Male Grooming Skin Care Guide

Male Grooming Skin Care Frequently Asked Questions

How is skin type determined?

Skin type generally falls into one of five categories: dry, normal, oily, sensitive or combination. The skin type you have is by and large hereditary and is determined by your amount of oil secretion. Environmental influences can tend to aggravate skin conditions, but the different areas in the skin that produce oil and the amounts of oil produced are based on genetics.

Is a man’s skin any different to a woman’s?

The basic structure of skin is the same although a man’s skin does tend to have a slightly thicker top layer (epidermis). Men also have stronger and thicker facial hair than women and generally produce more oil (sebum). This excess oil can block the pores and cause blackheads and spots if the skin is not kept clean. There is also the problem of in-growing hairs on the face and neck, caused when hairs grow back on themselves leaving nasty bumps or spots.A simple skin care routine will help to keep skin clean and healthy and will go a long way to preventing such problems.

What’s the best way to clean my skin?

The quickest and most thorough way to clean your skin is with a non-drying facial wash which will dissolve excess oils and remove dirt and grime. This is especially important if your skin is regularly exposed to pollution. Massage the facial wash onto wet skin and then work around your face paying special attention to the sides of the nose and the dip in the chin. Always rinse off thoroughly with running water. Use a Facial Wash before you shave in the morning and before you go to bed at night or whenever you skin is dirty.

What can I do about skin that’s shiny and oily?

The quickest and most thorough way to clean your skin is with a non-drying facial wash which will dissolve excess oils and remove dirt and grime. This is especially important if your skin is regularly exposed to pollution. Massage the facial wash onto wet skin and then work around your face paying special attention to the sides of the nose and the dip in the chin. Always rinse off thoroughly with running water. Use a Facial Wash before you shave in the morning and before you go to bed at night or whenever you skin is dirty.

How can I get rid of blackheads?

Blackheads are small plugs of oil (sebum) that are lodged in the pore and turn black. They are more common on the nose, chin and forehead but can appear anywhere. They can be kept under control by thorough cleansing twice daily and exfoliating at least twice a week. If they are quite large you can remove them with a tissue. Steam your face over a basin of hot water and then with tissue around your fingertips gently put pressure each side of the offending blackhead until it comes out. (never use too much pressure and avoid using fingernails or sharp instruments or you will cause scarring) Put anti-sceptic cream on the area to soothe and heal.

I get spots on my forehead and chin. How can I get rid of them?

Spotty skin is usually more common in teenagers but can carry on well into adulthood. Spots begin as tiny blackheads that come into contact with bacteria and become infected. They are best left alone as the infection can spread and the problem become worse. Clean skin thoroughly every day and avoid touching it with your fingers. Avoid using face clothes and keep towels clean and hygienic. Change your pillowcase regularly and avoid having a long fringe. Drink plenty of water and eat a healthy diet. Try a vitamin supplement to boost your resistance to infection. Use a gentle exfoliant and a face mask twice per week.

My skin goes very red and blotchy. Does this mean it’s sensitive?

Sensitive skin can be divided into two types. allergic and intolerant.
Allergic skin will react to harsh chemicals used in some shaving, skin or hair care products. It may also react to irritants in household, garden and industrial products as well as some foods and drink (including wine and beer!) When irritated the skin will go red and itchy. Always avoid harsh chemicals and look for products that are suited to sensitive skin.

Intolerant skin is usually fair and will burn in the sun. It will go red when touched and will be prone to looking ruddy and weathered when exposed to the elements. This skin type is prone to broken blood vessels and needs extra soothing and protection. Quite often sensitive skin is a combination of the two and extra care must be taken especially when shaving or when exposing to the elements.

Should I be using a scrub or exfoliator regularly?

These are the best products to instantly brighten and smooth your skin. A ‘scrub’ is a type of exfoliator which means it removes or ‘exfoliates’ dead cells from the surface of the skin. A face scrub is like a face wash but contains tiny particles that ‘polish’ the skin as you massage it. The particles can be made of anything from crushed shells or nuts to polythene beads. As you wash with the scrub it removes dead skin cells and debris revealing the smoother skin underneath. It will also help to release in-growing hairs and keep the skin really clean and healthy. Use once or twice a week but don’t rub too hard. If your skin is easily irritated by shaving you may want to use the scrub only on the areas you don’t shave.

Use a body scrub all over the body and a face scrub (usually with smaller particles) on the face and neck.

