Men’s skincare is something that’s often overlooked but as you grow older, you’ll almost definitely notice ever-increasing blemishes and wrinkles on your skin. How does a man look after his skin to keep it looking younger and healthier for longer?
What is the skin?
The skin is the largest organ on the body, it acts as the first line of defence working to protect us from infection, injury, and sunlight. The skin is a complex organ and is made up of three specific layers, each serving a unique purpose. The most recognisable is our outer layer, known as Epidermis. The second is the Dermis, which contains blood vessels and hair follicles and finally, the Subcutaneous is the deepest layer of the skin made up of both fat and collagen.
Your skin thickness varies all over your body. Your hands and feet have the thickest skin, while your face has the thinnest skin of all. This is why our faces over time begin to show more wear and tear, with your skin losing it’s elasticity and developing wrinkles. You can’t slow the match of time or age but you can slow it down by putting some effort into reducing the impact the environment has on your mug.
Men’s skin and the environment
One of the main causes of looking older is overexposure to the sun. For Australians, the pursuit of the sweet tan leads us to expose our faces to a lot of potential damage, via the suns harmful UV Rays. The sun’s harmful UV-Rays cause age spots, wrinkles, and in the worst-case scenario, skin cancer.
Urban environments also play a big role in the health of your skin. Air pollution is the result of gases or particles that are in the air as a result of human activities, think anything from car exhaust to power plants.
Polluted air makes it hard for your skin to breathe, as it clogs pores, making the skin irritated and dehydrated. This combined with exposure to UV-rays greatly speeds up fine lines and wrinkles on the skin.
Luckily our bodies produce something to help us combat this and that is Antioxidants. This is a substance that can neutralise free radicals, the bad news is that in environments that are heavy in free radicals, such as cities, our bodies can become overwhelmed.
Given our skin is our exterior barrier to the world, it is naturally exposed to a lot of free radicals, especially UV radiation from the sun. Thus, it stands to benefit the most from a boost in antioxidants. This can be done through our diet, which nurtures our interior systems, and through products high in antioxidants that we apply externally, such as moisturiser or serums.
Is men’s skin different?
It’s unsurprising that decades of marketing skincare exclusively to women juxtaposed to seemingly non-existent marketing of skincare to men has resulted in men believing their skin is different from women.
The short answer, is yes. There are notable physical differences between men and women’s skin. Studies show that the skin parameters of hydration, transepidermal water loss, sebum, microcirculation, pigmentation, and thickness are generally higher in men but skin pH is higher in women.
Sebum content is higher in men because sebum is highly influenced by sex hormones. Also, skin pigmentation and thickness are significantly higher, facial wrinkles are deeper, and facial sagging is more prominent in the lower eyelids of men, but there is no significant difference in skin elasticity between the sexes. In short, what this means for men is that if we don’t address wrinkles before they set in, we will permanently look older than we actually are.
The fun dosen’t stop there for men’s skin either.Unforchuntley, it’s that our skin is more vulnerable to melanoma, more commonly referred to as skin cancer.
What’s depressing here is that the above-mentioned issues are, to an extent, preventable. A proactive skincare routine of applying sunscreen, moisturising and wearing a hat could help to prevent much of the external environmental damage men’s skin suffers.
Instead, men baked themselves in the sun, largely unprotected, for decades at a time. Even our naturally oiler skin ( which is our body’s attempt to reduce moisture loss and protect our skin) isn’t enough to undo the harm we’re typically doing. When it boils down to it, yes, our skin is different but how it ages is more down to how we look after it.
One of the biggest factors that contribute to you looking 55 when you’re 30 has a lot to do with environmental factors and how we men fail to address these in our skincare regime or lack thereof.
Men’s skin Types
So, knowing what you now know, you’re ready to put together a skin routine.The first thing you want to do is establish what type of skin you have.
There are five common skin types: Dry, oily, sensitive, normal, and combination.
- Oily skin: Oily skin is the result of your body producing too much Sebum. Oily skin’s pores tend to be more visible and come with a gloss like sheen, that arises shortly after cleaning. What we’re after here is a cleanser that is going to help remove the excess oil, dirt and unclog your pores. Signs of oily skin are large, visible pores and a greasy sheen that develops quickly after you’ve cleansed.
- Dry Skin: We all know what dry skin can feel like? Tight, itchy, and flakey. This is a result of skin not retaining moisture, due to your body producing less sebum. This can be a result of the climate you find yourself in (Extreme heat or cold) or your skin’s natural condition. Either way, you want to look for a product that moisturises and is gentle on your face. Make sure you look for something that is alcohol and soap-free, to avoid irritating your face.
- Sensitive Skin: Chances are if you have sensitive skin, you’ll be well aware of it by now. Sensitive skin is much more reactive and irritates easily, often leaving a red rash in the affected area. This can be particularly noticeable for blokes when shaving, making it all the more important to choose quality products for your skin. ‘’Over 90% of dermatologists agree that the selection of shaving products is of high importance for men with sensitive skin’’
The aim here is to attempt to diminish the irritability of skin by focusing on natural products that won’t clog up your pores, like oil or soap-based ones would. Unclogged pores allow your skin to breathe and help to reduce irritation in the first place. Shaving can be one of the biggest culprits of irritated skin, so check out our shaving guide here for tips specifically for that.
