Men’s skin care 101

Men’s skin care isn’t just about razors and shaving cream’products for guys have gone mainstream. Here’s what you need to know about your skin and four tips for keeping it healthy

Men's skin care 101

Source: Best Health Magazine, Summer 2010

If you’ve been scrutinizing your wrinkles and asking your partner, ‘Do you have any stuff I can use?’ maybe it’s time to go over some pointers. Plenty of men are getting into the habit of taking care of their skin‘and it’s easy to keep it simple.

Skincare products aimed ‘specifically at men have been around for decades‘mainly ‘in luxury brands’but despite industry claims through the years that they’re poised to ‘take off, they haven’t made headway until recently. ‘Major mass-market brands, from Nivea and Dove to Burt’s Bees and Biotherm, are offering men’s products, so the category has gone mainstream,’ says Mike Patton, director of government and media relations for the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association.

Observes Dave Lackie, editor of the trade magazine Cosmetics, ‘It’s become acceptable for ‘a man to take care of his skin, possibly because he’s seeing celebrities he can relate to endorsing skincare lines. And the growing population of aging baby boomers’who don’t want to look old in the boardroom’are likely fuelling the growth.’

How does men’s skin differ from women’s?

Edmonton dermatologist Dr. Jaggi Rao says men’s glands produce more oil (thanks to the hormones androgen and testosterone), and because men’s skin is thicker, ‘it requires greater hydration to maintain the same suppleness. Shaving can lead to dry skin, too, as it can remove the outer, protective layer of the skin that helps to lock in moisture.

Are men’s skincare formulas different than women’s?

Many aren’t dissimilar to oil-free women’s products. There are variations in scents, of course, but according to Danielle Edwards, education manager for the International Dermal Institute for Dermalogica skin care, ‘men typically prefer ‘minimally or non-scented skincare products.’

If you’re trying to get on board, you don’t have to start with anything fancy. Just head to a drugstore for a basic moisturizer with glycerin, which is easily absorbed with’out leaving residue. (Some examples are Cetaphil, Curel and Complex 15.)

Four tips for skincare success

‘ The very basics are cleans­ing and moisturizing, but some experts recommend a toner in between those steps. ‘Wash face and neck with a gentle cleanser or bar, then towel dry gently,’ says skincare expert Danielle Edwards. While skin is moist, apply non-alcoholic toner, but avoid the eye area (she likes Derma­logica’s Multi-Active Toner mist). Finish with moisturizer. ‘Place the suggested amount in the palms of your hands, rub your hands together and smooth it over the face, neck, ears and upper chest,’ she advises. ‘Don’t forget the back of the neck.’ Use one with SPF in the morning and one without at night. A separ­ate eye cream is an option, but not essential; you can just pat basic moisturizer under the eye area.

‘ Be sun smart. Up to 90 percent of skin aging is caused by the sun. Apply SPF 30 or higher directly to face, neck and ears each morning after shaving, and if possible wait 15 to 20 minutes before going out to ensure effectiveness. Reapply every two hours if outdoors.

‘ Quit smoking. Smoking impairs blood flow to skin, and causes wrinkles, sagging skin and an unhealthy yellowish hue. The good news? Once you quit, the repairing process begins’which may help reverse the damage that’s already done, depending on its severity.

‘ Go easy when shaving. A too-close shave does more than just nick the skin, says Dr. Jaggi Rao, an Edmonton dermatologist. Continued trauma caused by cutting the skin can cause skin breakage over time. Invest in a quality razor and go with, not against, the grain of hair using gentle strokes.

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This article was originally titled "Skin Care 101," in the Summer 2010 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!’and make sure to check out what’s new in the latest issue of Best Health.