The skin under my eyes often looks puffy and swollen, what can I do?

This is normally due to fluid retention and looks worse first thing in the morning.
Use an eye gel to reduce the puffiness and firm the skin. Apply a little gel onto fingertips and massage lightly out from the bridge of the nose to the temples. (Do not drag the skin as it is very fragile here). This will help to dissipate fluid which has ‘pooled’ during the night.

You could also try a gel eye mask. Take out of the fridge and place over closed eyes. Relax for ten minutes to cool and calm revive the eye area.

I’ve noticed my skin looking older. How can I prevent lines and wrinkles?

There is no magical cure for ageing and prevention is always better than cure but you can do a lot to smooth the visible signs and keep wrinkles under control.

  • Moisturise and protect with a good quality lotion or cream even if your skin is oily. Keeping skin hydrated smoothes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Dry skin ages quickly and shows wrinkles more, so chose a slightly richer moisturiser. Use your moisturiser morning and night to maximise benefits.
  • Specialist anti-wrinkle creams and serums are also effective to reduce the signs of ageing.
  • Protect your skin from Ultra Violet (sun) light even in the winter, (see next question). Use a sun cream whenever your face is exposed to the elements.
  • Always keep your skin clean and avoid chemicals especially from pollution.
  • Smoking is possibly the worst thing you can do to your skin. If it doesn’t kill you first, it will certainly make you look at least 10 years older.
  • Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water as dehydration is really bad for your skin. Aim for eight large glasses a day.
  • Get sufficient sleep and try to relax. Stress really shows on your face and can damage the skin if it continues over a long period.

Know Your Skin Type

What skin type do I have? This is probably one of the most key “stepping stone” questions when you’re about to make the jump from using plain old soap to wash your face with, to using a decent face wash, moisturiser or scrub.

Knowing your own, specific skin type is vital because it’ll help you no-end in making a decision when buying any male grooming products. For example – it’s your first time buying a face moisturiser. Not only will you find that there’s a huge amount of different moisturisers to choose from but each are for different, specific skin types. The trouble is – you’re not too sure what type of skin you have! If you buy a moisturiser made for dry skin and you’ve got oily, it’ll make your problem worse and vice versa.

It may seem obvious to you what type of skin you have and for most men, you’re probably right about what type of skin you think you have. If your skin feels tight and slightly rough to the touch, we can put it under the ‘dry’ heading. If it’s slightly greasy and maybe a little prone to spots, it’s got to be oily. Simple?

Well it is that simple – but Razordish are here just to reassure you and confirm your suspicions!

Dry Skin

If you’ve got dry skin, you’ll know all about it after shaving or washing! Your skin will feel slightly rough to the touch, may have an uneven texture to it and will be generally tight. Dry skin will also tend to have a general dull and mature look to it and you may also experience a little flaking of skin. Unfortunately, if you don’t look after it, dry skin is most prone to premature wrinkling and suffers the worst in the winter months.

Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin is distinguished by its easily irritated surface, which can often be red and blotchy. This type of skin can have allergic reactions to some products and is usually especially sensitive to the sun, wind, and cold weather. You’ll know whether you have sensitive skin if your face gets red easily after you’ve touched it or dried it with a towel. Sensitive skin usually always burns easily in the sun and is generally reactive to sunscreens and many skin care products. You may also find that you get blemishes at the first signs of stress.

Normal Skin

If you’re lucky enough to have normal skin, your skin will be evenly textured, well-balanced and your pores will be unnoticeable. However, having normal skin doesn’t mean that you don’t have to look after it and it’s by no means perfect!

Combination skin

Does your skin have a split personality? Combination skin is not uncommon – characterised usually (95% of combination skin types) by a mildly oily T-zone and relatively drier other areas on the face, but it can differ. Combination skin is unbalanced and therefore you’ll find that some areas are more prone to spots and will be oily, while other areas can feel tight and be quite dry. This makes it tricky when you need to decide on regime or a product.

Oily Skin

Oily skin usually has a shine to it and your pores, especially in the T-zone area, will be larger than other skin types. Oily skin is most prone to pimples, blackheads and whiteheads due to an overproduction of oil by your skin. This type of skin can often look dull and patchy and can also be difficult to control and care for. On a positive side – skin which is oilier tends to age better than others which lack oil.

