5 ways to achieve super male skin
Think beauty regimes are just plain girly? Man up, says Fiona Adams, and take male grooming on the chin
Shaving was once the beginning and end of a man’s ‘beauty’ regime. Male grooming at its most sophisticated consisted of a regular trip to the barber’s, a good scrub with soap and water and a dab of Eau de Cologne, if you were lucky. Real men did not ponce about with face wash, toner and moisturiser.
On the surface it would appear that those days are long gone. The male grooming market is beginning to boom, as men’s health magazines jostle for space with women’s glossies and beauty salons now count an increasing number of men amongst their customers. It is no longer taboo for the average bloke to hit the high street for those all-important beauty buys.
However, for every chap willing to embrace the idea of a beauty regime, there are plenty who simply aren’t. In fact, a brief survey of the male contingent in the office here revealed that humble shower gel was the product of choice for… well… pretty much everything. Mention of moisturiser was generally met with blank looks and a shake of the head, though one or two guys did confess to using post-shave balm.
Price, of course, plays a part, as does the bamboozling choice of products on offer, but it is the fact that most men do not see the necessity of a grooming regime that appears to be key.
Yet there are reasons aplenty as to why male skin needs some tender loving care – and raiding your partner’s no doubt huge collection is not the answer.
Male and female skin are quite different and need contrasting treatments. Men shave, which can have an abrasive effect, although male levels of testosterone mean that a man’s skin is about 25% thicker than a woman’s with a tougher texture. Men also produce more sebum, which can cause increased acne, but on the plus side they have a higher collagen density than women, so their skin appears to age at a slower rate. However, because most men don’t look after their skin, the difference becomes negligible.
Skin health expert Paul Banwell, Chief Medical Director of Skin Associates in London, gives here his best tips for healthy male skin. Combine these with our product recommendations, and there’s no longer any excuse – give in to your inner god and slap on that moisturiser.
You know it makes sense.
Paul Banwell’s five ways to super skin
1. One major difference between men and women’s skin is that men shave. Shaving damages the outer layer of the epidermis, which reduces skin barrier function and skin hydration. Use a high-quality shaving foam or gel and even more importantly invest in a top end moisturiser containing natural moisturising factors (NMFs) and anti-inflammatory agents such as aloe vera.
2. Get a good cleanser. Men sweat more and get dirtier skin – even more reason to make sure you wash your face properly.
But using soap (a detergent) can dry the skin and lead to flakiness. Instead, use a preparation with botanical cleansers and nourishing ceramides – it will replenish the skin’s intercellular lipids as it gently cleanses away surface impurities.
Your skin will feel supple and moist.
3. Get those antioxidants! Men need higher levels of antioxidants than women so it is vital to have a great diet but also to supplement this with topical serums containing antioxidants A,C and E.
4. Research shows that men tend to stay out in the sun longer, have more sunburn and use fewer protective measures than women and as such are more vulnerable to photodamage. Not only does that mean a high risk of skin cancer but it means we age quicker! Use a good quality SPF sun cream even if you are out biking or skiing.
5. Remember the aftershave to smell good for the other half…
US brand Jack Black caters to every need, from beard lube to energising scrub, cleanser, moisturiser,lip balm and shampoo. From £7,25. (020) 8398 9744 for stockists
Unisex Outback Organics is great for post-shaving. From £8.99; outbackorganics.co.uk
Kiehl’s Facial Fuel – a light moisturiser to combat ageing. £21; Bentalls, John Lewis, mankind.co.uk
Liz Earle offers a wide range of men’s products from face scrubs, to moisturisers, shampoo, suncare and travel kits. All smell delicious and are kind to skin. From £12.25; uk.lizearle.com or Liz Earle, Guildford
Bluebeards Revenge – serene shaving for bushy blokes. From £11.99; bluebeards-revenge.co.uk; mankind.co.uk
Green beauty award-winner Weleda offer ethical products from £7.95; from weleda.co.uk or natural health retailers