When it comes to skin care, men have traditionally kept it simple. However, more men are now pursuing healthier, younger-looking skin, making it a great time for men to evaluate their skin care routine and learn more about taking care of their body’s largest organ. Although there are key differences between men and women’s skin – for example, men’s skin is thicker than women’s – the basic elements of an effective skin care plan remain the same.
First, it’s important that everyone, including men, identify and understand their skin type. Understanding your skin type will help you learn how to take care of your skin and select skin care products that are right for you.
Consider product labels and ingredients. The skin care products you choose will depend on your skin type. If you have acne-prone skin, look for cleansers and moisturizers that say “oil free” or “non-comedogenic,” as these won’t clog your pores. If you have sensitive skin, use mild, “fragrance free” products, as products containing fragrances can leave skin feeling irritated and dry. However, beware of products labeled “unscented,” as many of these contain masking fragrances that can still irritate your skin.
Wash your face daily and after exercise. Since regular bar soap often contains harsh ingredients that can be drying to the skin, wash your face with a mild facial cleanser and lukewarm – not hot – water.
Watch your shaving technique. For some men, multi-blade razors can work too well or shave too closely to your skin. If you often experience razor bumps, razor burns or ingrown hairs, use a single- or double-blade razor instead and do not stretch your skin taut while shaving. Before you shave, wet your skin and hair to soften it. Use a moisturizing shaving cream and shave in the direction of hair growth. Rinse after each swipe of the razor, and change your blade after five to seven shaves to minimize irritation.
Moisturize daily. Moisturizer works by trapping water in your skin, which can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and make your skin look brighter and younger. For the best results, apply moisturizer to your face and body immediately after bathing, showering or shaving while the skin is still damp.
Check your skin regularly. New spots or moles that itch, bleed or change color are often early warning signs of skin cancer. If you notice any suspicious spots, make an appointment to see a dermatologist. Men over age 50 have a higher risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, than the general population. However, when caught early, skin cancer is highly treatable.
Wear sunscreen whenever outdoors. To help prevent sun damage that can lead to wrinkles, age spots and even skin cancer, before going outdoors, apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of skin, including your scalp, ears, neck and lips. For best protection, use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating. You can also protect your skin by seeking shade and wearing protective clothing, including sunglasses that have UV protection and a wide-brimmed hat.
Every man’s skin is different, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to skin care. If you aren’t sure what skin type you have, or if have questions about how to take care of your skin, see a board-certified dermatologist.
(American Academy of Dermatology)
Clothing. Long-sleeved, closely-woven shirts and long trousers or skirts provide the best protection. Avoid clothes that you can see light through. If light is getting through, the ultraviolet radiation is getting through as well. A collar will protect the skin on the back of the neck.
A hat will help keep the sun off the face, neck and ears, and protect bald spots. Broad-brimmed hats are best, but the brim should be at least 3 inches wide. Hardhats can have a flap or extra brim fitted to them for extra protection. Be sure to wear sunglasses or safety glasses that filter out UV rays.
Sunscreen. Use an SPF 15 or higher water-resistant sunscreen before going outdoors and reapply every two hours. If sweating freely, reapply more often. Choose a gel, stick, or lotion form of sunscreen according to personal preference; no one form is more effective than another. Make sure the face, lips, neck, ears, arms and back of the hands are protected. Also, ultraviolet radiation bounces off water, sand, concrete, light-colored surfaces and snow. People who work near these areas will need to take extra care.
Shade. Outside jobs can sometimes be done inside or moved to a shady location. A temporary shelter can be erected or trees and buildings used for protection. A shady spot should be available for lunch and coffee breaks. Reorganize the job so tasks requiring outdoor work get done in the morning before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m., to avoid the hours of greatest sun intensity.
(Skin Cancer Prevention Foundation)