Coping With Acne

Acne, one of the most widespread medical conditions in the world, is the term for plugged pores (blackheads and whiteheads), pimples, and even deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that can occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and even the upper arms.

Acne is common in the teenage years. However, it isn’t restricted to any age group; adults in their 20’s and even into their 40’s can get acne. For those who are unfortunate to suffer with this condition, it can be both physically and emotionally devastating.

Causes of Acne

There is no one simple “cause” of acne — the condition is influenced by many factors, many which are out of your control. The regularity with which you shed skin cells can change throughout your life. The rate at which you produce sebum is affected by your hormone balance. Research has also shown that genetics play a big part in the development and persistence of acne.
While acne is not curable – it is treatable!
Although severe cases of acne should always be referred to a GP or skin specialist, there is a lot that you can personally do to help prevent or deal with mild acne.

Don’t over-wash

Since dirt is not causing your acne, excessive scrubbing and washing won’t make it go away. Try to limit yourself to two washings per day — anything more than that can leave your healthy skin dry, and your acne-prone areas irritated. Habitual over-washing may also stimulate extra oil production, which could result in more breakouts.

Skip harsh scrubs

It’s okay to exfoliate, but be sure to use a gentle formula with small, smooth grains. Avoid products with almond or apricot shell fragments; they can irritate or even tear your skin and further aggravate your acne.
Say no to alcohol. If you use a toner, avoid products with high concentrations of isopropyl alcohol, or common rubbing alcohol. A strong astringent, alcohol strips the top layer of your skin, causing your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. The result? Dry, red skin — and possibly more blemishes.

Don’t squeeze or pick

Squeezing or picking your blemishes can force bacteria deeper into the skin, causing greater inflammation and infection. You’ll also increase the damage to the surrounding skin, so the blemish is more likely to leave a permanent scar.

Hands off!

Propionibacterium acnes (the bacteria that causes breakouts) is a normal resident of your skin; it doesn’t lead to acne until it gets trapped inside the hair follicle. Excessive touching of your face, including rubbing or even resting your chin in your hands, can drive bacteria into your pores — where it can begin its dirtywork.

Work out, wash off

When you exercise, your movement generates heat; clothing and equipment cause friction. Until you shower off, heat and moisture are trapped against your skin, creating an ideal breeding ground for the spread of bacteria. So whenever you can, shower off immediately after exercising.

Find a regimen and stick with it. Most cases of mild acne can be improved with “over-the-counter” products, or products that don’t require a prescription from your doctor. There is a wide range of treatments available, and there’s a good chance one of them will work for you. If you start treatment before your acne gets severe, you’ll have a better chance of avoiding physical and emotional problems down the road. But if your acne gets worse or lasts more than a couple of weeks, see a dermatologist.

Food for Thought

We all know the saying “you are what you eat” – and this could not be truer than when it comes to your skin…

So, if you thought that your skin products were going to do all the hard work for you – think again! It’s equally important to get right what you’re putting in the inside as well as what you’re slapping on the outside.

The Basics

Diet plays an important role in safeguarding and maintaining the skin and preventing otherwise inevitable deterioration and aging. This is why it is necessary to ensure that your diet includes foods that are nutrient-rich and loaded with antioxidants – probably one of the most important components in your diet. These types of food are excellent free-radical fighters and also help to slow down cell damage. Blueberries, strawberries, oranges and red grapes are all good example sources of antioxidants.

Water

If you’re planning on giving your old diet an overhaul; begin by looking at not only your eating routine but also what you drink. A lot of the time when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually dehydrated and need water. Aim for about 8 glasses of water a day and that doesn’t count alcohol and caffeinated drinks. ( Related article: Water – The King Product )

Protein

You should also be looking at the amount of protein in your diet. As a guide, roughly 100 grams of protein is recommended to help keep your skin toned and elastic. Protein rich foods include fish, eggs, chicken and shellfish – red meat, although also high in protein, can lead to skin inflammation.

Carbohydrates

Choosing the right types and amount of carbohydrates can also have a significant effect on your skin. Carbohydrates which are high on the glycemic index (bread, white rice, pasta) – that is those which cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, resulting in a corresponding increase in insulin, should be avoided. This excess insulin produces chemicals in the body that cause inflammation and damage to the cells. For your skin, this can be troublesome and can cause premature ageing but more seriously, can lead to diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

Fat & Dairy Products

Additionally, finding the right balance of fat intake in your diet can be beneficial. Saturated fats, found in meat and dairy products for example, can be bad for you, whereas mono-unsaturated fats found in foods such as fish and olive oil, are believed to be effective at helping to lower cholesterol. Dairy products also contribute to some skin problems as well as the majority, being fairly high in fat, so watch your intake.

