By Ray Hall, LMA
Men are often under the impression that their skin care routine doesn’t have to be as comprehensive as women’s. Why is that not the case? In my clinical experience, I am finding that more men are looking for skin health improvement for several reasons.
First, there is a growing realization that skin health is important for everyone, regardless of gender. Proper skin care helps prevent acne, dryness, and premature aging, and it can also reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Second, shaving impacts skin, and men who shave regularly experience more irritation, ingrown hairs, and razor burn, and many have learned that a comprehensive skin care routine can help minimize these issues by keeping the skin clean, moisturized, and properly exfoliated.
And third, men are waking up to the fact that they are not immune to aging. Just like women, men’s skin will show signs of aging over time. Incorporating anti-aging products and sun protection into a daily skin care routine can help maintain a youthful appearance and minimize the effects of aging.
Do you have any tips for a cleaner, smoother shave?
Certainly! Here are some tips for a cleaner, smoother shave:
- Prep your skin: Start by washing your face with warm water and a gentle cleanser to remove dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. This helps soften the hair follicles and makes them easier to cut.
- Exfoliate: Exfoliating your skin before shaving can help remove dead skin cells, which can lead to a closer shave and reduce the risk of ingrown hairs. Use a gentle scrub or an exfoliating brush to slough away dead skin.
- Use pre-shave oil: Applying pre-shave oil can help soften the hair and create a barrier between your skin and the razor, reducing irritation, razor burn, and nicks.
- Choose the right shaving cream: Use a high-quality shaving cream or gel that provides ample lubrication, allowing the razor to glide smoothly over your skin. It should also contain moisturizing ingredients to keep your skin hydrated during the shaving process.
- Use a sharp, clean razor: A dull or dirty razor can cause irritation, nicks, and cuts. Make sure to change your razor blades regularly and rinse the razor thoroughly after each stroke to remove excess hair and shaving cream.
- Shave with the grain: Shave in the direction of hair growth to minimize irritation and the risk of ingrown hairs. If you need a closer shave, you can gently go against the grain after the first pass but be cautious not to press too hard.
- Take your time: Rushing through your shave can result in nicks, cuts, and irritation. Be patient and use slow, careful strokes, especially around sensitive areas like the neck and jawline.
- Rinse with cold water: After shaving, rinse your face with cold water to close the pores and reduce inflammation.
- Apply aftershave: Use an alcohol-free aftershave lotion or balm to soothe and moisturize your skin. Avoid products with alcohol, as they can dry out and irritate the skin.
- Moisturize: Finish your shaving routine by applying a hydrating moisturizer to keep your skin soft, smooth, and healthy.
Why should I switch my soap bar for an actual face cleanser? Which cleansers do you recommend?
Switching from a soap bar to an actual face cleanser can be beneficial for several reasons:
- pH balance: Traditional soap bars often have a high pH level (around 9-10), which can disrupt your skin’s natural pH balance (around 4.5-5.5). This disruption can lead to dryness, irritation, and damage to the skin’s protective barrier. Face cleansers are specifically formulated to have a pH level closer to your skin’s natural pH, ensuring a gentle and balanced cleansing experience.
- Gentle formulation: Face cleansers are designed to be gentler on your skin than soap bars. They often contain milder surfactants (cleansing agents) and moisturizing ingredients that help maintain your skin’s hydration levels. Soap bars can strip away your skin’s natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation.
- Targeted ingredients: Face cleansers often include specific ingredients to address various skin concerns, such as acne, excess oil, or dryness. These targeted ingredients can provide additional benefits beyond basic cleansing. Soap bars typically lack these specialized ingredients and may not effectively address your skin’s unique needs.
- Less residue: Soap bars can leave residue on your skin, which may clog pores and contribute to breakouts. Face cleansers are designed to rinse clean, leaving your skin free of residue and reducing the risk of clogged pores.
- Ease of use: Most face cleansers come in a liquid or gel form, which can be easier to apply and distribute evenly across your face compared to a soap bar. This ensures thorough cleansing without the need to rub the bar directly on your face, which can cause irritation.
To determine the best medical-grade cleanser for your skin, you should consult with your aesthetic provider.
One size fits all. Does the same concept apply to skin care products?
The concept of “one size fits all” does not apply to skin care products. Everyone’s skin is unique, and individual skin types and concerns need to be considered when selecting skin care products. Here are some reasons why skin care products should be tailored to each person:
- Different skin types: People have different skin types, such as oily, dry, combination, sensitive, or normal. Each skin type has unique characteristics and needs specific care. For example, a product formulated for oily skin might not provide enough hydration for someone with dry skin, whereas a heavy moisturizer designed for dry skin could cause breakouts for someone with oily skin.
