February 14, 2020
Hey fellas – If you’ve been skipping out on your skin care… it’s time we chat.
For many men, shaving is the extent of their routine. And, as common as that might be, it’s far from the only thing you should be doing to properly care for your complexion. Men too can reap the anti-aging, soothing, protective and balancing benefits that natural skin care has to offer!
But, just because your skin needs proper care doesn’t mean it should be difficult or time consuming. We’re all about keeping it as simple as possible for long-lasting results.
So.. it’s time we start talking about it! Scroll on as Shop Good Holistic Esthetician, Ashley, breaks down the 411 on all things male skin, and shares our Shop Good approved products that can leave your man (yup, we’re gonna say it) GLOWING for days on end.
First things first – is men’s skin *really* different than women’s?
The short answer is yes. Let’s dive in!
Men actually have thicker skin than women (25% to be exact), and similar to women, men’s skin thins with age. Men also have a higher collagen density than women (ugh, lucky.. am I right?) – which means men’s skin actually ages at a slower rate. Pause. Have you ever looked at your fine lines forming and thought to yourself, now why isn’t my husband getting these too? Men are more prone to the deep wrinkles that are caused by repeated facial expressions and tend to have fewer superficial fine lines thanks to their thicker skin.
Now, let’s talk testosterone. Androgens such as testosterone affect the thickness of the skin and how much sebum the skin’s sebaceous glands produce. Seeing as men have a whole shedload of testosterone, their skin is both thicker and oilier than women’s. And since more testosterone = more sebum production, men receive more skin-lubricating benefits, leading to excellent water barrier properties. What does this mean? Men tend to have luck in the hydration department too.
With all this said, men don’t exactly have it easy when it comes to their skin. Follow along as I break down some of the skin issues most commonly experienced by men.
You can have the smoothest razor and the best of the best natural shaving cream, but at some point, all men will probably deal with some form of post-shave irritation – whether it be in-growns or razor burn. It’s helpful to understand what’s actually going on underneath the skin here. Facial hair is largely propelled by testosterone. Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT – a byproduct of testosterone which is activated by an enzyme in the hair follicle’s gland) both play a role in beard growth. Testosterone preps the hair follicle with sebum and DHT promotes linear growth of the hair within the follicle (in other words, how fast your beard grows).
- Razor Bumps – Experiencing sore red bumps after shaving may look like acne… but it could actually be folliculitis – a.k.a razor bumps. This is a common occurrence when it comes to improper shaving or having more sensitive skin, both increasing the numbers of damaged follicles and/or ingrown hairs.
- Ingrown Hairs – Ingrowns are primarily caused by your razor. As the blades pass over your skin, it can irritate the base of the hair resulting in an inflamed pustule that then leads to an ingrown. Ingrowns can also happen when dead skin cells clog hair follicles, forcing the hair to grow at a different angle under the skin. In most cases, this problem improves on it’s own without treatment, but there is a chance the ingrown hair can become infected if not cared for properly.
- Paying attention to your shaving technique is key! We recommend switching from a multi-blade razor to a single or double-blade instead – the multi-blade razors could just be shaving too closely for your skin. Shave with the direction of hair growth and rinse your razor after each swipe. And, remember to change your blade after about 5 uses for reduced inflammation.
- Using a shave oil pre-shave helps protect your skin and softens your beard before you shave. This will facilitate the blade glides across the skin and thus, reduce irritation. My top pick for my male clients is Olio E Osso’s Shave Oil. This nutrient dense, yet light oil is formulated to help protect even the most sensitive parts of the skin from razor nicks and ingrown hairs. The end result? The softest and smoothest skin!
