Men: are you taking your skincare seriously?

Heather Stephen

More men, especially younger ones, are starting to take their skin care seriously. And not before time experts say, as they need a smart skincare regime just as much as women do. Here’s why.

According to research by Mintel more than half (56%) of men say they have no need for skincare products and a quarter (26%) claim they don’t care what their skin looks like. But what men  say and what they do may be two very different things as the very same research shows that 60% men aged 16-24 use moisturiser, as do 41% in the 45-54s. In 2015 the mens’ skincare market was worth £104 million in the UK alone.

Consultant dermatologist Anjali Mahto from the Cadogan Clinic, London, says men are becoming more discerning. “Men used to just slap on their girlfriend’s products but they are much more aware of skincare these days.”

And aesthetics specialist Dr Rupert Critchley, founder of the VIVA Skin Clinics chain, agrees.  “With an increasing number of male clients through the doors at skin clinics across the UK men are clearly becoming more skin conscious,” he says. And he’s noted the burgeoning range of  cosmeceuticals that are hitting the shelves to meet growing demand. But do they really need different products?


What’s different about men’s skin? 

Dr Justine Kluk, consultant dermatologist, men’s skin is 20-30% thicker and contains more collagen. “Wrinkles appear later in men”, says Kluk, who works at clinics in Harley Street and Hampstead. “But changes occur more rapidly once they start.”

And she says men are more likely to have more spots as their “sebaceous glands are more active, their pores are larger and skin is oilier.”

Sensitivity is also more of an issue for men as shaving puts the skin under stress and can cause irritation.


Why do men need to look after their skin?

A good skincare routine can help with most of the common skincare problems. According to Mahto it  “improves the appearance of the skin, helps with anti-ageing and makes the skin more comfortable.”

“Cleansing morning and evening, especially if you live in the city, is important to remove the particulate matter which sits on the skin, ageing us and giving us acne.

“And moisturiser acts as a barrier from bacteria and viruses entering through cracks in our skin.” If the skin barrier is in good condition the skin is less likely to become irritated and inflamed after shaving.


Get to know your skin

“An effective skincare plan should reflect your skin type and the goals you are hoping to achieve such as reducing breakouts or slowing signs of ageing,” says Kluk.

So how do you know what type of skin your have?

Sensitive skin may sting or burn after using product

Normal skin is clear and does not react easily

Dry skin may be flaky, itchy, red or rough

Oily skin is shiny and greasy and may have acne.

Combination skin is dry in some areas and oily in others


So what do you need to deal with these?

Clever cleansing

  • To rid your skin of the dirt and pollutants that land on it throughout the day, wash morning and night and after exercise.
  • If your skin is oily or prone to breakouts choose a cleanser with glycolic or salicylic acid.
  • Use fragrance free products if you have sensitive skin
  • For dry skin, choose soap free cleansers and richer moisturisers to maximise hydration.

Magic moisturising

Moisturisers trap water in the skin for less wrinkles and a healthier complexion, and for best results apply while the skin is damp.

Kluk suggests an anti-oxidant serum after cleansing and before moisturising to neutralise damage by free radicals – unstable molecules that cause cell damage and prematurely age us.

And she says you should include a retinol cream into your evening routine to slow collagen breakdown.


Smart shaving

Shaving might be the ultimate exfoliator but it could leave your skin irritated and bumpy if you’re not careful.

Dr Kluk has this advice for a more comfortable shaving experience:

  1. Pre-shave wet your face with warm water for up to 5 minutes to soften your skin
  2. After applying shaving gel or cream shave in the direction of hair growth
  3. Rinse the blade after each swipe and change blades after every 5 shaves
  4. After shaving rinse with cool water and apply moisturiser

And Rupert Critchley says to avoid infected hair follicles and ingrown hairs always use sharp razors and if you have sensitive or easily irritated skin, he suggests ditching the aftershave or spraying it onto your clothes instead of your face.

Sunscreen Savvy

We all need to protect ourselves from the sun but men are at particular risk as they often expose more of their body during the summer months.

“Incidents of skin cancer have increased 360% since the 1970’s,” says Mahto. “We are all at risk, whether from that summer holiday once a year where we get sunburn or if we play outdoor sports.”

“Everyone should wear sunscreen to reduce their risk of skin cancer and to combat the ageing effects of the sun such as premature wrinkles and age spots” she says.

Dermatologists recommend a minimum SPF30 sunscreen applied 15 minutes before leaving the house which should be reapplied every two hours and after swimming, sweating or toweling your skin. And spray products are good for protecting scalps with thinning hair.

Take home message

So guys you might think you can get away with a quick splash of soap and water once a day but by taking a little more care you could beat those skin demons like wrinkles, spots and sensitivity so you can feel great and look good.

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