With summer upon us, Nicole Johnson is concerned about the largest organ on your body.
Men, summer is officially here! With this declaration I would like to ask you an important question: are you taking care of your skin?
A couple of weeks ago, I asked my husband, Rob, this exact question. Rob is passionate about the outdoors, especially in the summertime. His enthusiasm for golf, gardening, grilling, boating, carpentry, landscaping, the beach, Fenway Park, etc. keeps him (and his skin) susceptible to the elements.
Rob’s response to my skin care question caught me off guard. He casually responded with, “I don’t know, Nicole; I think so. What do you think I should be doing?” As Rob’s question floated in the air, I thought about how I pride myself on not being a nagging wife. (I consider myself to be a loving, caring, concerned wife, but definitely not a nag!) Yes, I’m overprotective when it comes to my husband’s health, and yes, I tend to overemphasize issues pertaining to healthcare. However, I didn’t want to badger Rob about his summer skin care routine. I told him sunscreen and moisturizer were imperative, but I would get an expert opinion to confirm any other pertinent details I might be missing.
My quest to find an expert on men’s skin care led me to renowned dermatologist, Dr. Jeffrey Benabio. Not only is Dr. Benabio a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, he is also a medical advisor for Dove Men + Care. Given that I’m a brand loyalist to Dove skin care products for women, I was thrilled to talk to a doctor who represents and advises Dove products from a medical standpoint.
Dr. Benabio was kind enough to provide me with information on proper skin care for men in the summertime, as well as year-round maintenance. He graciously answered an array of questions, and also assuaged my concerns about skin cancer screenings.
Nicole Johnson: Men’s skin is different from women’s skin. What are the anatomical differences?
Dr. Benabio: Yes, men’s skin is thicker and has a higher density of sebaceous (sweat) glands. This is exactly why Dove has developed a line of products specifically for men.
Nicole: How should men be caring for their skin on a daily basis? What do you recommend for a morning and nightly routine?
Dr. Benabio: Men should be sure that they are cleansing and protecting their skin on a daily basis. This means using products that not only clean your skin, but also provide skin care benefits such as moisturization. Dove Men + Care Body & Face Wash and deodorants are great because they have skin care built in.
For a morning routine I would recommend shaving after a hot shower and applying sunscreen or an aftershave with sunscreen built in to help soothe any irritation and protect from the sun.
In the evening before bed men should exfoliate with a body wash like Dove Men + Care’s Deep Clean Body and Face wash with purifying grains, which removes the impurities and dead skin from the body. Try this with the Dove Men + Care Active Shower Tool for an even better scrub.
Nicole: What can men do to their facial skin to consistently get a great shave?
Dr. Benabio: It’s important to begin shaving right after a hot shower, as the heat helps to open pores and soften the hair, making for a smoother shave. I’d suggest applying shaving cream with a badger brush and letting the cream sit for a few minutes to help soften and lift the hairs. Begin shaving in the direction of the hairs as going against the grain can cause ingrown hairs and irritation. Start with the cheeks, then the chin and lastly the upper and lower lip, as those areas have the thickest hair. Finally rinse with cool water to tighten the skin and reduce any redness or irritation.
Nicole: If a man has sensitive skin, what type of skin care regime do you recommend?
Dr. Benabio: Oftentimes men with sensitive skin think that fragrance will cause irritation, but the irritation actually comes from regular soaps as they are harsh and often strip skin of its natural oils. It’s important for men with sensitive skin to choose products that are healthy for their skin and provide moisture. I would recommend trying Dove Men + Care’s Sensitive Clean Body and Face Wash. It is a hypoallergenic and pH neutral cleansing gel without dyes or fragrances for men prone to skin irritations.
Nicole: What is your treatment plan for men with acne prone skin?
Dr. Benabio: Studies have shown that regular soaps can actually worsen acne, so it may be helpful for men to switch to products that are healthy for their skin, such as Dove Men + Care’s Clean Defense Body and Face Wash. This body and face wash provides the moisture skin needs to stay healthy but also contains oil balancing properties to help remove daily oil buildup and maintain skin balance. If changing your cleansing routine doesn’t help, I’d recommend trying products with active acne ingredients like benzoyl peroxide. Skin should begin to clear up within 2 – 3 months and if it does not, men should visit a dermatologist.
Nicole: Aside from antiperspirants and deodorants, what can men do to combat underarm odor and wetness?
Nicole: What can men do to their skin to prevent aging and wrinkles?
Dr. Benabio: The best way to prevent aging and wrinkles is to keep the skin moisturized, don’t smoke, use sunscreen and avoid the sun.
Nicole: Summer is upon us. How can men protect their skin from sun damage? What products do you recommend?
Dr. Benabio: The best way to stay protected from the sun is to apply SPF every couple of hours. I recommend using at least SPF 30 and looking for products with zinc or titanium. Other ingredients to look for are avobenzone and octocrylene. Also, keep in mind that re-application is more important than which product you are using!
Nicole: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The American Academy of Dermatology states that men over the age of 50 have a higher risk of developing skin cancer. How often should men be screened for skin cancer?
Dr. Benabio: This really depends on the man. A man who has a history of skin cancer or melanoma in his family – or has moles – should see a dermatologist at least yearly for a skin cancer screening. Others can have screenings with their general care physician on routine check-ups. However, if a man notices any new or unusual moles he should see his doctor immediately.
Photo courtesy Nicole Johnson