tried it anyway. Within a few weeks, she said, both she and her boyfriend saw a reduction in lines on her chest.
Cleavage wrinkles had bothered Rachel de Boer, too. A former flight attendant who lives in Amstelveen, the Netherlands, de Boer, 50, noticed the lines on her chest in her 30s. Her solution was to invent La Decollette (about US$73 from decollette.co.uk). It looks like a sports bra worn backward: a supportive racer-back swath of fabric — cotton or Lycra, in black, white or animal prints — is in the front.
The cleavage wrinkles problem is also being tackled close to Los Angeles, the unofficial capital of breast implants. Sheena Seegraves, who lives in Riverside, California, was 23 and a customer-service representative for a propane company when she noticed that her older female relatives had distressed decolletages. She created the ChestSavers bra (US$56 to US$78) to prevent them. The product resembles La Decollette, except that its cleavage panel is a swath of lace-covered fleece that comes with a removable foam insert, so that the garment will not absorb any moisturizer that may be on the chest. It comes in several styles, including one with cording-lined cups to wear during the day.
There is also the Intimia Pillow (US$59.95), which is a doggie-bone-shaped piece of polyester and latex that works like the Kush Support but that has racer-back straps so that it does not move.