Saturday, September 26, 2015

Men & Proper Skin Care

There really is very little difference between treating male skin and treating female skin. I approach each person as a unique individual—male, female, black, white, young, or old. Everyone has several combinations of characteristics that make up his or her skin. There are, of course, certain qualities to men’s skin that make it distinct.

As I’ve said before, when it comes to men and their skin care habits, the word apathy comes to mind. Men I’ve met and the husbands and boyfriends of my clients tend not to do too much with their skin. I don’t think this is because they don’t care. No doubt the lack of exposure to proper skin care products and techniques plays a part in a man’s lack of a skin care routine. I see this changing over the years, and consequently I see many more men taking good care of their skin.

Your skin is usually thick; thick skin tends to be oily. You have high amounts of androgens, including testosterone (a male hormone linked to sebaceous activity), so your skin will usually be oilier than a woman’s. You typically experience problems with your skin at the onset of puberty, when your body is going through tremendous hormonal surges. Along with blemishes, you may experience irritations due to your newly sprouting facial hair.

Also many young men are active in sports at this time. Sweating during these activities can bring its own set of problems—namely irritation on the surface of the skin. Couple this irritation with chin straps or other gear that may interfere with sweating, and you have a recipe for trouble.

After puberty, you generally don’t have too many problems with your skin. As apposed to women, who have monthly hormone fluctuations throughout their lives, many of you have smooth sailing after the teen years. This, however, is not always the case.

Do you have problems with your skin? If so, you might have a hormone imbalance that can cause mild to severe breakouts. Folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles) and basic irritation with shaving can plague you throughout your life too. Diet also plays a key role in the health of your skin. An overall lack of proper care can cause problems as well. If neglected, your skin will reflect it.

One common problem you may experience is extreme dryness (which is really dehydration) that comes from a lack of moisture in the skin as well as a thick dead skin buildup. Exfoliating and moisturizing can help lessen this type of red, flaky skin. However, dry skin may actually be eczema, a dermatitis showing up as red, scaly skin that usually itches. In this case, skin care products will not be of much help, and you’ll want to seek out a dermatologist’s care.
Dermatitises (skin inflammations) explained

Sun damage is another skin problem I see frequently in my male clients. Because many of you are not as conscious about taking care of your skin as some women are, you tend to skip sunscreen and sun protection in general. This can lead to sunburn as well as general dryness (dehydration) from overexposure. Whenever sun exposure is involved, there is always the possibility of cancerous growths down the road. As with all skin, female and male, sun protection is a must.

A common condition for men is ingrown hairs, otherwise known as pseudofolliculitis barbae. This is where your hair decides to navigate back down into the skin instead of coming out onto the surface. Because these hairs are coarse, they can wreak havoc on the tissue below. The misguided hairs usually causes red, irritated bumps that resemble blemishes, but they are actually small irritations caused by the ingrown hairs. Once this sensitive tissue meets with a razor, small red bumps (razor bumps) follow. Although ingrown hairs cause inflammation and irritation, there is usually not a bacterial infection present as with true folliculitis.

Pseudofolliculitis tends to happen more with curly-haired men, especially African-Americans. The first course of treatment for ingrown hairs is exfoliation. By exfoliating the outer, dead skin layer, often the hair finds an easier path to the outside. When exfoliating, a gel-type, nonabrasive peel would be preferable to using a scrub. If a scrub is all you have at the moment, don’t get too aggressive with it or you can cause more irritation, but be on the lookout for a gentler, gel-type product. Give exfoliation a try and see if it solves your ingrown hair problems. If you can, try not shaving so closely with your razor. This can help to alleviate some of the irritation. If nothing seems to work, another option—although maybe not for everyone—is to let your beard grow out.

If you’re having problems with skin irritations around your beard area that won’t go away, it could be true folliculitis. This is a bacterial infection (staphylococcus) in your hair follicles caused by any number of things, even contaminated washcloths. If you think you have folliculitis, you may want to consult your dermatologist, who can prescribe topical or oral antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria present in your skin.

There are many articles posted on this blog specifically for men, however any post here can be beneficial for any skin, male or female. For your basic skin care program, see:
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