Your face is the first thing others see – but every time you leave the house, your skin is on the front line, exposed to sunlight, wind and pollutants. Just like women, men want to look their best; however, they may be their own worst enemies when it comes to protecting their skin, says Kim Nixon, Canyon Ranch in Tucson Skin Care trainer.
Dryness, flakiness, fine lines and sun-damaged skin can be remedied or avoided, she says. “You need to feed your skin just like you feed your body. What we take as normal aging is actually a deficiency of vitamins and other vital nutrients. It’s never too late to take care of your skin.”
Skin care needn’t be complex or time-consuming. Your skin’s basic needs are few – cleanse, nourish and protect – and meeting them may be as simple as using more effective products.
Shave & splash
“Because men shave, they’re exfoliating every day,” says Kim. In other words, you constantly scrape off the top layer of your facial skin. Use a shaving lotion, cream or oil, then use a toner. Avoid alcohol-based products, which cause dryness. If razor rash is a problem, a toner containing tea tree oil, a natural antiseptic, is beneficial, as well as lactic acid and niacinamide.
Ready for the outdoors
After washing and shaving, use a moisturizer containing a broad-spectrum sunblock with at least 30 spf, or sun protection factor. The key ingredient should be vitamin A, along with vitamin C and antioxidants to protect your skin from aging and keep it healthy. A good moisturizer may also offer resveratrol, green tea, lycopene, lutein and vitamin E.
“Guys like a lighter weight moisturizer,” Kim says. “Moisturizing gel is ideal.”
If your moisturizer doesn’t include sunscreen, smooth some on before heading outside. After moisturizing, men can go one step further and apply eye cream to combat fine lines and wrinkles, she adds. “At night, always wash your face, and, ideally, apply multivitamin cream again.”
Skin care products are available in most men’s lines, either in a salon or the skin care aisle in your local drug store or department store.
Soap versus cleansing gel
“Most guys use soap on their faces,” says Kim, “but many soaps contain detergents, which dry the skin and make it feel tight. If your soap foams a lot, chances are it has a lot of detergent.” The active ingredient making those harmful suds is sodium lauryl sulfate. Switching to a cleansing gel or cream protects the skin and keeps it from drying. Look for a product that’s pH-balanced. Positive ingredients and words to look for on the label: cleansing cream, gentle, sensitive skin, almond milk, coconut milk.
Keep it simple
Skin care should be hassle-free, says Kim – or, let’s face it, who’s going to bother? “All you need is a cleansing gel you can use in the shower, followed by a vitamin-rich moisturizer and sunscreen, and you’re good to enjoy the outdoors. If sunscreen sounds like an unnecessary extra, think of the sun not as that smiley, cartoon face on cereal packages, but as a giant ball of radiation that presents real danger. If you’re playing golf or tennis or going skiing, put on sunscreen or wear a hat."