A Manly Guide to Skincare

Gone are the days when looking tough was a synonym of manly. There's nothing vain or feminine about men using moisturizers. In fact, most men these days will look after their skin in one form or another but grabbing random products from supermarket shelves won't always cut it. Here are some easy steps to help you look after your skin on a daily basis. 

What is your skin type? 

Knowing your skin type is essential to choosing the right type of products for your skincare regime. Here are a few tips to easily identify your skin type. 

  • Normal: Your skin stays oil free most of the day and doesn’t get irritated or dry easily. Acne is rarely an issue.
  • Oily Skin: Your skin has oily patches and a natural shine to it. You often get acne or build up.
  • Dry/Sensitive Skin: Your skin gets easily irritated all over and frequently feels tight or dry.
  • Combination: Imagine your face has a “T” on it. The horizontal bar goes across your forehead – the vertical bar runs down to the tip of your nose. This is called the T zone. Guys who have combination skin have an oily T zone but dry/sensitive skin on the rest of their face (primarily the cheeks). *

A manly skincare routine in 3 easy steps

1. Cleanse

Supermarket cleansers can often dry out your skin. This is due to a high level of surfactant (soap) contained in the formulation.

To get the most out of your cleansing regime, look for a cleanser that is pH balanced for your skin. Stay away from ingredients like artificial fragrances, parabens and harsh soaps.

The cleanser formula itself - whether it’s a cream, lotion, or foam is more a matter of personal preference. If you have slightly drier skin you may prefer a cleanser with added moisturizers, like glycerin or coconut oil, or if your skin is oily, try a foaming solution. Oil-based gels are a great option for most skin types as they deeply cleanse while maintaining the skin’s natural moisture levels. 

Use a cleanser in the morning and at night. Apply and spread the cleanser in a circular motion, then rinse off with warm water.  

2. Moisturize

Despite popular belief, drinking lots of water doesn’t really benefit your skin that much, since water goes mostly to your inner organs first before reaching your skin. On the other hand, using a moisturizer on a daily basis will keep your skin hydrated and looking healthy by enhancing the functioning of the stratum corneum, the uppermost layer of skin. 

Finding the right moisturizer can be quite challenging. Many over-the-counter products are formulated using a combination of water, silicones, alcohol, preservatives, mineral oil and/or unstable polyunsaturated oils. At best, these types of products are a fast fix - they don't improve the skin's condition deep-down. And while they may list ingredients such as retinol or vitamins, they generally do not contain the concentrations required to provide anti-aging benefits.

Dr Gray, leading dermatologist and founder of Skin Institute and Ao Skincare, recommends products that optimize your skin's function instead of slathering moisture on the surface of the skin, to help your skin produce more of its own natural moisture, both on and below the surface.

Here are a few tips to help you choose the right moisturizer based on your skin type:

  • Dry: Use a moisturizing cleanser and follow up with a rich moisturizer. As long as acne is not an issue, oil-based lotions are a good choice, especially at night.
  • Oily: Avoid any heavy or oil-based formulas. Instead, use an oil-free or mattifying moisturizer in the morning and just a lightweight serum at night.
  • Normal/ Combination: The trick to treating this variable skin is creating balance. Aim for a medium-weight product that maintains moisture but doesn’t add oil to already shiny areas.
  • Sensitive: Avoid irritating ingredients, such as alcohol and preservatives. Moisturize twice daily with mild products specifically designed for sensitive skin.*

3. Protect 

The effects of sun damage tend to be more pronounced on men than on women as they are more likely to use weak over-the-counter products or forgo using sunscreen on a regular basis.

Finding an good sunscreen requires to look beyond the SPF rating. SPF is a rather incomplete and somewhat misleading index. The key factor you want to pay attention to is the completeness of your protection.

Most commercial sunscreens formulas sold in the United States are effective at blocking UVB rays but not UVA. The FDA has approved only one major ingredient, avobenzone, that's been shown to combat UVA radiation. These limitations haven't stopped sunscreen manufacturers from liberally using the term "broad spectrum protection" on their product labels, which tends to mislead consumers into thinking that they're safer than they really are.*

A good sun block needs to do more than just stop UV rays. Dr Gray recommends formulas that use titanium oxide and Niacinamide, which acts as an antioxidant. This can help protect your skin by reducing free radicals at the cellular level.

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"Skincare science needs to be on the very edge of social change and evolution in order to succeed."

Dr. Mark Gray