For many men, skincare seems too big a bother or too intimidating a prospect to invest any time or energy into it. “It’s for women.” “It’s too complicated.” “My skin is fine right now and I’m not doing anything.” But skincare, no matter what your gender, is important, not only for looking good, but for staying healthy and preserving the integrity of your skin. An article from Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery describes the skin as an indicator of overall health throughout our lives. How we care for it is reflected in the way it functions, looks and ages.
Men, care for your skin. Not only for vanity, but for health. Here are a few reasons why it’s important to develop a skincare routine and some simple suggestions for getting started.
Why Men Need To Concern Themselves With Skincare
Your skin is your body’s largest organ and the first line of defense against disease and infection. This, if nothing else, is reason enough to care for your skin. Skin that’s not well cared for can become too oily or too dry, which can cause complications. Oily skin can result in acne when pores become clogged with debris or dead skin cells. Dry skin can develop atopic dermatitis, which causes redness, itching, cracking and inflammation, according to the Mayo Clinic. Cracked skin can allow bacteria to enter, causing infection. In addition to being distracting, none of these symptoms are good for your image.
The solution to all of these problems can start with a simple skincare routine.
Cleansing your skin is the first step towards embarking on a skincare regimen. It’s simple. You need to cleanse your skin. Choosing a cleanser from amongst the myriad drugstore and boutique options, however, is where developing this step of your routine gets complicated. Men’s Fitness recommends using a facial cleanser that contains glycolic acid in the morning and in the evening before bed every day. Once or twice a week, use an exfoliating scrub to slough away dead skin cells that can clog pores and leave your skin looking dull and dry.
Moisturizing after you cleanse your skin should become an automatic part of your new skincare routine. When choosing a moisturizer, it pays to understand your skin and know your skin type. Most facial moisturizing lotions are oil-based, according to Men’s Fitness, which will work well if you have normal skin. These types of lotions are particularly well suited for dry skin or winter skin parched by the elements and indoor heating. Oily skin, however, would be better off with an oil-free product. Look for something dermatologist tested and noncomedogenic if you’re prone to acne breakouts.
Once you’ve cleansed and moisturized, it’s important to protect your skin from the harsh environment, especially from the sun’s damaging UV rays. To do this, you need to apply a sunscreen every day. The American Cancer Society recommends choosing a sunscreen that is “broad spectrum,” meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. This ensures that your skin is not only being protected against the possibility of skin cancer, but also lines, wrinkles, sun spots and other visible signs of photoaging caused by the sun’s rays.
Your sunscreen should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Higher SPF numbers do carry more sun protection, according to the American Cancer Society, but as the SPF number increases, the improvement becomes minimal. For instance, a sunscreen with 30 SPF filters out about 97 percent of UVB rays, whereas a sunscreen boasting 50 SPF filters out about 98 percent. The difference is negligible. Just don’t dip below SPF 15, since it may only protect against sunburn, but not skin cancer or skin aging.
Remember as well that “sweat proof” does not mean “waterproof.” A sweat proof sunscreen should be suitable on most days, but if you’re headed to the pool or the beach, look for a sunscreen that will hold up better in the water. The American Cancer Society recommends reapplying every two hours or so to ensure you’re well protected.