Making that change to a more healthy, food-cautious diet the will have its vast benefits on both your overall skin quality and general wellbeing. Follow our advice, and you’ll soon be rewarded with great skin.

Eyebrow Grooming

Eyebrows. Nature gave us these little devices to divert any water or sweat running off our foreheads away from our eyes and to help shield direct sunlight from them. Eyebrows are in fact one of the most dominant facial features and contribute greatly to our general facial expressions.

However, apart from their functional use, they play an increasing role in overall male grooming. Thick, hairy and generally ‘big’ eyebrows tend to be typified as unattractive while the more slimmer and shaped eyebrow is said to be more attractive and are usually better suited to the face. Keeping your eyebrows well groomed can make a considerable difference to your appearance.

So, if you do own a pair of eyebrows that are a little bushy or wiry at the moment, then we have a few tips that can help you get them looking good.

Shaping your ‘Brows

  • Treat your eyebrow hair like the hair on your head. Before you start, wet your eyebrows and give them a wash with a little normal shampoo. If you want, you can put a little conditioner on them too which can help to soften them up a bit.
  • If your eyebrows aren’t too bad then you can get away with using a pair of sharp scissors to trim away any excess stray hairs.
  • Never shave your eyebrows – definitely not a quick-fix & they will only grow back thicker with blunt ends. You’ll regret it!
  • Make sure you use a pair of good quality tweezers which are sanitised to avoid any possible infection.
  • If you’ve got hair between each brow then that’s a good place to start – be careful though, not to make your eyebrows too far apart.
  • Always pluck the hair away from you in the same direction as its growing.
  • Decide on the shape you want before you start.
  • Don’t go plucking mad – take a step back now and then to admire your work. This way you don’t end up with uneven eyebrows.
  • If you’ve got very hairy eyebrows then it’s probably best to pluck them gradually over a few days so that the change isn’t too noticeable.

If you’re too afraid of plucking your own eyebrows you have the option of going for a professional eyebrow waxing – not very expensive and can be worth it if it’s your first time.

Water – The King Product

Water is one of those things that you just can’t physically live without. It plays so many important roles in general life that it is often taken for granted and often overlooked. If you take the advice of no other articles on Razordish, take the advice of this one – when it comes to your skin and looking good, water is not only beneficial but essential.

An overused statistic perhaps, but nonetheless true – our body is made up of over two-thirds water and our skin cells even more. It’s used in almost every single bodily process including digestion, absorption, circulation and excretion. Water is what helps keep your skin looking good – enhancing suppleness, clarity and adding that healthy, “well fed” look. Moisturisers can help to add lost oils to the skin but we also need our skin to be hydrated and that’s where water fits in.

Benefits

You’ll find that men who don’t drink enough water will often look drawn and dull in their face. If you suffer from acne or breakouts, you should know that water is possibly the single most important aid to preventing and healing acne flare-ups. Water is also responsible for giving the collagen levels in your skin a boost which in turn helps to prevent early signs of ageing. Not stopping at skin, water also maintains proper muscle tone, promotes mental agility and helps control body temperature.

Thirsty Yet?

You should be aiming at about 8 to 12 glasses a day of the clear stuff – depending on your glass size, environment and exercise levels. Of course, it doesn’t have to be only pure H2O. Your 8 to 12 glasses can include fresh juice, milk and any drinks or even foods with high water content. However, caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea and cans of drink shouldn’t be included. The caffeine content acts as a diuretic, causing you to lose more water through increased urination. The same goes for alcohol which has a similar effect. As a general rule, for every glass of alcohol you have, you should drink one glass of water. One point to remember is that your intestine can only cope with about 200ml of water every 20 minutes – so don’t gulp down your daily amount in one go!

Bottled vs Tapped

Tapped is just fine for keeping your water levels topped up. Water filterers are fairly inexpensive and widely available these days – most helping to filter out harmful elements such as copper and chlorine in the water. Bottled is naturally the better option in this case but it would cost you for this to be your only drinking source.

Remembering to keep those water levels up will very quickly result in better looking skin and a much healthier you overall. Convinced? Go & pour a glass now and see for yourself!

