Taking care of your skin is the single most important thing you can do for your appearance. Sure, a sense of style helps, but the best clothing in the world can’t cover up unsightly bumps and blemishes. Even if you think you’re a skin care expert — and chances are you don’t — this refresher course from the basic to the advanced will remind you of what you should be including in your skin care arsenal.
Twenty years ago, it was a miracle if men’s grooming including anything more than washing the face with a bar of soap. Unfortunately, using a simple soap is about as bad as doing nothing at all: It can leave your skin taut and thirsty. Instead, use a cleanser that strikes a delicate balance between tough and tender. Look for a fragrance-free gel face wash suitable for all skin types that is strong enough to cut through those overactive male sebaceous glands yet gentle enough to be used every day.
Face scrub A face wash is just the opening act for facial cleansing. Men’s skin is naturally thicker than women’s, with larger pores that roll out the red carpet for nasty debris. A granular scrub should be used two to three times a week to exfoliate and dislodge dirt deep down. No one likes to look at bumps and blackheads, and scrubbing will help smooth your complexion for a clearer, cleaner appearance. It also softens the skin as a first step toward a less gruesome shaving experience.
Even the mildest facial cleansers can leave your skin feeling just plain parched. And don’t think you can cheat the system by using one fortified with a laundry list of special moisturizing agents. The truth is that every guy, even those with oily skin, needs to replenish the moisture content of their skin. Something as routine as showering or washing your face with hot water can open pores and allow valuable water to escape. A basic moisturizer with SPF will restore moisture, protect your skin from the sun, reduce razor burn, and even prevent against premature aging.
Almost every man neglects to treat the skin around his eyes; the soft, thin layer of skin there is prone to developing fine lines, and it’s where men first start to show visible signs of aging. That’s why everyone — even twentysomethings without a care or wrinkle in the world — should be using something specially formulated for this fickle facial region. Try an eye cream with Q10 (a coenzyme used to fight fine lines) and swelling reducers like caffeine and cucumber.
Despite the air of mystique and femininity surrounding a clay mask, it can be an important part of a man’s skin care regimen. This isn’t an intense spa facial, but rather a quick 10-minute commitment once a week to deep-clean your face. The clay removes dead skin and promotes cellular regeneration. It also unclogs pores while reducing excess oil and shine.
The final must-know information from our guy’s grooming guide for skin care…
Like the skin around the eyes, lips also tend to get forgotten in a sea of sloughing and scrubbing. Skin on the lips is thin and lacks oil glands to regulate moisture content as well as melanin to shield the sun — this makes them particularly prone to dryness, burning and subsequent cracking and bleeding. All these problems can lead to occasional sores and the development of fine lines over time. With all the challenges here, it’s a wonder how anyone arrives in lip-lock land; simply use a balm with SPF on a regular basis and you’ll be provided supple safety.
Shaving cream is the only way to get a razor close enough to wipe away a five o’clock shadow. But not all shaving creams are created equal. A cooling gel that develops into a thick lather is best for almost all skin types. Gel-based formulas tend to be denser and provide better cushion and glide for a pain-free shave. If your skin irritates easily, shave during or after a shower while pores are wide open. Also, learn to give your skin a few days rest between shaving sessions.
Aftershaves have come a long way from the burning alcohol-based concoctions splashed on by grandfather. Today’s post-shaving balms actually provide soothing relief. Most formulas use a hint of menthol to cool the skin, but if you’re prone to irritation, make sure to steer clear: Menthol can sometimes aggravate super sensitive skin. An aftershave should also have a light consistency for faster, more efficient absorption. Extras like aloe and vitamin E are also helpful to promote healing.
Regular use of a toner can help dissolve skin impurities and cut through dirt. Male skin tends to produce excess sebum — the oily, waxy matter produced by the sebaceous glands — primarily on the face and scalp. Toner washes away the oil, prevents blackheads, tightens pores, and reduces shine. One with salicylic acid will also help treat acne breakouts.
The scalp is just skin covered — in most cases, at least partially — by hair. Yet, that small barrier of hair prevents men from ever dedicating the necessary time to clean it properly. The scalp excretes pore-clogging sebum just like the skin on the face and is likewise susceptible to the development of nasty blemishes. A scrubbing shampoo that exfoliates the scalp will prevent oil buildup and even protect against hair loss.
So much attention is given to the complex skin on your face that it’s easy to forget about the other 90% of your body — a bar soap won’t do here, either. A shower gel is both more effective and sanitary than a cracked, germ-laden bar of soap. Granular scrubs are also important to use (in place of a basic gel) one to two times a week for exfoliation and deep-cleaning. Go for one enriched with menthol or caffeine to leave your skin feeling fresh and tingly.
As summer fades along with your tan, it’s important to maintain a healthy — but not orangey — glow. And don’t think that membership to your local cancer-inducing tanning bed studio is the answer. A self-tanner that is impossible to apply evenly and stains your hand for a week isn’t the answer, either. There are now moisturizers with a hint of color that gradually darken the skin with increased use. It’s a simple and safe way to keep the fun of the summer sun blazing on into early winter.
more than skin deep
Skin care is a constant battle, but it doesn’t have to be all-out war. Armed with a stockpile of some key products and the knowledge of how to use them, you’ll be well on your way to a clean and clear victory