Men's skin needs care too
Men's skin is more tolerant and rugged than women's - but still needs care. Photo: Marco Del Grande
Men's skin is generally more tolerant and rugged than women's, but men still need regular treatments, including moisturisers and lotions.
When it comes to product selection, they can quickly feel overwhelmed. There are moisturisers for the face, gels for the eyes and body lotions. How many different products does a man really need? Are soap and water good enough?
Elena Helfenbein, a beauty expert with a Berlin-based cosmetics association, says skin care is an important area for men.
"Having a dressing table full of cosmetics is no longer an expression of a feminine streak, rather it is a sign of ambition, motivation and a modern approach to clean living."
The following tips help men with personal hygiene from head to toe.
Total personal hygiene starts with the hair. "Some men like to refuse additional hair care. Others worry that conditioners will make their hair too soft for styling with gel or wax," said Jenny Pohl, a spokeswoman for the German association of manufacturers and sellers of medicine, health foods, health supplements and personal care products. Men who try a hair treatment for the first time often change their opinion. Leave-in conditioners are especially popular, Pohl said.
"Because a man's skin is different from a women's, he shouldn't simply dip into and use her facial creams," said Heike M Falkenstein, a cosmetician in Germany. "Special men's skin care products are more suitable for men." Pohl added that skin care products to reduce wrinkles should moisturise the skin and contain little oil. The cream also should have UV protection especially because a man's risk of getting skin cancer is three times higher than a woman's.
A toner is also recommended, but men should spray it on or use their hands to pat it onto their face the way they put on aftershave. These are better ways to apply toner than using a cotton pad because it can get caught in stubble, said Pohl.
Helfenbein said a peeling is also good for a man's face. Some men like using a small appliance for peelings because they like operating the device. Others don't care for them because they can be uncomfortable over their facial hair.
Before a wet shave Pohl recommends a fat-free gel or light-fat emulsion. Ingredients such as aloe vera, calendula, hamamelis or camomile have an anti-inflammatory effect. An aftershave or lotion with or without alcohol is recommended after shaving. These products relax and disinfect the skin and close the pores.
Falkenstein said in the summer men should use a light moisturising body lotion. A richer body lotion can be applied in the winter. Helfenbein said body creams or body butter often contain too many lipids for men's skin. Therefore men prefer refreshing lotions with a fresh or masculine scent. As a rule floral fragrances aren't well received by men.
To add the finishing touch to a man's personal care routine the focus turns to the nails. Falkenstein recommends a pedicure every two weeks to remove calluses and trim the toenails. Salicylic acid removes calluses and prevents scars. Men can also consider polishing their fingernails, a practice that is no longer taboo. Clear polish leaves the nails looking well groomed and shiny, which can be particularly desirable for businessmen.
Because men's epidermis has more layers of cells and the dermis has more collagen than women's skin, men's skin is about 20 per cent thicker, said Birgit Huber of the industry association for personal hygiene and wash products in Germany.
"Men's skin has a higher relief, is robuster and it can better tolerate environmental factors such as sun and dry air from air-conditioning systems," said Huber. However, they still must look after their skin and Huber noted that they can be very choosy. Men want cosmetics that provide immediate effects and clearly definable goals, said Huber.
"They reject having a lot of products," she added. "Practical, uncomplicated and fast-working is what the products should be. For example, a shower gel for skin and hair and an aftershave that also offers care for the day."
Pohl recommends products with natural ingredients. Mineral oils, silicon and similar ingredients have no business on men's skin.
More grooming articles here.