A Healthy Tan Without the Sun

Made popular right back in the early 1920’s – tans are something that most men will admit make them feel healthier, more athletic, more attractive and sexier. Tans have come a long way from the baby oil drenched days of soaking under the sun. We won’t go over the dangers of excessive sun exposure – most of us already know what they are. Instead we’ll tell you how to achieve that great tanned look and how to avoid any pitfalls.

The cost of a bronzed body is next to nothing now and the result is frequently better than a sun soaking and of course, less the health risks. Self tan technology has improved a great deal – this means that if you did have any doubts on their efficacy, we can assure you that you won’t end up looking like an oompa-loompa as a result. Nowadays, the majority of good quality self tan products will give you an even, bronzed look, although, varying from product to product.

Scrub Up

The key to getting an even finish with a self tan is to exfoliate, using a scrub, before application. Using a scrub will get rid of dead skin cells; giving you a clean, smooth surface to apply the product on to. If you don’t, your tan will fade more quickly and may be a tad patchy. A scrub also ensures that places such as your elbows and knees – drier areas that tend to soak up the tan – don’t end up darker than the rest of your body.

Moisturise

Before you go ahead and apply the self tan, massage some moisturiser into the area. This way, you’re going to avoid the streaky, blotchy look and you’re far more likely to get smooth, even results. Moisturisers can also help if you want to build up the tan gradually over a few days or if you only want a subtle effect. The more moisturiser you apply to your skin beforehand, the lighter your tan will be.

Ready?

Now comes the time to apply the self tan. If you’re using a cream or mousse, put a blob onto your fingertips and massage it well into the area. If you’re using a spray self tanner, spray evenly over the area making sure that you keep the bottle about 10 cm in distance from your skin. When applying to your face, avoid the eye area, eyebrows and lips. Work systematically – starting from your forehead, nose, cheeks and chin, working your way down to your neck, arms, chest and so on. Once you’ve finished – remember to always wash your hands well afterwards. The product should only take about 20 minutes to dry and then you can slip on some clothes again.

After a few hours you’ll see the transformation. Not so bad, eh? If you like what you see, you can continue to top up every few days or so.

Summary & Tips

  • Scrub up – always exfoliate beforehand
  • Moisturise – apply some moisturiser to the area
  • Self Tan won’t give you sun protection
  • Test a small amount of the product on your skin for sensitivity before full application
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after use

Your Skin and Ageing

The skin is the first part of the body to show age. While many of these changes are inevitable, some can be reduced with a healthy lifestyle and good skin care. The skin consists of three successive levels, the epidermis, the dermis and the hypodermis. It is covered by a mixture of sweat and sebum; the hydro-lipidic film is the skins first protective barrier against exterior aggressions, which limit the developments of bacteria through its acidity. This fine emulsion also maintains skin moisturisation (known as cutaneous moisturisation) and this helps to give skin a velvety look.

The Epidermis

This is the outermost covering, the epidermis is the first protective layer and is formed by many layers of cells that are perfectly stratified and contain no blood vessels. The deepest layer of the epidermis is made up of germinal cells that ensure continuous renewal of the outer layer known as the corneal layer. The epidermis takes between 4-6 weeks to completely renew itself. The epidermis also contains melanocytes that gives skin its colour and produces melanin to produce a suntan; this is the skins defence mechanism against the suns damaging UVA and UVB rays.

The Dermis

This is the skins supporting tissue and contains oil glands; it is responsible for collagen (protein fibres) production. Collagen and elastin (elastic fibres) give the skin its suppleness and elasticity by forming a densely organised weft like network, the production of collagen and elastin decreases with age and eventually disappear completely. These fibres are in a gel rich in hyaluronic acid, which is a part of skin moisturisation, locking water into the skins molecules. The dermis contains blood vessels and nerve endings, making the skin a sensorial organ.

The Hypodermis

This is adipose tissue giving the body its outline and is the most important reservoir the body has, fat cells are found here along with sebaceous gland and hair follicles.

