Offering a gentleman my recommendation for a proper skin care routine often elicits a snicker and that “You’re joking right?” look. I consider getting my husband to wash his face with an actual facial cleanser and not Axe body wash a monumenal achievement.
But seriously — why do men not take skin care seriously? Maybe it’s the neverending rib-jabbing some men receive when their buddies discover that bottle of moisturizer and face wash on the bathroom sink. Or could it possibly be the metrosexual stigma that comes with that well-groomed appearance? Men’s skin care has come a long way from the days when your dad washed his face with a withered bar of soap and covered his shaving nicks with toilet paper. While there are a plethora of products to help a man’s stubborn (and stubbily) skin, the bottom line is this: everyone has skin, and it provides the same 11 functions no matter who you are. So take care of it !
Great skin care for men doesn’t have to be wrought with expensive lotions and potions. Thankfully, taking care of your skin no longer carries the embarrassing stigma of metrosexuality either. It’s just normal — even if your skin isn’t. Our skin is the largest organ on our body, and certain skin conditions can actually be an overall health indicator. So pay attention to what your skin is saying! Acne? Could be triggered by a food allergy or sensitivity. Dry, tight skin? Alcohol and caffeine consumption can dehydrate your body in a jiffy- your skin too. Constant redness around your nose and on your cheeks? Those broken capilaries can be an indicator of a circulatory issue. So taking care of your skin isn’t just for show. It’s a great way for you to be aware of your overall health and wellness.
I have seen several skin care lines created with men in mind over the past few years. I am excited to announce that it is ok for you to properly wash your face, exfoliate and hydrate and proudly display it in your bathroom! A proper skin care regimen offers many benefits: not only will your skin start behaving and feeling better (less acne, no more dryness, brighter complexion etc.) but it will also slow the aging process, protect you from certain skin cancers, and allow for a better shave! While I typically recommend a 5-step skin care regimen (cleanse, tone, exfoliate, moisturize and protect,) I have kindly dwindled it down to an easy 3-step, no-excuses, must-do-this skin care routine.
If you do nothing else, cleansing is the single most important thing you can do for your face. It should be the basis of your skin care regimen, but that doesn’t mean reaching for a simple bar of soap (which can overcompensate and leave your skin dryer than a desert). Men’s skin typically has large pores and very active sebaceous oil glands. While these glands are critical for keeping the skin naturally moist, they can often produce too much sebum (oil), leaving your skin feeling greasier than an oil slick. Neglecting to wash away the excess oil and dirt can clog pores, which leaves the skin prone to breakouts. A basic gel works just fine, but not all facial cleansers are created equal. Look for one that is strong enough to cut through the grease and yet gentle and affordable enough to be used at least once a day. (twice if you are really looking to score points…)
Sometimes cleansing with a simple face wash just isn’t enough. A cleanser washes away oil and dirt on the surface, but what about all that nasty stuff deep down in your pores? Even regular use of a face wash will still leave the most men’s skin feeling like a bumpy mess. That’s where exfoliation should make an appearance in your skin routine (just two to three times a week). It helps dislodge debris that normal washing can’t touch. A good scrub should have granules to help smooth the skin and eliminate the dullness that results from normal pore clogging and dirt build-up. Exfoliation also softens hair follicles for a closer, less-irritating shave and reduces razor burn and ingrown hairs. (which incidentally are caused by buildup of all that debris in the pores.)
Skin care for most men starts and stops with a basic cleanser. But washing is the absolute least you can do to prevent your face from turning into a big blackhead. Even if you happen to live in a sauna, skin can get dry after showering and, over time, that godforsaken process known as aging makes it lose elasticity. Add all that to the horror of placing a sharp blade next to your face everyday to appease rigid HR standards for clean-cut wholesomeness, and you have a recipe for irritated skin that’s parched and taut. Showering and shaving open up pores and allow precious water to escape, but a light moisturizer can fix everything. It replenishes the skin’s moisture content and prevents razor burn. A moisturizer with SPF will also provide a critical shield against the sun. Harsh UVB rays cause the skin to burn, but it’s the UVA rays that lead to long-term damage like deep lines and skin cancer. A moisturizer with a broad-spectrum SPF takes care of it all .