Hormonal differences in men and women play a determining role when it comes to what acne they are actually dealing with. When men first go through puberty, this is usually when they experience the worst stages of hormonal acne (thanks to the surge of testosterone their body is trying to handle). And, due to men having more androgen receptors in their oil glands, acne can be experienced all over the face, all over the back, and all over the neck – unlike women who tend to experience their hormonal acne along the jaw, chin, and cheeks. While hormonal acne could very well be a thing of the past for men, adult acne is real (especially for those with beards). Excess secretion of sebum in the sebaceous glands + bacteria = the perfect breeding ground for a fresh new zit.
While it is nice to use your S/O’s skincare every now and then, it may not always be best for you and your unique skin type. If you struggle from any of the above, investing in a regimen to treat your concerns will be in your skin’s favor in the long run, and more likely to keep these issues at bay.
Men’s Skin Musts: Here are the most important steps in a daily regimen, that men usually skimp on.
- Cleansing- Using a gentle cleanser is a great way to remove oil, dirt and bacteria – while softening hair follicles. Men’s skin responds really well to products with Salicylic Acid, which helps dissolve matter in blocked pores from the outside in. It’s so effective, it even works regardless if the congestion you’re dealing with is from acne, or from in-growns. My Product Pick: Botnia’s Daily Face Wash – This foaming cleanser will leave you feeling fresh without drying or stripping your skin. Willow bark extract (natural source of salicylic acid) will help fight acne while arnica and goldenseal extracts help take down inflammation and redness.
- Toning – A toner’s purpose is to balance oil levels and optimize pH levels of your skin. When your oil levels are in check, the next steps in your regimen will absorb more easily and work more effectively.My Product Pick: Ursa Major’s Essential Face Tonic – Reboot dull, tired, and oily skin with this ultimate one-step cleanser, exfoliator, soother, and hydrator. Containing both witch hazel and willow bark extract, this toner will help remove excess oil and grime while keeping the skin hydrated and supple with aloe vera. A plus – carry with you to the gym or a long day on the job for a quick refresh!
- Moisturizing – Properly moisturizing is the first step to clear skin. If our skin lacks moisture, it’s easy to loose that essential balance and cause more breakouts to appear. Keeping the skin moisturized also wards off premature skin aging and stops wrinkles from settling in, which is one of men’s most common skin concerns.My Product Pick: Berlin Skin’s Sandalwood Cream – This luxurious, but lightweight facial cream contains 3 different types of sandalwood, clearing and preventing breakouts with the help of turmeric and thyme. Jojoba oil and aloe vera soothe and lightly moisturize the skin.
- Exfoliating – Exfoliation a few times a week will gently remove dead skin cells, excess sebum and dirt that can be trapped in the pores. Using an exfoliator will turn over fresh skin cells, and allow your daily regimen to penetrate more deeply into the skin. Because of this, exfoliating on the reg can also help prevent ingrowns and acne. My Product Pick: Osea’s Black Algae Flash Mask – This 2-in-1 Mask will help gently exfoliate and detoxify the skin in minutes! Enzymes derived from fig, pineapple, and pumpkin gently exfoliate, reducing surface impurities, while Jojoba spheres provide a manual exfoliation for an immediate skin refresh.
- SPF – Last, but not least! Applying SPF on the daily is one of the most important things men can do to keep their skin healthy – it reduces the risk of any harmful impacts that the sun may have and supports healthy aging skin.My Product Pick: Ursa Major’s Daily Defense Lotion – This mattifying moisturizer with a broad-spectrum mineral sun protection will nourish your skin with essential vitamins and minerals while fighting visible signs of aging and providing sun protection. A plus, its a 2-in-1 so less steps in the AM!
Follow these few steps twice a day and the hard part’s over. Choosing the right skincare products for you can be as easy as trial and error – pop in to our shops to snag samples, and learn more about your unique skin type from our team of Product Experts and Holistic Estheticians!
Let’s finally debunk the stereotype that men don’t need to take care of their skin as well as women do! Men experience just as many skin issues as women do – and we hope you’re feeling confident and ready to take on your new regimen! We’re all about getting men excited about his nightly daily skin routine… just save some room for us on the bathroom vanity!