Sure, you’ve got skin. But it’s manly skin. No apricot scrubs or frou-frou scented lotions for you, thank you very much. But, on the other hand, you’ve got skin. And sometimes skin gets itchy, or oily, or dry, or bumpy, or suffers an acne attack at the worst possible time, no matter who it’s attached to. And your bar-of-discount-soap may not be cutting it for your skin care routine.
In case you’re wondering whether special products for men are a gimmick, they’re not. Besides the fact that men regularly assault their faces with razors, scientists have determined that men actually have biologically different skin than women. For one a man’s skin is thicker than a woman’s. It also has a larger number and a higher concentration of blood vessels and larger, more active and more plentiful sebaceous glands–glands under the skin that produce a protective waxy substance called “sebum.” Because of skin differences, men are more prone to persistent redness, dry skin and ingrown hairs than women. So what’s a guy to do?
Fortunately there are some simple, low-maintenance tips you can follow to care for your skin.
1. Figure out your skin type. Is it sensitive? Dry, tight and itchy? Do you get that 3 o’clock oil sheen on your forehead every day? Pick products made for your skin type, and use them as directed.
2. Ditch the bar. Cleansing is the most important thing you can do for your skin. Unfortunately, bar soaps often have a high pH. This means they can strip your skin of natural moisture and protective oils. Dry skin is irritated, dull-looking skin, and, ironically, excessive dryness can cause your oil-producing glands to go into overdrive, making you more prone to breakouts. Use a gentle, but strong gel cleanser at least once a day. The more expensive vitamin-infused options are nice but not necessary; reasonably-priced, simple cleansers can work just as well.
3. Use moisturizer. Yeah, yeah. We know. But using moisturizer after you wash your face can bring your skin back into balance, give it a healthy, attractive look, help prevent premature aging, and lessen the chances of razor burn. There are plenty of light, non-greasy options out there. Just make sure your moisturizer has sunscreen to prevent sun damage, and that you get the right moisturizer for your skin type.
4. Exfoliate. We know that this may be bordering on the edge of your comfort zone, but stay with us. Dirt and oil can pack themselves deep into your pores. Since men produce more oil (and get dirtier) than women, they have a higher tendency of getting blackheads. Use an exfoliant scrubs—a scrub with tiny, hard particles that remove oil and dead skin—once or twice a week for a deep clean.
5. Shave properly. Use shaving gel instead of shaving cream, which can dry out your face, and avoid using alcohol-based after-shave. There are other alternatives, including balms, non-alcoholic lotions and witch hazel, which are much kinder to your skin.