Better Skincare Tips for Men
Taking care of one’s skin is serious business. If you’re like most men, then you might have already realised this: the epiphany might have struck on a Monday morning, when having stumbled to the bathroom you find that the bleary-eyed face gaping back at you from the bathroom mirror resembles that of an elderly triceratops. If you’re especially unlucky, you might have had another person draw attention to the problem. Though men are far less likely than women to admit it, poor skin can be a serious drain on self- esteem. More than that, it can be a cause of persistent discomfort and can lead to other side effects. The skin forms a crucial part of the immune system, and if its pores are blocked with excess oil, or its surface is dried and cracked, then harmful bacteria will have an easier time getting through and causing problems. Poor skin is a problem that will in many cases worsen with the passage of time. Men experience it in different ways. Some might have especially dry skin; others might have especially oily skin; an unfortunate minority might have a little bit of both. Happily, there exists a growing and competitive industry dedicated to help men keep their skin in good condition – along with several more traditional tips and tricks that will keep your skin in the best possible condition.
Don’t Neglect Hydration
It should go without saying that dry skin is caused by a lack of moisture. It’s for this reason that so many skincare products proudly boast of their hydrating effect. Fortunately, the body has a fantastic built-in method of getting water to the skin – and that’s through the digestive system. Drink plenty of water, and this mechanism will be able to keep your skin hydrated; don’t get enough, and it won’t. Of course, everyone knows that drinking plenty of water is important – not just for reasons of skincare, but for more general health reasons, too. This doesn’t mean choking down a gallon of the stuff in one sitting, however – there is such a thing as too much water. Drink around half a pint every waking hour and you’ll provide your skin with the resources required.
Scrub and Exfoliate
Your skin, like all of the organs in your body, is constantly replacing itself. It does this from the bottom-up; new skin growth occurs at the bottom; old, dead skin cells eventually fall from the top. Occasionally, it’s good to give these older cells a helping hand. This is the role of an exfoliating face scrub, a substance filled with tiny particles of grit that’ll lift up those dead skin cells and remove them, allowing the skin beneath to properly breathe. If you don’t remove this layer, then the result can be a blockage, an accumulation of oil, and a blackhead or a spot.
How Hot Should a Shower Be?
If you suffer from acne on your body, then the situation will almost certainly be aggravated by a very intensive blast of heat from a shower or sauna. While every man’s skin will react slightly differently to the heat, it’s worth experimenting by turning things down just a little bit. Cold showers tend not to last for quite as long as hot ones, and for obvious reasons, and thus their effect on the skin is not as pronounced. Paradoxically, more water in this context will dry your skin out after you’ve got out and towelled off! You might therefore wish to use a special hydrating lotion on troublesome areas after you’ve dried off.
Skincare and Activity
If you’re maintaining an active lifestyle, as all men doubtless should, then you’ll run into the problem of friction more often. If you’re going for a daily job or lifting weights, then callouses and rashes might develop. In many cases these problems might be superficial; in others they might lead to weakness and pain. Talcum powder is a lifesaver, particularly for cyclists who need to stay in the saddle for hours on end. If your sweaty skin is allowed to repeatedly rub against itself, its surface will erode until a fungal infection develops. This is not only painful and undesirable in and of itself, but it’ll also inhibit your performance – which removes most of the point of exercise.
It’s at this point that we’re tempted to retreat into giggling euphemism or ignore the area entirely, but when it comes to skincare, your genitals are an area of special concern. And this is something which every man who’s ever sat inside a crowded bus without air conditioning in the middle of a heat wave will attest to. With so much loose skin packed into a confined space, the potential for upset is off the charts. In recent years, men have been advised to get rid of their pubic hair entirely, for misguided cosmetic reasons. If you’ve attempted this, you’ll know that it’s highly problematic from a skincare perspective; those hairs are actually playing an important role in siphoning oil away from the surface of the skin, and preventing your sensitive parts from rubbing against one another too much. We humans might have evolved to sprout less skin than our chimpanzee cousins, but we’ve retained a healthy amount of the stuff in our nether-regions for a reason. That isn’t to say, however, that keeping things trim isn’t desirable: just that restraint is called for. Keep things to around a centimetre or two, and use a specially-designed trimmer if you’re going to maintain things often.
We’ve mentioned just a few members of the small army of cosmetics competing for the dollar of the modern man. Many of them, to be sure, have a specific application and will prove themselves valuable servants – but you’re not going to attain great-quality skin simply by cramming your bathroom cabinet with as many moisturisers and face scrubs as you can lay your hands on. By sticking to the basics: drinking plenty of water, and keeping things trim, you’ll be well on your way to getting the best possible skin.