Men’s Skin: Saving Face

For too many men, a daily facial care “regimen” means swiftly swirling a bar of body-deodorant soap across their face before rinsing off and rushing out of the shower. And word has it, some men even use trickle-down lather from their shampoo for a quick facial scrub!

Let’s face it, lots of guys need to step up their facial skincare game. Aside from maintaining good health and hygiene, the potential anti-aging and physical appearance benefits make it a no-brainer.

First, A Word On Sun Exposure

Protection. That’s the word on the sun exposure. The single best action any man can take to keep his face in good health, and looking good, is to wear sunscreen (SPF 30 or above) every day, without fail — not just when you go to the beach!

Statistics on increasing rates of skin cancer in men are alarming; and nothing increases the risk of developing it — not to mention deeper facial lines and wrinkling — like exposure to the UV rays of the sun, and indoor tanning devices. The easiest way to protect yourself on a daily basis is to make sure that the moisturizer you use in the morning after cleansing is labeled as having SPF 30 or above.

So…what kind of cleanser and moisturizer to use?

First, Know Your Skin Type

Different types of facial skin call for different cleansing and moisturizing regimens. As you probably know, the three basic types are oily, normal, and dry. But the most common is “combination skin”; which usually means oiliness in the t-zone (forehead, nose, chin and around the mouth), with varying degrees of dryness on the cheeks.

For normal skin, choose a gentle, natural facial cleanser, perhaps something coconut-based that gets rid of the day’s accumulated dirt, oil, and bacteria, without being overly drying. Then you’ll want to use a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer to hydrate the skin effectively.

If you have oily skin, look for a liquid cleanser with salicylic acid, which helps to “mattify” the skin and counterbalance the oiliness and shine. Then follow with very moderate application of a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer that also contains a little salicylic acid.

Dry skin calls for an all-natural, soap-free gel or cream cleanser that won’t irritate sensitive skin. Then, add extra hydration (and try to hold onto it!) with a weightier moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid, which helps bind moisture to the skin.

If you do have dry skin, you may also want to try some natural facial oils, hydrators that relieve tightness and make your skin feel smooth. Argan oil is a good one to try.

And for combination skin, the trick is to effectively cleanse and moisturize without adding excess oils, or overly drying. Try a liquid cleanser with glycolic acid, which tones the skin without over-drying; and a lightweight-to-moderate moisturizer, using in careful moderation in that oily t-zone.

Shaving Irritation Issues

Shaving irritation may be the bane of many a man’s existence, but unless you’re ready for the bearded look, you’ll have to face up to it!

It helps to prep your face before you shave with plenty of warm water, which opens up the pores and loosens those hair follicles. However, if your face is actively irritated already and you must shave, cold water may actually feel better.

Then, use a higher quality shaving cream made for sensitive skin, and always shave with a still-sharp razor. If you use disposables, buy high quality ones, and change them often.

After shaving, consider using a cream or lotion made to help ease razor burn. Nivea makes an affordable “Men’s Sensitive Post Shave Balm” that’s usually available at your local drugstore. Or, you can go for more “upscale” selections at specialty and department stores, such as Kiehl’s “Razor Bump Relief”.

Regular Dermatologist Visits

Statistically speaking, men are more reluctant and unlikely to go to the doctor when something is bothering them — especially when it hasn’t risen to the level of being in-your-face life-threatening.

But when it comes to preventing skin cancer or diagnosing it early enough to cure and/or effectively treat it; and when it comes to looking your best and putting your best face forward…any man’s long-term plan for “saving face” should include having an experienced dermatology provider at the ready, both for annual skin cancer screenings, and for any facial or other skin care problems that come up in between.