Skin care, Beauty, Cosmetics, Make Up, these words are usually associated with femininity which is why most men have a hard time wrapping their heads around the fact that these words are very much relevant for them too. While we have all heard of the cool sounding term “metrosexual”, I find an extreme lack of awareness among many men about how they should take care of their skin, how they should combat skin problems and what kind of products they should be using. Its almost like some men feel ashamed of talking about cosmetics, for the fear of being laughed at just because that is how our society has been so far, associating these issues with women only. But your skin needs love and care regardless of your gender. So here are some basic skin care tips for men and I hope this is helpful for you.
The difference between skins of Men and Women.
To be fair, there is not much of a difference between the skin of men and women. The reason why men are projected as having tough or hard skin is only because men shave on a daily basis and have more facial and body hair than women. That makes their skin feel thicker than women. But I have seen some men with the most soft and delicate skin types too. So all those ads you see that begin with the line “men have tough skin so they need tough products”are basically lying to you. The texture of skin depends upon your genes, and then how well you care for it. For example, if a man and woman with similar skin would walk on stones every day, their feet would harden and heels would crack at nearly the same rate.
The importance of skin care.
Our skin is the largest organ of our body and it is essential to keep your skin healthy for so many reasons. Our skin has pores through which the body secrets natural oils for hydration. But variable factors such as pollution, sunlight and UV rays, harsh weather, clothing, etc can lead to loss of essential moisture, which is why using moisturizers daily is highly recommended by dermatologists around the world. Neglecting your skin, keeping it dirty, and not giving it enough moisture may lead to serious issues such as dryness which accelerates the ageing process, comodones, blackheads, rashes, flakiness, and extreme neglect can also lead to diseases such as psoriasis and eczema. So here is what you can do to keep your skin clean and healthy.
Know your skin type – Test your skin first thing in the morning ; Touch your face with your finger tips. If your skin feels neither too oily nor too dry, then you have normal skin. If you have a slightly greasy, oily nose and forehead but your cheeks feel drier, then you have combination skin. If your skin feels tight and you see it that it tends to crack or peel in some areas like around the lips, then you probably have dry skin. And finally if your face feels oily in the morning and you tend to break out easily, then you have oily skin. Sensitive skin is a condition that can happen to any skin type wherein a person tends to develop acne, rashes or just feel a burning sensation upon using chemical based cosmetics or products. A visit to a dermatologist for a skin analysis should do no harm and I feel every one, men, women alike should do this once a year at least.
The reason why you need to judge your skin type is so that you can use the right methods and products based on your skin type for your skincare routine.
Develop a skin care routine – I know the word “routine” sounds intimidating, but your routine need not be a complicated one. The skin is a very responsive organ and tends to get habituated with routines and reacts accordingly. If you have a fixed skin care regimen, your skin will understand and gradually respond in a positive way, as long as you are maintaining discipline and using good products. Here is a very easy and basic routine you can follow if you have no previous experience with skin care.
- Wash your face twice daily with a good face wash that suits your skin type. Its always mentioned on the package of the face wash. I recommend the Clean and Clear face wash for combination to oily skin. For dry to normal skin, you can use a Neem Tulsi Facewash from Himalaya or Patanjali. You should also splash water on your face a few times through the day just to keep it clean and fresh.
- Smell Good – When showering, use soap or body wash every day. This cleans your skin and helps fight body odor. Follow up with a roll on deodorant on your underarms as that will prevent that sweaty smell. Use a good perfume or deo spray on your clothes and avoid spraying directly on your skin as fragrances contain alcohol which is not good for direct contact with your skin.
- Exfoliate – Our skin is constantly shedding dead cells, some of which remain on the surface of the skin and overtime if they are not exfoliated, can make you develop acne, blackheads, spots and dryness. It is important to exfoliate your skin. Once a week, use a face scrub that suits your skin type. The Body Shop has some all natural, chemical and cruelty free scrubs. For a more affordable alternate, you can use the Multani Mitti Soap from Patanjali which I swear by. A monthly visit to your salon for a face clean up works wonders.
