Skin care for guys goes beyond vanity
In the U.S., white men over the age of 50 make up the majority of deadly melanoma cases, outranking prostate and lung cancer
No other organ would stand for this kind of abuse.
Men cut it, scrape it, sunburn it and generally abuse it every day. But skin -- our custom-made suit of armour and the body's largest organ -- quietly protects our insides from the nasty outside world.
Skin isn't a drama queen like other organs. It doesn't beat fast or have sudden life-ending attacks. But dermatologists say protecting the skin is key to staying healthy and looking young throughout your life.
That means it's time to give up on that weather-beaten look men have sported for centuries as a sign of ruggedness. The leathery neck and crease-checkered face is out.
Dr. Paul Cohen, a Toronto dermatologist, says men should become more conscientious about their skin.
Thankfully, skin care is finally becoming socially acceptable for men. In a recent issue, the men's magazine Details ran an article on how to pull off a fake tan so you can get that "healthy glow" without having to bake under the sun.
Old Spice is trying to entice men to start using its body wash line by packaging it in a bottle covered by a photo of macho NASCAR driver Tony Stewart and the NASCAR logo.
Salons and spas now offer many skin care products for men. Before you mutiny on the grounds that you don't want your bathroom counter filled with bottles that scream "I am girlie-man," read on. Cohen gives the goods on drugstore skin care products that protect your skin and keep you looking your best.
It only takes a few minutes a day to give your skin a fighting chance against the harsh sun, wind and airborne grime.
In the U.S., white men over the age of 50 make up the majority of deadly skin cancer melanoma cases, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Skin cancer also outranks prostate cancer and lung cancer as the most common cancer diagnosis in men over 50.
Cohen thinks he knows why.
"Men just frankly don't pay as much attention to precancerous spots on their skin as women," he says.
These statistics make the case for daily sunscreen use, according to Cohen. Men should opt for skin-care products that offer at least a Sun Protection Factor of 15. Many sunscreens are now available in spray-on forms, such as Neutrogena's Ultra Sheer Spray SPF 30, 45, or 60 ($15.99).
He also strongly recommends every man use a mirror or a partner to check his skin each month for precancerous spots. Pay special attention to your back, which is the most common place for men to develop skin cancer.
A man's face is usually oilier than a woman's.
Cohen recommends using a daily facial moisturizer with SPF 15. Any moisturizer in these companies' men's care lines are tailored to work on a man's oily face.
But below the neck, men's skin isn't all that different from women's. Use a gentle soap in the shower and apply a moisturizing lotion as soon as you towel off to lock in your skin's natural moisture.
Many moisturizers come in an easily applied spray form and include sunblock.
Regardless of which moisturizer you choose, apply it at every morning and night.
This isn't just for vain men.
Exfoliation helps remove abnormal cells that can become precancerous. Shaving acts as a natural exfoliant for the face, but Cohen says men with oily or acne-prone skin may need a chemical cleanser to remove hair and skin cells from their neck and body.
Try the Healing Cream by POMEGA5, or Neutrogena's salicylic acid cleanser ($10.99), to help prevent uncomfortable ingrown hairs.
Unless your skin is sensitive, look for a chemical exfoliant enriched with vitamin C or other antioxidants.
Guys with sensitive skin should avoid cleansers with exfoliant in them. Instead, opt for Active C moisturizer.
It takes only one red splotch to evoke memories of our acne-ridden teenage years.
But even after our hormones have settled, men are prone to acne rosacea. Triggered by such factors as sun, stress and alcohol, this condition can make your skin red and pus-filled.
Unlike other forms of acne, rosacea doesn't typically cause blackheads.
Behind the counter cleansers with benzoyl peroxide, which kills the bacteria in the acne, are the most effective. Try Benzaclin topical gel with five per cent benzoyl peroxide for oily or acne-prone skin ($45.69). There are no parabes in POMEGA5 products.