Signs of Ageing

These include:

  • Thinning of the epidermis and the underlying layer of fat, this means that skin starts to crepe and wrinkle.
  • Sagging older skin produces less elastin and collagen, gravity also plays apart, this shows as jowls along the jaw line and bags under the eyes.
  • Wrinkles reduced elastin and collagen and thinning of the skin means vulnerable areas like eyes, forehead, neck and mouth start to show lines and wrinkles.
  • Age Spots pigment producing cells of the skin (melanocytes) reduce in number, the remaining cluster together forming what’s known as age or liver spots. Areas that have been exposed to the suns rays are particularly prone to age spots.
  • Dryness older skin has fewer sweat glands and oil glands this makes the skin more prone to dryness and roughness.
  • Broken Blood Vessels older, thinner skin is more likely to break blood vessels and bruise.

Age Related Skin Conditions

These include:

  • Bowen’s Disease a rare type of slow growing scaly skin patches
  • Seborrhoeic Keratoses a type of benign skin tumour that looks like a brown wart.
  • Solar Keratoses spots on the skin that are inflamed, scaly and dry.
  • Skin Cancer there are several different forms that affects various cells in the skin

Risk Reduction Strategies

  • Limit sun exposure because this causes a condition known, as photoageing and is believed to cause up to 80% of skin ageing; use an SPF of a least 15 and look for creams that give maximum UVA protection. Boots do a very good in-store guide.
  • Don’t smoke cigarette smoking promotes skin wrinkling and is thought to accelerate the damage caused by the sun.
  • Alcohol watch your alcohol intake, alcohol is very dehydrating to the skin
  • Water drink at least 8 glasses per day
  • Caffeine cut down your tea, coffee and soft drink intake, many contain high amounts of caffeine that act as a diuretic in the body depleting your skins hydration
  • Eat a healthy diet vegetables, fruits, wholegrain foods, lean meat, poultry etc
  • Regular Exercise aerobic exercise is very good for the skin
  • Gentle skin care avoid harsh skin irritants such as perfumed products, and products with high plant oil and alcohol content, look for neutral PH balanced cleansers, toners and moisturises.
  • Moisturise dry skin is more susceptible to fine lines, wrinkles and a course skin texture
  • Medical advice if you have skin conditions/complaints get medical advice because they may need treatment by a dermatologist.

Anti Ageing Treatments

There are a plethora of anti-ageing treatments out there, some carry with them risks that need to be discussed with a qualified dermatologist so that you can be sure you understand all the relevant issues, side effects and potential complications of some anti ageing treatments. Listed below are some examples of current treatments.

Topical lotions and creams also known as Cosmaceuticals such as Alpha Hydroxy, Beta Hydroxy and Vitamin C and A Creams; there is a prescription only cream called ‘Tretinoin’ that has shown to have significant skin improving actions, however, it is not without its side effects.

  • Injections examples are synthetic collagen, botox etc
  • Facial Peels chemicals are applied to the face to burn off the top layer of skin. This is said to remove wrinkles and encourage faster regrowth of newer younger looking skin.
  • Laser Therapy used to treat wrinkles and broken blood vessels.
  • Vascular Laser to remove broken blood vessels from the face and body.
  • Laser Resurfacing a laser can be used to treat wrinkles, age spots, scars and skin growths.
  • Cosmetic Surgery there are many cosmetic treatments that include face-lifts, eye-lifts, neck lifts etc.

Moisturisers and their outrageous claims many of you who have been reading my comments and reviews will know that I advocate a cautious approach where cosmetic company claims are made about their new innovative product(s). Many very impressive and seductive claims are made that are very tempting particularly if you’re having a bad day. Moisturisers do what the word says ‘moisturise’ they keep skin moist, improve skin texture and reduce the appearance of fine lines, however, no product as yet been developed that has been shown to turn back the clock. Expensive moisturisers under laboratory examination are frequently shown to be over-priced and no more effective than their cheaper counter parts. That said, if it’s a little luxury and pampering you’re after, then the psychological benefits of luxury grooming products can certainly have a positive effect; I think a positive attitude to life is one of your most powerful weapons in the anti ageing process.

Remember signs of ageing include thinning, sagging, wrinkling, age spots, broken blood vessels and dryness.

Some age related skin changes could be reduced by:

  • Limiting sun exposure
  • Using an SPF 15 moisturiser every day
  • Stopping smoking
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Consistent Sleep patterns
  • Regular Exercise
  • Drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day
  • Regular moisturising
  • Avoiding harsh irritating skin care.

The Sun and Your Skin

It’s getting to that time of year again so a quick note on the sun and the skin. Sunlight is composed of 66% infra red light, 32% visible light and 2% ultraviolet light, this is subdivided into what we know as UVA and UVB.

