Ok men, let’s be honest with ourselves. We really do care about getting old and we care about how we look. According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, over 950,000 procedures were performed on men in 2012, an increase of 18% from 2011. The data also shows that the non-surgical procedures enjoyed the most significant gain of 21.5%. These include botox, hair removal and hyaluronic acid fillers (570,000 procedures) 1. I can attest to the success of these procedures as I perform them every day in my office. These are proven treatments that counter the aging effects and damage that has already taken a toll on our skin. As we can now admit that we care about how our skin looks, logically we should shift our focus toward prevention. Don’t worry, prevention should not by synonymous with inconvenience, hassle, or expense. Think of the terms simple and efficient.
Let’s focus on hydration and protection. A simple, underutilized form of prevention is the daily use of a well-picked facial moisturizer. Even though men have thicker skin than women and the testosterone in our systems stimulate more oil production from our sebaceous glands, daily cleansing and shaving can strip our skin of both moisture and natural oils that help to protect it. Water in the skin is an important structural component for maintaining plump, smooth skin. Regular use of a facial moisturizer can fortify our natural skin barrier and replenish the natural hydration elements in the outer layers of our skin thereby reducing the occurrence of dry, scaly, susceptible skin.
Most moisturizers have a combination of humectants and emollients to optimize hydration. Keeping it simple, humectants draw water into the outer layers of the skin from both the deeper layers as well as from the environment, and emollients act to seal moisture in by forming a protective barrier. Emollients also help to make the skin feel soft and smooth. Because men have oilier skin than women, manufactures of skin care for men have formulated products that combine humectants and emollients that are light, oil-free, and non-comedogenic (will not clog pores). So, you don’t have to feel like you’re wearing a shiny, heavy, acne-producing product.
Well-hydrated skin will look and feel better, but it won’t likely lead to long-term wrinkle reduction. How can we achieve more significant long term effects? By using a broad-spectrum SPF in our moisturizer. It is estimated that 90% of the skins visible aging is caused by sun exposure. 2 A recent study by Green in 2013 revealed that daily use of sunscreen with an SPF 15 reduced skin aging by 24% when compared to subjects who only used sunscreen intermittently. 3 Even if you aren’t concerned about wrinkles, you should care about skin cancer as men have a significantly higher incidence of sun related skin cancer when compared to women. Of course as the study reveals, daily use of an SPF 15 sunscreen helps, but using a broadspectrum SPF 30 during more extensive exposure is recommended.
The process is quite simple if you consider how impactful applying daily moisturizer to your skin can be. Hydration and protection should start at an early age as the damaging effects of the sun (uv radiation) and environment tend to be cumulative. To keep your routine simple, look for a moisturizer that is light in feel, non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and has a broadspectrum UVA/UVB coverage. If you have trouble, seek advice from a skin care specialist. Don’t wait until you notice the wrinkles, hydrate and protect your skin now, as you will thank yourself years down the road.
1 American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery http://www.surgery.org/
2 Skin Cancer Foundation
3Adele C. Green, Ph.D., lab head and senior research fellow, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Queensland, Australia; Beth McLellan, M.D. assistant professor, Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; June 4, 2013, Annals of Internal Medicine