Acne Skin Care Tips for Men
The ongoing quest for healthy, acne-free skin is typically
considered a woman's pursuit. However, with the advent of the
"metrosexual," the gender lines are becoming more and more blurred when
it comes to what's male and what's female. Especially when it comes to
acne treatment. And yet, in spite of this evolution in personal care,
one thing that has not changed is men's desire to keep acne skin care
The key to skin care for men is to create a simple, daily anti-acne program that is high on results and low on maintenance.
STEP 1: Select an Appropriate Cleanser
to dermatologist Christopher B. Harmon, M.D., clinical instructor,
department of dermatology, University of Alabama, Birmingham, the first
step men should follow in a daily skin care routine is to wash their
skin once a day using a cleanser that is appropriate for acne skin
type. Mild, hypoallergenic cleansers that are fragrance-free are
generally good products for men with fair complexions, blonde hair and
blue eyes. These cleansers also work well for men with sensitive skin
that becomes easily irritated.
Men with oily skin should use more drying acne cleansers, such as
those containing alcohol, which dissolves the oil on the skin. Men with
oily skin also can use plain soap and water. Conversely, men with dry
skin should avoid astringents and any product with alcohol because they
easily strip away moisture from the skin.
STEP 2: Moisturize
Once skin is clean, the next step men should follow in a daily skin care
is to moisturize in order to hydrate the skin. For men, daily
moisturizers help maintain a balance between oiliness and dryness and
therefore play an important role in keeping skin healthy. However,
these moisturizers also should offer sun protection against harmful UVA
and UVB rays, as well as antioxidants to guard against free radicals in
the environment that can age the skin.
"All-in-one products are the key to simplifying this step for men,"
advised Dr. Harmon. "Men should look for moisturizers containing a
broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or
higher, as well as antioxidants in order to maximize the application's
benefits while avoiding the use of multiple products."
Dr. Harmon went on to say that individuals with oily skin do not
need the heavy oils found in some moisturizers and should use
moisturizers specifically designed for oily skin. Those with sensitive
skin should use moisturizers designed for this skin type because they
tend to be less abrasive and contain gentler, yet still effective,
STEP 3: Apply a Topical Retinoid
For most men, the final step in
a daily skin care routine is to apply a topical retinoid at bedtime to
decrease acne and oiliness, reduce the appearance of fine lines,
wrinkles and age spots, and help prevent the signs of aging. The daily
use of retinoids also may protect again future skin cancers by
promoting cell turnover and eliminating pre-cancerous, sun-damaged
"Retinoids are very effective in reducing the appearance of sun
spots and aging," said Dr. Harmon. "However, products containing
retinoids may be drying and increase the chance of skin flaking and
redness, so it's important to also use a moisturizer that contains
sunscreen in order to keep skin hydrated and combat the increased sun
sensitivity that is associated with these products."
While retinoid products (most commonly retinal) are available over
the counter (OTC), some men may need higher levels of retinoids than
what are available OTC in order to see results. Dr. Harmon commented
that prescription retinoid products have the greatest amount of
scientific data to support their effectiveness and contain retinoic
acid or tazarotene as the active ingredient.
According to Dr. Harmon, "Effective skin care doesn't have to be
time-consuming or fussy. Regardless of gender, if a person is having
difficulty figuring out the best way to care for his or her skin, my
advice is to work with a dermatologist who can help identify the best
skin care program for the individual skin type."