- Skin concerns: Individuals may have various skin concerns, such as acne, hyperpigmentation, sensitivity, or signs of aging. Skin care products often contain targeted ingredients to address these specific issues. Using a product that doesn’t cater to your skin concern may not yield the desired results or could even worsen the problem.
- Allergies and sensitivities: Some people may have allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients in skin care products. A product that works well for one person might cause irritation or an allergic reaction in another. It’s crucial to know your skin’s sensitivities and choose products accordingly.
- Climate and environment: The climate and environment you live in can also impact your skin care needs. For example, someone living in a dry, cold climate might need more intense hydration than someone living in a humid, tropical climate.
- Age: As we age, our skin’s needs change. Teenagers might need products that target acne and oiliness, while mature skin may require products that focus on hydration, firmness, and wrinkle reduction.
I want to start a skin care routine. Where do I begin and what are the essentials? And how do I incorporate it into my busy schedule?
Starting a skin care routine can be simple and easily incorporated into a busy schedule. Here are the essential steps and tips to help you establish an effective routine:
- Determine your skin type: Knowing your skin type (oily, dry, combination, sensitive, or normal) is crucial for choosing the right products. You can consult a dermatologist or do some research on how to identify your skin type.
- Cleanser: Choose a gentle cleanser suitable for your skin type. Use it twice a day, in the morning and evening, to remove dirt, oil, and impurities.
- Toner: A toner helps balance your skin’s pH and prepare it for the following steps. Choose an alcohol-free toner that addresses your skin concerns and apply it after cleansing.
- Moisturizer: Regardless of your skin type, moisturizing is essential to maintain your skin’s hydration and barrier function. Pick a moisturizer that suits your skin type and apply it after toning.
- Sunscreen: Sun protection is crucial for preventing premature aging, hyperpigmentation, and skin cancer. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 daily, even on cloudy days. Apply it as the last step in your morning routine.
To incorporate your skin care routine into a busy schedule, consider the following tips:
- Keep it simple: Stick to the essential steps (cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and sun protection) to save time, especially when you’re starting. You can add more targeted treatments later as needed.
- Multi-tasking products: Look for products that serve multiple purposes, such as a moisturizer with SPF or a tinted sunscreen that provides some coverage. This can save time and minimize the number of products you need to apply.
- Create a routine: Establish a consistent routine by setting aside specific times for your skin care, such as right after waking up and before going to bed. This makes it easier to incorporate skin care into your daily habits.
- Prep the night before: If mornings are particularly busy, consider doing some of your skin care routine the night before, such as applying a more intensive moisturizer or using a treatment serum.
- Keep products accessible: Store your skin care products in a place where they’re easy to access, such as on your bathroom counter or bedside table. This makes it more convenient to use them consistently.
Which facial sunscreen do you recommend and how often should I apply it?
There are several medical-grade sunscreens available for different daily and outdoor activities. For younger patients with less sun damage, I often recommend Revision® Skincare Intellishade®, which comes in both tinted and untinted formulas. For more mature skin, I often recommend Isdin Eryfotona. This product is designed for photoaging and is a 100% mineral sunscreen with broad-spectrum SPF50.
How do I get rid of oily skin?
To help manage oily skin, follow these tips, and incorporate them into your daily skin care routine:
- Choose a gentle cleanser: Use a gentle, oil-free cleanser specifically designed for oily skin. Cleansing twice daily, in the morning and evening, can help remove excess oil, dirt, and impurities.
- Don’t over-cleanse: Over-cleansing can strip your skin of natural oils, causing it to produce more oil to compensate. Stick to cleansing twice a day and avoid using harsh soaps or scrubs.
- Use a toner: Applying an alcohol-free toner after cleansing can help balance your skin’s pH and remove any remaining traces of oil and dirt. Look for toners with ingredients like witch hazel or salicylic acid that can help control oil production.
- Moisturize: Even oily skin needs hydration. Choose a lightweight, oil-free, and non-comedogenic moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated without making it greasier.
- Exfoliate regularly: Exfoliating one to two times a week can help remove dead skin cells and reduce oil buildup. Use a gentle scrub or a chemical exfoliant containing alpha or beta hydroxy acids, but be cautious not to over-exfoliate, as it can irritate the skin and trigger more oil production.
