The other day I popped in to see theaesthetic guru Dr Michael Prager as I’d run out of his brilliant Night Oil With Retinol (£90, pragerskincare.com), my favourite nocturnal potion (and yours, too, in last year’s Inspire Beauty Awards).
‘What the hell can I do about this?’ I asked, yanking open my shirt to reveal my latest area of physical disintegration. ‘That’ll be your TTT,’ noted the good doctor. ‘Your TellTale Triangle.’
‘People talk about the hands or neck being the ageing giveaway,’ he continued, ‘but in fact it’s the TTT that’s the real issue — the inverted triangle between your clavicle and your cleavage.’
At Dr Prager’s South-West London clinic, decrepit decolletage is second only to the face as the thing midlife women most fret about.
Tell-tale triangle is the inverted triangle between your clavicle and your cleavage. Hannah Betts suggests gentle exfoliation and hydration
Every woman over the age of 40 will know the score. If you’re ample-busted, you get creases; if you’re sleek-chested, you’ll have sag. And everyone, however virtuous, will have sun damage.
In my own case, I also boasted a blotchy, rashy, blocked-pore-ridden, allergic crisis zone entirely of my own making. Think the laws of gravity plus a combination of perfume sensitivity, DIY anti-ageing attempts and sludgy sunscreen, followed by aggressive exfoliation.
The Prager solution would be to inject a skin-smoothing collagen-booster such as Juvederm Volite or Volbella. But for those who balk at the idea of injectables, there are options.
Usually, I wear a sleep bra in order to minimise movement, and thus grooves. Stocks of the M&S Flexifit Non-wired Sleep Bra (£11.20, marksandspencer. com) ran out after 48 hours when it launched last year, with the big-breasted commending it as ‘a game-changer’.
Personally, I prefer a slightly racier lace number, such as the Yianna Comfort V-Neck Lace Bralette (£17.99, amazon.co.uk).
However, this still leaves me with deep red lines above my cleavage come morning. (I have dermographic skin — literally: ‘skin writing’ — in which minor marks turn into welts that take an age to disappear.)
Hannah (pictured) says that every woman over the age of 40 will know the score. If you’re ample-busted, you get creases; if you’re sleek-chested, you’ll have sag. And everyone, however virtuous, will have sun damage
An Aussie brand called Wrinkles Schminkles produces a range of medical-grade silicone pads that you slap on overnight to allay furrows in ageing hotspots, including the TTT. They work by preventing skin from being able to crease. Each patch can be reused 15 to 20 times.
I’ll put its heart-shaped Chest Wrinkle Patch (£30, wrinkles schminkles.co.uk) to the test and report back. There are also numerous knock-off versions available on Amazon.
Henceforth, I shall be treating my TTT with the respect I do my face. In fact, I will be treating it with rather more respect, given your chest is more bony and less bonny, yet often as exposed.
Think gentle exfoliation and hydration of the sort found in the Revolution x Sali Hughes skincare range. Beauty expert Sali realised that we’re all exhausted by the fact that a chemistry degree is increasingly required to understand high-tech complexion wares — and we’re not only mentally, but frequently physically, irritated by this.
Her concoctions are billed as the capsule wardrobe, or jeans and white T-shirt, of skincare.
Every product is vegan, sans silicone, made in Britain, housed in recycled packaging, and costs under £15. If this sounds spartan, it isn’t. Sali insisted that every item contains ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid, and even the practical-sounding Clean Sheet Morning Cleanser (£9.99, super drug.com) feels luxurious.
The six introductory products keep selling out, especially the Must-C Anytime Daily Serum (£14.99), but revolutionbeauty.com has them online.
I’ve been using her Placid 5 Acid Daily Exfoliant (£14) — a decongesting toner — and Cream Drench Rich Anytime Moisturiser (£14) on my TTT, and will build up to a spot of the aforementioned vitamin C serum.
As for an SPF that’s gentle on your chest, Dr Prager is extremely hostile to the chemicals in most conventional versions, but does endorse Weleda Edelweiss SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion (£13.50, amazon.co.uk).
‘It’s a non-nano zinc oxide — a chalky, physical block — which I’m even prepared to use on my children,’ he says. Its pearly sheen also conceals redness. Given time, my Tell-Tale Triangle should be giving far less away.
RACE YOU TO IT
Olaplex’s No3 treatment is a global bestseller, with one sold every five seconds. The No9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum (£26 for 90ml, cultbeauty.co.uk) is the brand’s first leave-in nourishing serum, which protects your hair from pollution, free radicals and heat damage. A little goes a very long way.
MY ICON OF THE WEEK
Michelle Pfeiffer, 64, (pictured) is a campaigner for clean beauty. She loves the W3II People mascara and the natural ingredients of Sodashi skincare
Vegan Michelle, 64, is a campaigner for ‘clean’ beauty — safe for people and the planet — and has her own fragrance line, Henry Rose. The actress loves the W3ll People mascara (from £33, ninthavenue.uk) and the natural ingredients of Sodashi skincare (sodashi.co.uk). She says: ‘All I really care about is that I age gracefully.’
LOW-PRICE LIP SMACKERS
Long-lasting with a soft matte finish, good pigment, blurring powders and balm conditioners in 15 shades.
An ultra-shine, wet-look gloss in crayon form and 13 pretty, fruity, flattering guises. Lips feel replenished.
Intense, longlasting mattes in 14 hues. Try Ace (hot pink), Hero (orange) or Must (deep brown).
A classic red since 1952, given an update with moisturising oils. Warm orangey/ coral leanings.
Fans rightly rave about these excellent budget liners in 15 lip-matching or power-pigmented colours.
Reed diffusers, burning oils and plug-ins are not a great idea for pet owners. So imagine my joy upon stumbling across this Norfolk Natural Living Gemstone Diffuser (£45, norfolknaturalliving.com).
The chic glass crystal repositories couple the alleged energy of gemstones with the benefits of a less over-powering form of aromatherapy. Select a Gemstone Diffuser Oil (£25.50, or £60 for diffuser and oil) such as Rose Garden, Lavender Fields, Coastal Walks, Spring 91 or Deepest Sleep.
Then pick your pot of rocks: Rose Quartz to attract love, Green Calcite for self-esteem, calming Amethyst & Calcite, positivity-inducing Rose Quartz & Green Calcite, or Blue Calcite & Snow Quartz (right) to soothe anxiety and negativity.