A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

Men’s skin care: 3 tips for healthier, smoother skin

Men's Skin Care

Men’s skin care products are more popular than ever – find out how you can keep your skin healthy and smooth.

There is a major trend in the personal care industry — sales of men’s skin care products are growing at a rapid rate.

“Today’s popular culture has helped to reinforce that it is okay for men to invest in their appearance and skin health,” said Dr. Erik Stratman, Marshfield Clinic Health System dermatologist. “This is really a 21st Century movement. Prior to that, skin care was an industry devoted only to women.”

As the market continues to grow, it’s time to offer up some advice on how men can work to improve their skin care regimen and health.

Follow these skin care principles

For individuals looking for some handy skin care tips, Stratman cited some universal principles that apply to both men and women.

  • Avoid harsh and drying soaps

Stratman explained that this will keep your skin more moisturized. He recommends using nonsoap cleansers (such as Dove or Cetaphil®) instead, especially in during winter.

  • Moisturize your extremities immediately after a shower

“A bland thick moisturizer, like Vanicream or CeraVe, can help prevent dry skin and winter itch in our climate,” said Stratman.

  • Use a facial moisturizer with SPF 15 or higher

“This helps prevent sun damage that could later lead to skin cancer formation, wrinkling and blotchy pigmentation,” he said. “Since men may use creams less regularly than women, we encourage them to use this in place of aftershave lotion each morning.”

Make sure to prevent razor bumps

Shaving beards and mustache can lead to a lot of skin problems, such as razor bumps and skin irritation. Luckily, there are steps that can be taken to lessen the damage.

“Razor bumps are often caused when the beard hair is slightly curly and the razor cuts the whiskers below the surface of the skin,” Stratman said. “As the whisker grows the next day, it may pierce the side wall of the hair follicle, causing a significant inflammatory reaction that can look like the classic ‘razor bumps.’ This could even lead to a more severe acne-like condition called pseudofolliculitis barbae.”

To prevent this, he recommends shaving with the grain of the beard instead of against it. Stratman also says to stay away from razors with extreme lift and cut technology.

If someone winds up with razor bumps, the skin condition can be treated by using over-the-counter adapalene gel at bedtime and a mild 5% benzoyl peroxide wash if the bumps looks more like an acne flare.

Try to avoid fragrances

Many men make fragrance products such as aftershave lotions, body sprays and colognes a regular part of their daily routine. However, Stratman and fellow dermatologists advise against their use.

“These types of fragrances are a top three cause of allergic contact dermatitis in America,” he explained.  “Dermatologists are much more likely to advocate for fragrance-free products.” Stratman recommends the soap and moisturizers noted above as alternatives.

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