“Sir, calm down!” says Dr. Nick Riviera on The Simpsons. “You’re going to give yourself skin failure!”
Now, you can’t really give yourself skin failure can you? Well, yeah. Pretty much.
Your skin is an organ, like your brain or your heart. Obviously, it’s with you for your entire life. You probably really only start taking care of it when puberty hits and then it’s only to wash your face as often as possible, keeping those nasty blackheads at bay.
As you get older, your body chemistry changes and you need to think more about taking care of your skin. It’s a tough world out there, too. Pollutants, sunshine, and humidity all take their toll. Skin failure doesn’t result in something catastrophic like your skin coming off or turning transparent. It’s subtler, and basically worse in the long run.
You’ll just look old before your time.
This is true no matter how kind of skin you have: oily, dry, sensitive, or combination. Some people have sensitive skin and require even more careful maintenance and preservation. But ultimately the state of your skin comes down to the glands embedded in its surface, and how well they’re working.
Let’s get technical: your skin’s sebaceous glands produce sebum – a fluid made of fat and dead skin cells – that acts as a natural protector and moisturizer. Too much sebum and you’ll have oily skin, with the clogged pores and the acne, blackheads, and blemishes that come with it. You’ll want to be careful and deliberate about what products you use on oily skin, and especially how often you use them. Choose something that cleanses without robbing your body of its natural oils. Baxter’s of California and Maxwell’s Apothecary both carry oil free lotions that leave you with skin that’s comfortable and healthy without feeling slick.
Too little work by those sebaceous glands and you’ll find yourself with dry skin. Dry skin feels tight and arid after washing, almost like crisp paper. A good moisturizer can work wonders with dry skin, helping reinforce those slacker glands. Anthony Logistics and Maxwell’s Apothecary both offer products that moisturize without going overboard.
Sensitive skin is an uncomfortable condition in which the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin cells) reacts against both the elements and chemicals. For men with sensitive skin, low-end shaving and skin care products can make their skin feel worse than before. These sensitive types need products with all-natural ingredients and need to be careful to use plenty of after-shave and moisturizer to keep their skin’s defenses in the best possible condition. We recommend Woody’s Pre Shave Cleanser or Sharp’s Happy Me All Over for sensitive skin.
Finally, there’s a few people out there with combination skin. This means your skin is oily in some places, dry in others, and normal somewhere else. Combination skin is just as tricky to care for as it sounds. Using an all-natural exfoliant acts as a way to reboot your skin’s oil levels, getting the skin even all around so you can work from a fresh, even slate in skin care. Men’s Science and Anthony Logistics both carry products to help exfoliate and renew tricky combination skin.
Lee Wood is an expert on men’s grooming and hair, skin, and polishing techniques and products. Visit online at [http://www.mugonline.com/]