A Man’s Guide to Skin Care. If you think you’re taking care of your skin by shaving and then throwing on some aftershave, think again. Learn the basics about skin care for men.
Men don’t spend a lot of time worrying about skin care. In fact, according to a new study by the NPD Group, a consumer market research company, only one-quarter of men currently use any facial cleanser, moisturizer, or other skin product. Most just splash some water on their face, shave, and go about their business.
But maybe you should think twice about what you’re doing to your face. While men don’t go through the elaborate skin care rituals that women do, there are products you can use and steps you can take that will protect and nourish your skin, keeping it looking younger longer.
Great Grooming Products Every Man Needs
There are certain skin care products men should have on hand for daily skin care:
- Face cleanser. You should wash your face twice a day with a good cleanser. If possible, it should contain an alpha hydroxy acid to help wash away dead skin cells, keep the pores clean, and reveal new skin.
- Shaving cream. You’ll want to buy a product that will properly lubricate the skin so the razor blade will glide over it, preventing razor burn. You can choose a shaving cream or gel in pressurized cans, or you can buy shaving soap that comes in a small tub and is applied with a brush. Some men believe the brush makes the hair stand straighter for easier shaving.
- Aftershave lotion. Many men use an aftershave lotion to soothe the skin after shaving. The lotion may contain an antiseptic to prevent infection, a moisturizer, or fragrance.
- Moisturizer. Skin tends to dry out as its essential oils diminish with age, but a good moisturizer can help. You might want to choose a moisturizer that contains antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E, which can protect skin cells from aging. Steer clear of creams or lotions with sodium lauryl sulfate, which tends to remove natural oils from the skin.
- Sunscreen. Sunscreen is the best thing you can do to prevent aging of your skin, and it should be applied whenever you expect to spend time outdoors. Some experts even recommend applying sunscreen right after shaving. Make sure it has an SPF factor of at least 15.
Shaving for Skin Care
Shaving has hidden advantages — the exfoliation that takes place every time you shave can keep the skin of your face looking young and healthy. But if you shave improperly, you can cause razor burn or razor bumps, which form when facial hair cut too short curls back into the skin. To shave properly, follow these steps:
- Soften your beard. Thoroughly wet your face with hot water. Prior to wetting the beard, you might even want to apply a warm washcloth to further soften hairs.
- Apply shaving cream. Cover your entire beard with shaving cream. Work it in well to make the hairs stand up and to lubricate the skin.
- Shave. Use a sharp razor, and shave in the direction the hairs lay. Avoid repeating strokes, and keep your skin relaxed.
- Rinse. Rinse the remaining shaving cream off your face. Use cool or warm water, as hot water will dry out your skin.
Saving Face With Anti-Aging Treatments
The best anti-aging product you can use is sunscreen, which both moisturizes your skin and prevents sun damage. However, to treat skin that is beginning to show signs of age, like fine lines and dullness, consider a tretinoin gel or emollient (Retin-A Micro, Renova). These vitamin-A derivative topicals enhance the natural production of collagen and elastic fibers in the skin as they treats discoloration, wrinkles, and the degeneration of elastic tissue. They’re available only by prescription, so talk to your doctor.