- Normal Skin: When using the term normal, what’s actually being referred to is well-balanced skin, meaning overall sebum and moisture is balanced and the skin is neither too oily nor too dry.
Your skin has good blood circulation, no blemishes, and is not overly sensitive. One of the benefits of normal skin is that you can try a variety of products and take your pick of what you feel works best for you.
- Combination Skin: We’ll often find that this is the most common skin type for men. this skin type combines elements of all of the above-mentioned types. You may find your skin is sensitive to some ingredients and there may be days where your skin is more oily than usual.
You can also find that some areas of your skin are more oily or dry than others. In addition, your skin can change with the seasons, becoming more oily in summer and dry in the winter. given the amount of variation in combination skin, it’s best to keep your routine as simple as possible. Utilise a light-mild water-soluble cleanser and avoid oil-based moisturisers. Take note of what ingredients irritate your skin and work to eliminate them from your skincare routine.
How men can look after their skin
Like most things in life, ignoring your health comes to your detriment, and your skin is no different. One of the best skincare routines you can have is to look after your health. This means regular exercise, reducing smoking and drinking, and have a nutrient-rich diet.
Another factor is working to reduce free radicals. As we have mentioned before, UV rays are a big factor in skin health. Just 15 minutes in direct sun is enough for free radicals to start forming and they continue to do so an hour after the process has begun. Wear and regularly reapply sun, cover your skin, and find shade when you can. Make sure your skin is clean, you want to remove dirt and free radicals from your skin so that your pores can breathe.
An inappropriate skincare routine. There can be too much of a good thing, Washing too frequently in water that is too hot can strip the skin of its protective lipid layer and cause it to become more sensitive. Some cleansers also contain harsh ingredients that harm the natural protective barrier making the skin susceptible to irritation.
Products for men’s skin
- Cleanser – Are used to remove pollutants from face, such as oil, dead skin, and general day to date and grime. By removing these from the face, we can unclog our pores and reduce skin conditions, such as acne. Cleansing can remove to much of your natural face oils, leaving your skin dry and dyhydtaed. Look for a cleanser with natural ingredients and one that will hydrate your skin as it cleans. A key ingredient to look for is glycerin, it’s extremely effective at holding onto water, allowing it to sit on your skin, and keep it hydrated. this results in in you getting a clean mug, while not dyhydrating your skin.
- Face Scrub: A face scrub is used to give your face a deeper clean, working to remove any pollutants, grime and dead skin cells from your face on a deeper level. Exfoliating leaves your skin looking brighter and can help to improve the absorption of moisturisers/ serums, as well as helping to unclog pores. Scrubs incorporate particles into the scrub that exfoliates the skin. don’t overdo it on the scrub though, going too hard or too often with it can cause micro-tears in your skin, which is as bad as it sounds. Keep your scrubbing to 1-2 times per week max.
- Day Serum: The main focus of serum is to penetrate the skin as deep as possible to deliver vitamins and nutrients beyond the surface level of the skin. A serum tends to clear, gel-based liquid, it’s not as heavy as some creams, meaning it can penetrate and hydrate the skin at a deeper level. Serums generally contain antioxidant vitamins such as A (Which helps to reduce wrinkles by thickening and stimulating the dermis, which is home to your collagen and blood vessels) C (which is important for making collagen and works to reducing pigmentation), and E ( Helps soothe and calm the skin with anti-inflammatory properties).
Serums are the ideal complement moisturisers helping to address men’s skin issues below the surface area of skin, make sure to apply on just-washed skin, for deeper penetration and hydration.
- Moisturiser: If you only use one product, then moisturiser is the one to go for. Easily one of the most familiar items for skincare, even to those without a skincare routine, most have a passing familiarity with moisturiser. Moisturiser is useful for all skin types but they excel in treating and preventing dry skin. This is done by holding water in the outer layer of the skin ( Know as the Stratum Corneum).
Moisturiser sits on the top layer of your skin, which allows it to creates a barrier between your skin and the elements ( especially true with a moisturiser with SPF protection in it) and harmful free radicals. Remember, it’s important to match your moisturiser to your skin type. People with oily skin should look for an oil-free moisturiser, to avoid clogging your pores. Dry skin, look for a product that will lock in moisturise. Normal skin can look for something light on the skin with natural oils and sensitive skin people can look for fragrance-free and one with a small ingredients list
Look after your mug
If you’ve made it this far, you clearly have an interest in looking your best. You’ve only got one face, knowing your skin type, what environmental factors effect and the best way to look after your skin can be a huge advantage in reducing the wear and tear that shows up on your face.
This will be especially noticeable as you age, don’t settle for looking like yourte 55 at 35, look after your mug now and enjoy the benefits for a lifetime.