- Use oil-free sunscreen: Protect your skin from the sun with an oil-free, non-comedogenic sunscreen with at least SPF 30. This will prevent sun damage without contributing to oiliness.
- Blotting papers: Keep blotting papers handy to absorb excess oil throughout the day. Gently press them against your skin without rubbing to avoid irritation.
- Avoid touching your face: Touching your face can transfer oil and bacteria, which can contribute to breakouts. Try to keep your hands away from your face as much as possible.
- Manage stress: Stress can trigger hormonal changes that lead to increased oil production. Incorporate stress management techniques, such as exercise, meditation, or deep breathing exercises, into your daily routine.
- Consider professional treatments: If oily skin persists despite your efforts, consult a dermatologist for professional advice and treatments, such as facials, chemical peels, or prescription medications.
What is an annual skin exam and why should I get one every year?
An annual skin exam, also known as a full-body skin check, is a thorough examination of your skin by a dermatologist. The primary purpose of this exam is to detect skin cancer, particularly melanoma, in its early stages. Here’s why you should consider getting an annual skin exam:
- Early detection of skin cancer: The sooner skin cancer is detected, the higher the chances of successful treatment and a favorable prognosis. An annual skin exam helps identify any suspicious lesions or changes in existing moles that might indicate skin cancer.
- Professional evaluation: While self-examination of your skin is essential, a trained dermatologist has the experience and expertise to recognize early signs of skin cancer that you might overlook or dismiss as harmless.
- Monitoring changes: Regular skin exams allow the dermatologist to track any changes in your skin, such as the appearance of new moles, growth or color changes in existing moles, or other skin irregularities. These changes can be vital indicators of potential issues that need further investigation.
- Personalized risk assessment: During an annual skin exam, the dermatologist can assess your risk factors for developing skin cancer, such as family history, personal history of sunburns, skin type, and overall sun exposure. Based on your risk factors, they can provide tailored recommendations for sun protection and skin care.
- Education and prevention: A skin exam is an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about how to protect your skin from sun damage and other environmental factors. The dermatologist can offer guidance on proper sun protection, mole monitoring, and other preventive measures.
- Peace of mind: Regular skin exams can provide reassurance that you’re actively monitoring your skin’s health and taking steps to prevent skin cancer.
Do cosmetic dermatology treatments work for men or are they only for women?
Cosmetic dermatology treatments are suitable for both men and women. Many of these procedures focus on addressing common skin concerns and improving overall skin appearance, which are not gender specific. Men, like women, can benefit from various cosmetic dermatology treatments to enhance their skin’s health and appearance.
Some popular cosmetic dermatology treatments that work for men include:
- Botox® and dermal fillers: These treatments help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, restore facial volume, and provide a more youthful appearance. Men can benefit from these treatments just as much as women, with subtle, natural-looking results.
- Laser hair removal: This treatment is effective for both men and women who want to remove unwanted hair from various areas of the body. Men often opt for laser hair removal to address excessive hair on their back, chest, or neck.
- Chemical peels: Chemical peels can help improve skin texture, reduce the appearance of acne scars, and minimize signs of aging. They are suitable for both men and women, providing smoother, rejuvenated skin.
- Microdermabrasion: This non-invasive exfoliation treatment helps remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, and improve skin tone and texture. It can be beneficial for both men and women, particularly for addressing issues such as dull skin, enlarged pores, and fine lines.
- Laser skin resurfacing: This treatment uses laser technology to stimulate collagen production and improve skin texture, addressing concerns like wrinkles, scars, and sun damage. Both men and women can benefit from laser skin resurfacing for a more even, youthful complexion.
- Body contouring: Non-surgical body contouring treatments, such as CoolSculpting® or radiofrequency devices, can help reduce stubborn fat deposits and tighten loose skin. These treatments can be effective for both men and women seeking to improve their body shape.
About Our Dermatology Provider
Ray Hall, LMA – Ray is a Board-Certified Aesthetician and Cosmetologist, in addition to being a Licensed Laser Technician. Ray began his career in Aesthetics in 2006 and graduated as a Master Cosmetologist/Aesthetician from the Roffler Aesthetic Academy. His areas of expertise are vast, including lasers, laser hair removal procedures, chemical peels, microdermabrasions, and Hydrafacial®, among others. Ray’s passion for aesthetics also includes an understanding and knowledge of multiple skin-related products that complement his aesthetic treatments. Ray is a long-time Atlanta-area dance instructor and loves to travel the world.