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Recently I was checking my Alexa blog stats, and was surprised to find that 40% of my readers are male. (Who knew?) Considering that my boyfriend and my father can only visit the site so many times, I figured I would bid adieu to the cosmetics for a day and make a guy-friendly post.
So what do men need to know about skin care? Here are some of the basics:
1. Shaving keeps your skin exfoliated.
Daily shaving sloughs off dried skin cells from the epidermis, the upper layer of the skin. This has several beneficial effects, including enhanced rates of cell turnover, increased skin brightness, as well as a smoother surface for application of sunscreen and moisturizers. For the best shave, MSNBC reports that the old-fashioned “wet shave” is actually the most effective, which is simply keeping your face wet with plenty of hot water before, and during, the entire shave.
2. Testosterone may keep your skin firmer longer.
Although more women over 40 believe they look younger than their age, science tells us that DHEA, a testosterone precursor found in higher levels in men than women, may help build collagen and prevent the breakdown of collagen by matrix metalloproteinases. Although the study, which was published in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology in 2005, applied the DHEA in culture (in vitro), it is suspected that naturally-circulating levels of DHEA in the skin may have the same effect. Further studies have also shown that a combination of ostradiol and testosterone replacement therapy in post-menopausal women improves the type III collagen content of the skin.
3. Extra testosterone contributes to baldness.
Being from Pittsburgh, my male friends often prized testosterone-fueled tailgating, hootin’, hollerin’, and good ol’ pro-Steelers anti-anyone else banter. Unfortunately, the same testosterone that drives some of those activities also causes men to more commonly lose their hair than women. Testosterone is converted to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. It is the DHT that has an adverse affect on the hair follicles, slowing hair production, resulting in weak, shorter hair, and sometimes ceased hair growth entirely. For this reason, even though age-related depleted levels of testosterone are associated with detrimental effects, it is not wise to supplement with testosterone precursors without speaking to your physician.
4. Men need skin care too.
Although it was considered “girly” just a few years ago, something happened that made men realize they need proper skin care too (More product availability? Axe commercials? Ryan Seacrest?). The truth of the matter is, the skin needs proper care, hydration, and protection from the sun, regardless of gender.
Men’s skin care has come a long way, though I suspect it will become an even bigger market over the next few years. Here are a few of my favorite skin care lines for men:
- Alfred and Hoff. It’s luxurious, with a slew of excellent ingredients (antioxidants and sunscreen, plus sirtuin-activating complex). The line consists of 7 products, including the can’t-miss moisturizer with SPF, serum, eye cream, and the company’s brand-new microdermabrasion product. I really love the microdermabrasion product – it’s very effective, yet unique in the men’s market – but be careful not to use it immediately after shaving. (If you shave in the morning, use the microdermabrasion scrub at night). It’s my personal favorite, probably because my boyfriend uses it, but oh well. 0:-)
- Anthony: Logistics for Men. I like this line because its products feature a lot of proven-effective ingredients. Some can’t-miss products include the Glycolic Acid Cleanser, Vitamin C Serum, Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15, and Vitamin A Moisturizer (for night).
- ZIRH. This fashionable skin care line (see photo at top of post) runs the gamut from the tried-and-true to the unusual (herbal eye cream?). That said,there are some excellent products in this line, including the Alpha Hydroxy Face Wash and the Defend Moisturizer SPF 15.
- Kinerase. Although this line is not marketed for men (Courtney Cox is a current spokeswoman), it is excellent for sensitive skin that are not able to tolerate alpha hydroxy acids (i.e., glycolic acid) or retinoids (i.e., vitamin A). Although it is not often discussed, men can have sensitive skin and experience irritation from using too many harsh products. As such, if you are a man who has had such experiences with skin care, perhaps Kinerase is a good option for you. (As always, speak to your dermatologist).