"Wow" Breasts in 3 Easy Steps
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Fitness

"Wow" Breasts in 3 Easy Steps

How to pick the right bra size, get gorgeous cleavage, and prevent chest breakouts.

Pro Advice

Healthy -- and beautiful. Isn't that what we all want? Follow this pro advice:

1. Clear up breakouts. "Your decolletage has as many oil glands as your face," says Arielle Kauvar, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. Once a day, use an anti-acne body wash that contains 5 percent benzoyl peroxide (try Peter Thomas Roth Medicated BPO 5% Acne Wash, $32, sephora.com) to unclog pores, followed by a light moisturizing lotion. And take special care while working out. "Excess sweat can exacerbate acne because oils are trapped," explains Dr. Kauvar. Wear breathable fabrics and treat areas with a 2 percent salicylic-acid body spray after exercising to keep skin bacteria-free (try Nature's Cure Body Acne Treatment Spray, $9.99, at drugstores).

2. Firm and tone. "The skin on your breasts is extra thin and prone to premature aging," says Dr. Kauvar. To maintain a smoother, younger look, apply a firming bust serum before your body cream. It contains active ingredients like antioxidants, minerals, and peptides that penetrate into the skin's deeper layers to reverse free-radical damage and boost collagen production (try Elemis Pro-Collagen Lifting Treatment Neck & Bust, $89, nordstrom.com; the kit includes a Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, and 10 percent of the proceeds go to breast cancer research).

3. Get gorgeous cleavage. "No matter what size breasts you have, a little shimmer will help enhance them," says Linda Hay, a makeup artist for Victoria's Secret, who amplifies the curves of Gisele Bundchen and Heidi Klum. Brush a shimmery bronzing powder down the center of your breasts to create a slight shadow, then sweep a silvery illuminator powder along the tops (try Too Faced After Glow Ice Cubes Body Shimmer Powder, $26, sephora.com, and Victoria's Secret Bare Bronze Sun Dust Body Powder Brush, $22, victoriassecret.com).

Are You Wearing the Wrong-Size Bra?

Eight out of 10 women are, according to Linda Becker, founder of Linda's lingerie boutiques in New York City. "Women's breasts change size and shape numerous times throughout their lives due to weight gain or loss, pregnancy and aging," she says. Yet most of us assume that our bra size stays the same.

The best way to figure out your correct size is to go to a professional fitter at a lingerie or department store. If you can't find a pro, follow these easy, do-it-yourself tips from Becker:

  • Measure the diameter of your rib cage, putting the tape directly underneath your breasts. If the number is below 33, add 5 inches; if it's 34 to 42, add 3 inches; and if it's above 42, add 2 inches. That's your band size.
  • Then measure the fullest part of your bust. (Wear a bra when you do this; even if it doesn't fit correctly, it will give you some lift and provide you with a more accurate measurement for your cup size.) The difference between this number and your band size is your cup size: a one-inch difference is an A, 2 inches is a B, 3 inches is a C, 4 is a D, and so on. If one of your breasts is bigger than the other, choose a cup size that fits the larger of the two.
  • Try on several bras. "Be sure to fasten them on the loosest or middle hook, never the tightest," says Becker. "If you have to use the tightest hook initially, the bra is too big."
  • Examine the fit. The band should be straight across your back, the wire or seam should be just under your breasts, framing them completely, and the straps should be taut but not so tight that they dig into your skin. The cups should lie smoothly against your breasts.
  • If the cups are too small, go up one cup size, says Becker, but keep the band size the same (from a 36B to a 36C, for instance). However, if the cup size is right but the band is too tight, go up one band size and down one cup size (from a 36B to a 38A).

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2006.

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