Your skin is your biggest organ, it regularly gets scratched, heated, cooled, bruised and burnt. Because your skin is the first defence against the environment, it plays a big role in protecting your body from the elements, keeps your immunity levels up by protecting against pathogens, virus and bacteria. It also has to regulate your temperature.
Skin constantly regenerates and renews itself. The outer layer, called the epidermis, is as thin as a pencil line. It consists of a protective layer of skin cells that continually sheds and gives way to new cells. Below the epidermis are the dermis and hypodermis, two layers that produce the oil, collagen, and elastin that give your skin support, elasticity, and shine.
On top of that it is also one of your main erogenous zones, yet much of the time your skin is not given any thought or much care. Perhaps it’s time to change that, after all, how good you look depends on how well you take care of it.
SKIN CARE FOR MEN
For many men skincare is an unknown quantity, although most men know that they should be taking some sort of care for their skin, many are a little uncomfortable talking about or acting on any skin care issues as it is seen as a bit too feminine. After all that’s what women do, discuss skincare and anti-aging products, wrinkle cream etc. But any switched-on guy will know that they should be making the best of the skin they have. Although skincare products have historically been designed for women, times have changed and there are now many products that are designed just for men’s skin types.
HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR SKIN TYPE
There are 4 basic skin types: oily, dry, combination and normal, but be aware that your skin type will change from time to time and you will have different needs depending on the time of year, if you are under stress, or as you age.
DRY & SENSITIVE SKIN
Skin is tight, drawn, flaky with a dull complexion. Dry skin can lack elasticity and be extremely sensitive to the sun, wind, and cold temperatures. Dry skin occurs when the dermis does not secrete enough oil, or sebum. Often people with dry skin change frequently from normal to dry then back again.
Solutions to dry and sensitive skin
- Wear suncream: sun damage makes skin less and less able to hold moisture or feel smooth
- Moisturise: good moisturisers should have antioxidants, water-binding agents, and anti-inflammatory ingredients
- Keep applying moisturiser: If your skin really is dry you can’t use too much. Whenever your skin starts feeling dry, put more on
- Avoid products that are drying: do not use a soap, cleanser or any product that leaves a dry feeling on your skin. Avoid products with harsh ingredients such as alcohol. Do not over scrub skin
- Avoid taking long showers: Too much water is bad for skin, it breaks down the skin’s protective covering
- Exfoliate: increases skin cells turn over giving a more natural, youthful appearance, removing the build-up of old skin cells and replacing them with newer, smoother ones
- Use a face mask: use a moisturising mask once a week. to revitalise and hydrate the skin.
Oily skin can change from day to day, depending on the elements. This type of skin appears as shiny, thick, or slightly waxy, often oily skin has coarse pores and pimples and other blemishes. It is prone to blackheads, whiteheads and pimples. In this type of skin, the oil-producing sebaceous glands are overactive and produce excess oil and lipids than is needed. The oil gives the skin a greasy shine, the skin pores are enlarged and the skin has a coarse look.
Solutions for oily skin
- Keep your face as clean as possible, cleansing two or even three times daily
- Exfoliate several times a week, this will stop pores from clogging
- Avoid using products that over dry skin, this paradoxically causes your skin to produce even more oil than usual
- Wash in tepid water, hot water can strip your skin of needed moisture, while cold water can shock your skin
- Use noncomedogenic moisturizers and sunscreens, they are oil-free and won’t clog
- Use a clay mask once a week this will drain excess oil and clear build-up from clogged pores.
This can be a mixture of all the basic types, usually the differences are in the T-zone that crosses the forehead and down the nose and chin.
Treatment for combination skin
- Look for products that normalise your skin, such as those that contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs or fruit acids) or retinols, a vitamin A derivative. (Don’t use AHAs at the same time as shaving the combination could cause irritation)
- Try different products for different areas and follow the tips above in the areas they are needed.
Normal skin is the ideal state for your skin to be in, to keep it this way:
- Cleanse twice a day
- Moisturise twice a day
- Exfoliate once a week
- Use a mask to give your skin an added lift when needed
- Use sunscreen to stop harmful UV rays ageing your skin.
YOUR SKIN AS IT AGES
One important note about skin is that it changes as you age. The skin will get thinner, dryer, and will get more sensitive as you age, so it is important that you re-visit any products you use as your needs could change and your current products may no longer be effective.
Lots of men have at least some idea that they need to take care of their skin. But in the Western world, most guys are about as comfortable discussing skin care or seeming concerned about looking good as they are with holding a woman’s purse while she shops. This aversion doesn’t change the fact that, just like women, most men need help to take the best care of their skin—they absolutely shouldn’t ignore skin care.