- Shave well – Use good quality shaving tools. Good quality does not necessarily mean expensive. You shaving cream should be from a trusted brand. Vicco’s shaving cream is an Ayurvedic cream and I have seen my father and brother use it extensively and seems to be working very well for them. A shaving brush is very helpful to not just create a good amount of lather for your razor to glide across the face, but it also stimulates the roots of you facial hair which tends to wake them up and that helps in achieving a closer, neater shave. So even if you are using shaving foam, follow it up with a few good strokes of the brush. Single blade razors are very abrasive to the skin and you should completely avoid them. Invest in a good razor like the Gillette Mach 3 Turbo which has three blades and is easy to glide across and you will seldom cut yourself with it. It is ideal for those with acne prone or sensitive skin. (I personally use the Mach 3 for my body hair removal and its a brilliant razor). A good after shave is extremely important as it works as an antiseptic.
- Moisturize – No matter what your skin type is, always use a good moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated. This is the first thing you should do once you are out of the shower, or have just exfoliated. For dry to normal skin, I would recommend Johnson’s baby cream or good old Boroline. For combination to oily skin, Aloe Vera Gel works very well.
- Wear sunscreen – This is crucial. Due to pollution, UV rays, sun exposure, and long hours on the phone, laptop or computer, your skin may get tanned, but on a more serious note, you may even develop sun burns and skin cancers if you don’t protect your skin from the sun and radiation from gadgets. Never leave home without applying sunscreen on your face. You can either use a moisturizer that contains an SPF of 30 or above, or use a sunscreen or sun block after applying moisturizer, like the Neutrogena dry touch sunblock with SPF 50. For those who are frequent bike riders, please wear gloves to protect your knuckles, and either full sleeve clothing or add on sock sleeves to protect the skin of your arms from sun damage. Always wear sunglasses when you go out during the day. The area around your eyes is the most delicate part of your facial skin and tends to get sun damaged very easily, resulting in under eye dark circles, eye bags and crows feet.
- Eat Healthy and stay hydrated – No matter how much you take care of your skin from the outside, if your diet is unbalanced and you don’t drink enough water, then your skin will remain dull and susceptible to acne, pigmentation, dryness and premature ageing. So, drink at least 3 litres of water every day, try to eat ateast one fruit and one bowl of homemade vegetable curry daily, include nuts like almonds in your diet. Yogurt is your skin’s best friend so a daily glass of lassi, chhass or one cup homemade dahi/raita is essential. Omega -3 fatty acids are very useful to achieve glowing, healthy skin and are abundantly found in walnuts, flax seeds and fish for those who are non vegetarians. While it is okay to indulge in your favorite food, limit your intake of oily, spicy and fast food to once a week.
- Exercise – By exercising , your blood flow increases, hence nutrients and oxygen are evenly distributed throughout your body and they nourish your skin cells. Sweating is a form of cleansing mechanism of the body where your sweat clears out collected oils, dead cells and gunk from the pores on its way out. A daily jog, free hand exercise or an hour at the gym is recommended.
- Make Up for men – No, I’m not kidding. Make up is as much for men as it is for women. It is okay if you want to use a little foundation or concealor to hide your dark circles, scars, pigmentation and even out your skin tone. Men are embracing make up now more than ever before which I think is great. Don’t be afraid to walk in to any make up store and ask for a foundation or concealor for yourself. Consult the sales person who will help you out with the correct shade of product that is suitable for your skin. The MAC studio fix powder foundation a foolproof product which is easy to use but it is expensive. You can also use a BB cream or the Loreal infallible powder foundation as these are easier on the pocket.
While I always recommend using natural products which are less on harsh chemical ingredients, you can use products designed for men as well, just make sure you are using products from reputed, trustworthy brands.
Don’t be ashamed to take care of yourself. Your skin, your face not only belongs to you but is also your responsibility. Take good care of it. Don’t stress, don’t drink or smoke excessively and most importantly, love yourself!
Featured image source – http://www.thehealthsite.com