Warm sunny days call for cool sundresses and skimpy tops and, hey, why not show a bit of cleavage.  But if your décolleté hasn’t seen the light of day for many long winter months and the only TLC you have given it is a splodge of whatever body lotion comes to hand as you stumble out of the shower, then chances are that your chin to nipple region is dry and creased. So bust out the good stuff and get to work on that crinkly cleavage.

Start with dry brushing. As Kim told us the other day, there is nothing better than regular brushing for the softest skin. Dry brushing removes dead skin, stimulates the lymphatic system, and helps with digestion. I use a boar brush, a Clarisonic, or the less expensive Nutra Sonic.

Exfoliation is really important to smooth the roughness of dry and/or sun damaged skin and brighten things up. Glycolic acid reacts with the upper layer of the epidermis, weakening the binding properties of the lipids that hold the dead skin cells together. This allows the outer skin to “dissolve” revealing the underlying skin. My favorite way to apply glycolic is to use Somme Institute’s Transport Pads ($58 in the TIA shop). These pre-saturated pads are easy to use and you can rub with vigor on any patches of sun damage that need extra work.

Dermophisiologique Xomega has quickly become one of my favorite body lotions ($80 in the TIA shop). This is a really nourishing cream that is rich in omegas. I am also loving the same company’s Bioage ($100) – it gives the skin the creamy richness of butter. Really! It improves skin elasticity with alpha lipoic acid, phytic acid and papaya extract. A full review is coming up soon.

I also like to give myself some extra pampering with Pevonia Botanica’s Ligne Esthebuste ($67). This light oil uses an extra from the sausage tree. Its proper name is kigelia africana and, appropriately, African folklore has it that the extract will firm breast tissue. I have been using Ligne Esthebuste and, to my surprise, there may something to it.

This could, of course, be wishful thinking on my part. There is absolutely no clinical evidence that I could find that supports the breast firming claims. What is certain though is that kigelia africana (with its gorgeous bat-pollinated flowers and bizarre monster sausage-like fruit) is an antibacterial, a “significant” (in the words of one study) anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. The leaves and flowers are rich in hexadecanoic acid, a fatty acid, and the other important component is verminoside. There are also steroids that explain why the plant has traditionally been used to treat eczema. On balance, I don’t buy the breast tissue firming theory, but as a powerful anti-inflammatory, kigelia africana should improve skin elasticity.