UVB is the main cause of sunburn and UVA the main cause of skin damage. The sun does have some benefits i.e. the production of vitamin D and it generally makes us feel and temporarily look better.

The sun causes changes in skin thickness, this is a protective response of your skin to the adverse stimulus of the suns’ rays. Repeated exposure to sunlight will in the long term cause a condition known as photoageing of the skin. The skin becomes course, rough, wrinkled, leathery with uneven pigmentation, sagging and easy brusing. Even worse this can result in a number of painful disfiguring skin conditions and skin cancers.

The skin protects itself from sunlight by increasing the amount of melanin in the skin (tanning) and by increasing the thickness of the skin.

There is no such thing as a safe tan, but we must accept that people enjoy the sun, holiday, play sports and work in it. So a few simple rules.

  1. Know your skin type and how it copes in the sun.
  2. Do not smoke, this increases facial lines and wrinkles, delays skin healing and is very bad for you.
  3. Exercise, very good for the body and skin
  4. Always wear a sunscreen of at least SPF 15, look for those that give maximum UVA protection. Avoid the sun at the hottest parts of the day.
  5. If you have fair skin or have young children go for an SPF of 30+
  6. Pay attention with a high SPF to sensitive areas like eyes, nose, lips forehead etc
  7. Wear a hat, sunglasses and light, protective clothing
  8. Moisturise, this helps to sooth the skin
  9. Watch your alcohol intake and drink plenty of water

Rejuvenation for photo-aged skin; there are a number of treatments said to help i.e:

Alpha-hydroxy acids, vitamin C or retinoid creams applied regularly long term can help.
Collagen, hyaluronic acid, polytetrafluoroethylene implants and fat grafts (a tad radical).

  • Botox injections
  • Laser treatment
  • Cosmetic surgery

You have to ask yourself if a sun tan really is worth the time, effort, cost and severe damage to the skin? The above mentioned treaments are not only expensive and will in some cases cause pain, irritation and discomfort.

Remember sunbeds are no better and may be even worse for your skin than the sun. The good news is that there are some really effective fake tanning products and salon treatments available today. Above all enjoy but take care in the sun.

Skin Care Products – the Lowdown

Face Wash

What and Why?

Face wash or face cleanser – it’s perhaps the most important product in your regime – a face wash helps to get rid of excess oil, dirt and grime as well as helping to clear your complexion.

How and When?

Use morning & / or night. Wet skin with warm water. Massage a little face wash onto face. Rinse off well with running water. Dry face by patting with a towel. Do not rub though, as this can irritate the skin.

Face Toner

What and Why?

Toners, although not strictly a necessary part of everyone’s routine, help to clear the skin of shaving or face wash residue. Toners also help to tighten the pores and are a good solution for oily skins.

How and When?

Splash a little toner or apply some to a cotton-wool pad and dab onto your face, after shaving or cleansing your face.

Face Moisturiser

What and Why?

Your face needs moisture! An essential product to help replace lost moisture and oils into the skin – moisturisers can also help to create a defence barrier between your skin and environmental elements. Moisturisers work by either increasing the penetration of water into the skin or by reducing the rate at which water is evaporating from the skin surface.

How and When?

Apply a small blob (about the size of a 5 pence piece) to your face and neck. Massage in gently using a circular motion with your fingertips.

Face Exfoliator or ‘Scrub’

What and Why?

Another important part of your grooming regime, a scrub aims to exfoliate the skin by sloughing off dead skin cells to reveal new ones. This’ll give your skin a great glow and will get rid of dull skin. A face scrub is similar to a face wash but contains tiny particles that ‘polish’ the skin as you massage. The particles can be made of anything from crushed shells or nuts to polythene beads. As you wash with the scrub it removes dead skin cells and debris revealing the smoother skin underneath. It will also help to release in-growing hairs and keep the skin really clean and healthy.

How and When?

Replace your regular face wash with a scrub about 2 -3 times a week or use a little before shaving to loosen your stubble and lift it away from the face. Using a small amount, gently, with very little pressure, massaging the scrub over your skin in a circular motion with your fingertips. You may find that you don’t need to use a scrub very often but others may find it necessary to use regularly.

Face Mask

What and Why?

There are two different types of face masks – one which draws out excess oil from the skin and one which replaces lost moisture. The first usually contains a refined natural clay called “Kaolin” or “Bentonite” that draws out any excess oil on the skin’s surface as well as any impurities in the skin. This type of mask will usually dry to a crust.

