If you’re not monitoring the health of your skin, you’re doing it wrong.
Do you take care of your skin? If you do, great, but you can probably still do better. And if not, you should. A man’s skin is an important-if-overlooked part of self-maintenance. Our skin is different than women’s, so sneaking applications of whatever your wife has in the shower doesn’t cut it. And just using the same moisturizer you’ve had since college doesn’t make much sense, either. Our skin changes as we age and as our lifestyles change. So, our skincare regimens need to change, too.
With this in mind, we spoke to Doctor Jeffrey Benabio, a well-known and oft-published dermatologist, about the importance of skincare for men. We also talked about Dove Men + Care, the new line of men’s care products from Dove, and why they should be the next purchase you make for the shower and the medicine cabinet.
Why skin? What got a man like you interested in skin?
There are really two primary reasons for why I got into skin. The first is I had fantastic mentors at med school. The second half of med school was kind of like an apprenticeship. You work closely with doctors, and I had two fantastic guys who were in dermatology. So that was probably a big part of what started my initial interest in it.
The profession itself is pretty cool because, unlike most areas of medicine, we do surgery and medicine. We deal with kids and with adults, with men and with women. And most of the stuff that comes into us, we fix. With most other fields there are things you can’t do much for, like with chronic diseases. But so much of what comes in to us, whether it’s skin cancer or a rash, we can fix it. So it gives us that satisfaction.
What is unique about men’s skin that men might not know?
A couple things. We definitely sweat more than women. We kind of thought that, but I don’t know if everyone knew it was a fact. It’s kind of cool, actually, and it might relate to the fact that we’re hairier than women. See, the whole point of sweat is to lower your body temperature, and men and women have pretty much the same body temperature. It’s an important distinction.
The second part has to do with testosterone, and we’ve got different levels of oil on our skin than women. Younger men tend to be more oily than women, and older men tend to be drier than women. When we’re younger, our testosterone releases a lot more oil, and it’s why so many guys have problems with backne. And as you get older, that testosterone levels drops and we don’t release as much oil to moisturize the skin.
So there are three main differences: we sweat more; when we’re younger, we’ve got more oily skin, and when we’re older, we’ve got drier skin. All of this is important to know when you’re picking your skincare products. Dove Men + Care offers a number of products, catered toward today’s man and whatever his unique skincare needs may be.
What’s your number one tip for great skin?
The main thing is to start paying attention to your products. So many guys chose something a decade ago and are still using it because that’s just what happens to be in the shower or it just happens to be the deodorant you’ve always used. The important thing is to realize what’s happening to your skin, and whether or not that’s the right product for you. You need to start paying attention to things like “Is my skin oily or is it dry,” “Do I have underarm irritation or not?” and “Am I actually choosing the products that are best for me?”
Up until recently, I don’t think guys were paying attention to any of this, but it’s an important thing for them to do. And that’s where Dove Men + Care comes in. They’ve got a number of different body washes, deodorants, antiperspirants, and soaps for every situation. Whatever is happening with your skin, Dove Men + Care has a product that will be best for you.
Tell us about the combination of skin that is healthy, skin that looks good, and skin that feels good for men.
It comes down to moisturization. Skin that is moisturized is skin that’s healthy and skin’s that feels good. This is why Dove Men + Care is a fantastic product for guys. It is a body wash and face wash that’s proven to fight dryness. It will clean your skin and moisturize it from head to toe. It gives you everything you need for skin that looks good, skin that feels good, and skin that’s healthy.
Any specific tips for guys who play a lot of sports?
If you play a lot of sports, you have to get dry and stay dry. Wet skin is different than moisturized skin. Wet skin is actually unhealthy. It’s vulnerable to fungus and bacterial infections, so when you’re done working out, you can’t just say, “Oh, I’ll take a shower later.” You really have to get those wet clothes off, throw them in the wash, and put on something dry. About 50 percent of guys have trouble with that. It’s continued irritation, so they skip the antiperspirant, which is the worst thing they can do. So, Dove Men + Care antiperspirant, which is strong but doesn’t irritate, works great for them because they don’t have to worry about irritation.
When was the last time you cried?
It would have to be in med school, when I was covering the ICU in med school. Sometimes you just get totally overwhelmed and you’re thinking, Oh my god, I might’ve just done something to hasten someone’s death. It’s not the truth, but you feel like it is.
One of the unfortunate things about medicine is that we’re not allowed to cry. We’re the guys you come to and depend on to be steady and to support you. Through med school, you learn this way of dealing with problems. By the time you become a practicing position, it’s not that you’re cold, you’re just so well-trained to not go to that place that I don’t think we can.
—Photo Jayel Aheram/Flickr