About Face: Are You Doing Everything You Can to Protect Your Skin?

4.15.2013

By Out.com Editors

San Diego-based dermatologist Dr. Jeff Benabio weighs in on how to properly care for your biggest organ (that would be your skin, boys...)

Like it or not, you're stuck with your skin. And chances are that you're probably putting it through the ringer. From environmental pollutants to the harsh treatment it gets during a rigorous shave, most guys are putting their dermis under daily duress. While the beauty industry courts ladies with a plethora of products, guys can sometimes be left out in the dark. Here, we've consulted industry veteran Dr. Jeff Benabio for advice and tips on how to get the most mileage out of the mug of yours:

OUT: What's the  biggest mistake men are making when taking care of their skin? 

Dr. Jeff Benabio: The biggest mistake is simply not paying attention to your skin! It’s important to know what type of skin you have, and what products will work best for it. The first step should be to identify whether you have dry, normal, or oily skin, and go from there. 
Should guys be chaning their routine depending on the seasons or where they live? 
Since weather conditions can change drastically and have different effects on the skin, guys should definitely be adapting seasonally. Summer is hot and humid and can require two showers a day, which means that men should be using products that prevent dry skin. Use a moisturizing cleanser rather than soap because soap strips essential oils from the skin, which can lead to uncomfortable rashes and dry skin. Something like Dove Men+Care body and face washes are great options because they contain micro-moisture technology to guard against discomfort and are safe to use more than once a day. During the summer I'd also suggest using a skin-moisturizing antiperspirant. Also, apply sunscreen (SPF 30) twice a day to prevent skin damage—try using products with sun screen built-in to keep things simple—but that's less important during the winter months. 
Should your routine change in the morning versus the evening?
In the morning, guys should be using a moisturizing body and face wash, and using an aftershave or face lotion with sunscreen built in. In the evening, you should wash your face and can apply a night cream or serum with rejuvenating antioxidants.
What is the bare bones regimen for guys who don't want to spend a ton of time getting ready?
Unless you have specific skincare problems to address, most men can get away with simply washing with a face and body cleanser, shaving with shaving cream and a basic two-blade razor, and applying a moisturizer or aftershave with sunscreen built in.
Are there any ingredients that men absolutely should avoid? Say you’re looking at products in the store — what words/terms should they look for, both things to avoid and things that should help sell them on a product.
Men should avoid soaps! Soap strips the oil from the skin and causes damage to skin cells, which in turn worsens wrinkles, causes rashes, irritation, and dryness. Cleansers, on the other hand, do not disrupt the skin cell proteins as much and will help moisturize the skin. Alphahydroxy is an ingredient to look out for—it's okay in small doses, but can make skin more susceptible to sunburns.
When it comes to anti-aging, what really works and when should the process begin?
The anti-aging process should begin when you first start seeing wrinkles (i.e. when crow’s feet develop). I would recommend using products with retinol, rentin-a, or a prescription from your dermatologist to help reduce the fine lines and wrinkles. You can always work to prevent skin-aging by limiting sun exposure and moisturizing with products that have vitamins C and E, as they help minimize damage from free radicals that cause damage to the collagen in the skin.
What tips do you have for guys when they're shaving?
I recommend taking a hot shower before you shave—it'll help to soften the skin and the hair on your face. Next you should apply warm shaving cream with a badger brush to lift the hair. Let the shaving cream sit for about three minutes to further soften the hair. Then begin shaving with the grain of the hair with a two-blade razor. Once you're done, apply an aftershave—again, preferably one with SPF built-in. Avoid an alcohol based aftershave, which can irritate the skin, and try an aftershave lotion that will help protect your skin.

Are there things that are worth shelling out the extra money for. There are so many products that make so many different claims these days, but are there things that are worth laying down a few extra bucks for?
It’s important to focus on great products for pre- and post-shave. Invest in a good shaving cream, as well as a quality moisturizer or aftershave (with sunscreen built-in!) Also, it will serve you well to upgrade to a more expensive facial sunscreen during the summer.
If you could give one word of advice to men while they’re in their twenties, thirties, and forties, what would it be?
Don’t smoke and use sunscreen regularly.

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