Advice from a dermatologist: Help! I’m waking up with wrinkles on my chest that won’t go away

January 29, 2024

Any given morning can bring all sorts of surprises for your skin—under-eye bags, pillow lines on your face, and even lines on your chest. Why does this happen? “Chest wrinkles can result from cumulative UV exposure which, in combination with aging, can lead to collagen loss,” says Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Cornell-New York Presbyterian Medical Center. “In some cases, side sleepers may notice chest wrinkles as a result of the skin folding while sleeping.” If chest lines are putting a wrinkle in your day, here are ways you can smooth them out.  

DO protect and moisturize 

If you’re already lathering your face and neck daily with SPF, don’t forget to include your chest, especially if the area is exposed or you’ll be outdoors. “Sun protection is key to preventing wrinkles in the chest and décolleté,” Dr. Garshick says. Regularly moisturizing the area also helps skin appear plumper. 

DON’T sleep on your side…if you can help it 

Side sleepers are more likely to develop chest wrinkles, so consider training yourself to sleep on your back. Another bonus to not sleeping on your side? You’ll avoid pillow lines on your face.  

DO think about ingredients 

To keep the chest hydrated and healthy, look for moisturizers rich in hyaluronic acid. Exfoliants such as glycolic and lactic acids can help improve discoloration and even skin tone while also boosting radiance around the area. “Retinoids can also be used on the chest a few times per week to improve overall texture and the appearance of fine lines as well as brown spots,” Dr. Garshick adds. Vitamin C is also as friendly to the skin on your chest as it is for your face. “Antioxidants can be important to protect the skin from free radical damage, which can lead to signs of skin aging,” Dr. Garshick adds.  

DON’T smoke 

Aside from the obvious health risks, smoking can be a major culprit for chest lines. According to Healthline, “toxins in the smoke trigger free radical production on your skin, especially on exposed areas of your skin like your fingers, neck and chest. This can put you at risk of developing wrinkles earlier in life.” 

DO consider treatments  

If you want to step up your skincare for your chest, Dr. Garshick suggests treatments such as chemical peels to exfoliate the skin as well as resurfacing lasers and microneedling to help boost collagen and smooth fine lines and wrinkles.  

…but DON’T go over the top with them

“The skin on the chest is thin and delicate, and may be more susceptible to skin irritation and scarring,” Dr. Garshick says. “For this reason, it’s important to be extra cautious when using harsh active ingredients or when performing in-office procedures.” 

DO stay hydrated

As always, hydration is the key to plumper, more radiant skin. Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking (and eating!) plenty of water throughout the day.  

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Murad, and are for informational purposes only, even if the advice of physicians and medical practitioners are included. This article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should not looked be considered specific medical advice.  

References for this information:
Healthline, December 2020

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Enid Portuguez is an L.A.-based writer and editor. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, InStyle and The Daily Beast. She is also the Director of Communications and Events at the Writers Guild Foundation.