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Man Up

Not long ago men who gave their appearance more than cursory consideration were considered sissies. But now real men are taking a second look at skin care.

Not long ago men who gave their appearance more than cursory consideration were considered sissies. But now great-looking skin is the new sexy, and real men are taking a second look at skin care.

Having irresistibly touchable skin doesn’t take a lot of effort. You clean it, sometimes you shave it, and once in a while you give it a little TLC. Because shaving causes visible and invisible nicks, applying a soothing, natural antibacterial skin lotion after you put down the razor will help prevent infections and irritations.

Remember that sun, wind, and temperature extremes are dehydrating—and only some men can pull off leathery skin, so be sure to moisturize.

What’s your type?

Dry: If your skin feels tight and has no shine, and your pores are barely visible, your skin is dry. Severely dry skin starts to flake.

Oily: If your skin is oily, you likely know it already. Oily skin is shiny, feels greasy, and is prone to pimples and blackheads.

Oily T-zone: If you have a shine on your forehead, your nose, and your chin, you have an oily T-zone. Cheeks are usually normal to dry.

Normal: If you have normal skin, you are a rare man indeed. Normal skin has a balance of moisture and suppleness with medium-sized pores.

Sensitive skin: If you experience stinging and redness after cleansing, your skin is sensitive. This skin type is often dry, and sensitivity often results from years of using harsh products that destroy the skin’s natural defences, leaving it vulnerable to irritants.

Dry and sensitive skin

Cleanse: If your skin is dry and easily irritated, look for soothing products to clean your face, and be gentle with yourself. While you want simple skin care, you may consider forgoing bar soaps—especially those designed as deodorant body soaps or ones that contain abrasives.

Instead, opt for cleansing milks containing naturally antibacterial coconut oil, as well as extracts of anti-inflammatory lavender and arnica. Borage and flaxseed oils supply nourishing and skin-softening essential fatty acids. If you must use bar soap, look for ingredients such as saponified olive oil, oatmeal, coconut oil, and evening primrose oil.

Moisturize: Dry and sensitive skins cries out for moisturizing creme. Look for products containing vitamin E, macadamia oil, and rosewater. Quince also helps to protect and hydrate skin. Remember the eye area.

Aftershave: Calendula, St. John’s wort, and linden extract are useful for calming skin irritation, while camomile soothes and hydrates. Never use alcohol on dry or
sensitive skin.

Exfoliation routine: Shaving daily is more than enough exfoliation for sensitive skin, so avoid scrubs and soaps containing abrasive ingredients. Manhandling your skin with a loofah or abrasive cleansers can lead to increased sensitivity. If skin looks a little dull, use a cotton washcloth along with your cleanser to gently remove dead skin cells.

Dry air and diuretics such as coffee, tea, and your favourite beer strip water from skin cells. Be sure to drink plenty of water daily, and check the humidity level in your home.

Oily or T-zone

Cleanse: If your skin is oily, look for cleansing products containing antiseptic lemon oil or orange oil to stimulate circulation and keep skin clear. Soaps containing sweet almond meal help to gently exfoliate skin while absorbing excess oil. To reduce the appearance
of pores associated with oily skin, choose meadowsweet extract for its astringent properties.

Moisturize: Contrary to popular belief, oily skin does need moisturizing. Avoid heavy oil products and look for light nourishment from aloe vera and camomile. Apricot oil, carrot root extract, and neem leaf extract are also useful for balancing oily skin.

Aftershave: Care for shaving nicks with products containing healing echinacea and cooling mint. High in tannins, witch hazel is an astringent that helps to shrink pores while reducing excess oil.

Exfoliation routine: Overstimulating oily skin with aggressive scrubbing can produce more oil. Use a scrub product containing pumice or sweet almond meal once or twice per week only. Opt for cleansing masks to draw out oils and impurities that can clog pores and lead to blemishes. Look for simple ingredients such as honey, cucumber, and clay (kaolin). Leave the mask on for 10 minutes—just long enough to catch the scores on TV. Rinse, and follow with your moisturizer.

Often skin becomes oily when there isn\’t enough natural moisture present. Boost your intake of omega-3 essential fatty acids to tame oily skin.

Skin troubles

More than 40 percent of adults over age 25 experience acne, and up to 12 percent of adults are still dealing with it in middle age. Look for products containing naturally antibacterial rosemary or meadowsweet to reduce acne breakouts. Topical manuka honey can help heal blemishes and acne. Always wash hands before touching your face.

Eczema or psoriasis
When rough, dry patches appear on your face, the itch and redness can be painfully embarrassing. Tried-and-true nutrients for these skin rashes include organic oils of argan, jojoba, sweet almond, and tea tree, as well as evening primrose and borage. Apply to the rash as required.

Cuppa joe

Research published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science found that, in men, a topical application of caffeine helped to prevent moisture loss from the skin. Look for an extra jolt of caffeine in your moisturizer to tame those wrinkles.

Real men check it out

Make note of cuts that don’t heal, and check your moles once a month based on the first four letters of the alphabet:

  • A. Asymmetry—the two halves of the mole are not identical
  • B. Borders—irregular or indistinct edges
  • C. Colour changes
  • D. Diameter—change in size

Report any of the above, and be sure to tell your health practitioner about any mole that bleeds, itches, or suddenly appears and grows rapidly.

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