The second type, which rehydrates the skin will often be in the consistency of a cream or gel and won’t dry hard on your face. These masks will help to nourish and brighten the skin.

How and When?

Use a face mask about 1 – 2 times a week at the most. It is recommended to apply a small amount onto dry skin and leave on for roughly 10 minutes. *Refer to the product guidelines for specific times

Eye Cream

What and Why?

Eye products usually come in a gel or cream consistency. They are used to firm the skin under the eyes an to reduce any puffiness. If you suffer with dark bags under your eye then a good eye product should help.

How and When?

Use eye products sparingly and just on the sensitive eye area – before a night out or before bed. Apply it with your fingertip in a gentle tapping motion.

Self Tanner or ‘Fake Tan’

What and Why?

Self tans are brilliant at giving you a safe but equally realistic tan for your face and for the rest of your body. Most good self-tanners contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as their active ingredient. DHA is simply a sugar cane derivative that, when applied to your skin, safely produces your tan by reacting with the amino acids on your skin’s surface..

How and When?

In this case, ‘when’ is not so much as important as ‘how’. Applying self tan is easy but there are a few good tips to get a really even finish.


Know your skin type

Need to know how to best look after your specific skin type? We’ve put together these quick reference skin type guides for you to be able to get the most out of your skin. Not sure what type of skin you have?

Dry Skin

  • Small pores
  • Tight feeling
  • Rough to the touch
  • Dull look
  • Uneven texture
  • Can be flaky

What Products?

Use a mild face wash specifically for dry skin. Importantly, dry skin needs a good, heavy-duty moisturiser which will restore moisture into the skin. Always avoid shaving foams, astringents and soap and remember to use a moisturiser with an SPF to protect your skin from ageing prematurely and the elements. Water is definitely one of your best friends in this case & you should drink plenty of it to keep your skin hydrated and supple. That’s water – not alcohol!

Product Regime

  • Face Wash / Cream
  • Gentle Scrub x1 p/w
  • Moisturiser (rich)
  • Hydrating Mask

Sensitive Skin

  • Easily irritated
  • Red & blotchy
  • Allergic reactions
  • Sensitive to elements

What Products?

Similarly to dry skin you need to choose products which are specifically for sensitive skin. Avoid anything which contains harsh chemicals or a lot of heavy fragrance in them and try to look out for products which are hypoallergenic. Wearing some kind of sun protection is always safest for sensitive skin.

Product Regime

  • Face Wash / Cream
  • Scrub x 2 p/w
  • Moisturiser
  • Hydrating Mask (optional)

Normal Skin

  • Evenly textured
  • Balanced
  • Tight pores

What Products?

Normal skin is usually problem-free but you’ll want to keep it that way! Use products designed specifically for men and those which will keep your skin in balance. Most importantly, look for products that won’t strip your skin of moisture, but won’t make it oily either.

Product Regime

  • Face Wash
  • Scrub x2 p/w
  • Moisturiser
  • Mask (optional)

Combination Skin

  • Oily T-Zone / Drier Cheeks
  • Unbalanced
  • Tricky to look after

What Products?

There are products designed specifically for combination skin but the best way to deal with combination skin is to use different products on different areas – using products designed for oily skin on your oily areas and products designed for drier skins on your dry areas. A good idea is to use a mask about 1-2 times per week, applying it over your oily areas only.

Product Regime

  • Face Wash
  • Face Toner (TZone)
  • Scrub x2 p/w
  • Oil-Free Moisturiser
  • Clay Mask x1 p/w (TZone)

Oily Skin

  • Shiny skin
  • Prone to blemishes
  • Overproduction of oil
  • Dull & patchy

What Products?

Oily skin needs to be kept as clean as possible to avoid pore blockage and prevent breakouts – use a good facial wash twice a day and a gentle face scrub 2 to 3 times a week, taking care not to press too hard which can stimulate the oil glands. Oily skin doesn’t mean that you don’t need a moisturiser – an oil-free moisturiser to leave the skin matte is a must for oily skin and should be used at least once a day. Take care not to over-dry your skin with harsh products which can cause the skin to overcompensate with extra oil. Look out for products which are non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic.

Product Regime

  • Face Wash
  • Face Toner
  • Scrub x2 p/w
  • Oil-Free Moisturiser
  • Clay Mask x2 p/w