Mens skin care is something I am often asked to comment on and I have to say that I do not actually believe in a specific brand that targets just men. Yes, there are brands that have been masculinised to attract men but ingredients and products should target skin concerns after all we are all covered in the stuff and yes, there are differences in the male and female skin but products should be selected to treat skin concerns, be it male or female.
Men have been grooming since God was a boy. Make up from minerals and beetles were used in ceremonial occasions to either attract the opposite or same sex, barley flour and butter was applied on breakouts, and sheep’s fat and blood on fingernails for polish… nice!. Roman men bathed in mud baths with crocodile excrement as a skin preparation, I bet that attracted the females!. Oils and fragrances have been used throughout the centuries and cultures to soften and condition the skin and men’s
grooming has taken a storm from the late 20th century with the Metrosexual boom.
Lets first talk about the main differences between a male and female skin.
- Men have much a much more collagen density than a women’s which mean they age better than us IF they do all the right things. Remember environmental factors, diet and stress all play a part in the ageing process not just genetics and gender! Men tend to suffer with dehydration more than women in their skin so adding in Spectramin and Rehydration to a litre of water daily, provides minerals and ions key in hydration for skin and health.
- Men also tend to have deeper pigmentation than women so using an SPF is essential to protect from hyper-pigmentation. This can be caused from splashing aftershave on the face as fragrance is photosensitive and from post traumatic stress caused from acne, ingrown hairs and incorrect shaving. Black skins will suffer more from this type of pigmentation as well as possible keloid scarring.
- Men’s skin tends to be thicker, warmer and oiler from the testosterone levels, Hormonal secretions will tend to balance out in men’s skin around the early twenties, where as us girlies will continue to have breakouts and sub cutaneous reactions until we reach the menopause.
- The Hypo-lipidic film is the skins natural defence. It protects the skin from bacteria and stops moisture from being lost. Mens skin is under constant attack, they use shower gel or soap to wash, scrape the surface of their skin with razor blades causing inflammation, avoid covering and hydrating the skin with protection yet smother the face with astringent, photosensitive fragrances. That’s without the environmental harm their skin is exposed to. Especially if their occupation warrants them working outdoors in harsh weathers and chemicals, dust and grime. Look for ingredients that will protect, hydrate and have an anti-inflammatory action on the skin
- Men produce more oil in their skin than women…around 15% more! This is due to the hormone Testosterone, their skin is thicker which makes it a challenge for products to penetrate the skin and they have larger skin pores than women which can be a target for bacterial growth. Look for a sulfate free exfoliating cleanser with an L-Lactic acid or salicylic acid which will dissolve oil in clogged pores.
I have to say over the years I have treated many male clients with skin concerns, most caused from improper shaving and improper blades.
Problems that can occur by incorrect shaving from:
- Insufficient preparation of the beard area.
- Poor application of product resulting in chaffing and nicking.
- Shaving erratically and with an incorrect method.
- Little or no ‘post’ protection causing ‘shavers burn’ or post shave rash.
- Using fragranced, alcohol based aftershaves, soaps or balms.
Points to consider while shaving:
- Never rush shaving – will cause bleeding.
- Allow 15-20 minutes before waking up and shaving as the shave will not be as close. The skins tissues accumulate fluid overnight causing the skin to be puffy. The MRL Copper Wand is a great addition – helping reduce fine lines and crows feet. Its special formulation of active ingredients aids the reduction of wrinkles and puffiness around the eye area.
- Apply a facial oil on the beard area before shaving this protects the skin from shaving foams and gels that are designed to soften the hair but in turn allow for the skin to be easily irritated. Using Anoint on the beard area alone is adequate as a shaving oil but it can be used as a pre-shave
- Reson8 is a great post balm serum to avoid drying and inflammation
- Spectramin is great to pour over the blade after use.
- Applying Butter Balm on the beard overnight will benefit the shave the following morning.
- If you suffer from ingrown hairs use a Restore mixed with Anoint applied to the area for two minutes in the shower to encourage the hairs to lift out.
42% of Men’s grooming is from razors and blades, there is still a barrier to skin care and sun protection but it is improving. Men are visual beings they buy with their eyes and smell but it is time to understand and educate with knowledge and results. Men are logical beings and like answers to solutions, they have the mechanic response – to feel the changes and see results they are mainly interested in skin ‘answers’ not skin ‘care’. Men also suffer from sensitivity, dehydration, pigmentation, acne, scaring and ageing, they are not immune and all can be treated with great home care, advise, diet and treatments.
So men, if you're reading this, it’s time to start investing in your skin, it is the largest organ of the body and reflects what is going on internally. If you have any skin concerns see your local therapist or see your local barber for shaving advice.