Acne Treatment for Men

While many men believe skin care is for "sissies," the advent of television shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and the gender-neutral "metrosexual" lifestyle have made it easier for even the most macho man to come forward and seek help. Dermatologists are noticing more men in their appointment books, as "average Joes" express an interest in maintaining healthy skin.

"While men are increasingly more motivated to take care of their skin, they generally will not comply with complicated or time-consuming routines," reports Dr. Christopher B. Harmon. "The key to skin care for men is to create a simple, daily program that is high on results and low on maintenance."

Dr. Harmon offers the following no-fuss regimen:

  • . Wash the face once a day using a cleanser appropriate for your specific skin type (dry, normal, oily). He recommends a mild, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free cleanser for men with fair complexions, blond hair and blue eyes. This is also a best bet for men with sensitive skin that becomes easily irritated. But if you have oily and acne-prone skin, use a more drying cleanser, such as one containing alcohol to dissolve excess skin oil. You can also opt for plain soap and water.
  • . Since your skin is prone to breakouts, avoid moisturizers-or select one that is designed for oily skin.
  • . Use a topical retinoid at bedtime to halt breakouts and sop up extra oil. Daily use of retinoids helps minimize fine lines and may even protect against skin cancer by promoting cell turnover and eliminating pre-cancerous, sun-damaged cells.

"Retinoids are very effective in reducing the appearance of sun spots and aging," Dr. Harmon says. "However, products containing retinoids may be drying and increase the chance of skin flaking and redness."

If your over-the-counter retinoid isn't doing the trick, see a dermatologist for a prescription.

"Effective skin care doesn't have to be time-consuming or fussy," Dr. Harmon emphasizes. "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."

A Close Shave

Once a young man begins to shave, razors can nick acne lesions and create problems. Boys must learn how to shave properly, and it's ironic that no one ever teaches them how to do so. There are no Norman Rockwell-type moments where Dad takes his son into the bathroom and says, "Here's your first razor. Here's how to use it." Instead, most boys will simply pick up a razor and start shaving, usually in the wrong direction and much too aggressively. When acne is present, they can nick lesions and expose themselves to infection.

Razors need to be changed frequently so that bacteria cannot build up and blades remain sharp.

Skin Savvy

There has been an explosion of acne treatment for men products in the marketplace-and it is no longer odd to find men at the cosmetics counter. Men make appointments for facials, have masks applied and undergo blackhead extractions. Consider them enlightened. (It certainly took a long time.)

As men grow older, their acne tends to dissipate more quickly than in women. This is largely due to stable hormonal activity. Testosterone levels seem to remain constant after puberty, which means men will not have the volatile skin eruptions and flare-ups that women face on a monthly basis as they menstruate and move toward menopause.

The type of acne men suffer from, however, can be more severe. Men may be more likely to develop cysts and scars. Men also cannot wear the same types of concealers, foundations and makeup that women routinely use to cover their blemishes, so they may try to hide their lesions with facial hair.

In general, men hate going to the doctor and will do so only when they're at death's door. Often, it will be a girlfriend or wife who convinces a man to seek a dermatologist's care. If you are a man who is reading this book, realize that dermatologists see men like yourself every single day. There is no stigma associated with acne at any age. It is so prevalent that it has practically become a cliché. The difference is that men are more reluctant to talk about their feelings and to dismiss the emotional aspects of the condition.

They also dismiss acne as a "teenage" problem, assuming that any lesions on their face, as they enter their 20s and 30s, couldn't possibly be acne. In truth, they may very well have acne and not realize it. Luckily, acne in men is extremely treatable, and most men will respond well.

According to Fort Collins, Colorado-based spa consultant and esthetician Melinda Minton, who has many male clients, men want to feel just as sexy as women do.

"If you don't 'mess' with your skin, no woman will want to, either," Minton says. "Not to mention that a well-groomed man is more apt to be promoted in the corporate world."

The good news? Minton says men are now flocking to salons and spas for skin treatments.

"Men now make up 36% of all spa goers," she says. "Skin care for men is the single fastest-growing category of beauty products. Male-only spas make up roughly 40% of my consulting business at the moment."

Now that they have "caught on," Minton says, men:

  • Notice a difference
  • Are glad they have taken the time to learn more and start a skin-care routine
  • Feel better about themselves
  • Do better in their professional lives, courtesy of a more refined and healthy image

"Amen!" exclaims Minton.

Approximately 10% of salon owner Susie Galvez's clients are male-a statistic that mirrors most salons' and spas' business demographics.

"More men are coming into my spa for facials," she shares. "It used to be mostly massages, but now a lot of them are getting facials. In fact, we added a 'gentleman's facial' to our menu. It is basically the same as our most requested European facial, but we have designed it based on a man's needs-for example, the beard area, where the skin is of a different texture.

"I would have to say that men are realizing that their face is their calling card," Galvez continues. "Looking good is very important, and in this tight job market, most resumes look the same. It is the look of the candidate that oftentimes determines the job placement."


Home | Contact Us

All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2006