Male Luxe Grooming
Published 2011 | By Melissa Rasmussen and Jackalyn Byrne
Are you wondering if you should be picking at that ingrown, getting that wax, or popping that pimple? We talk to beauty therapist Ellie Warner about all your grooming issues.
Ingrown hairs, rashes and cuts are all side effects of a bodged shaving job. The most crucial component to a smooth shave is finding a base product that suits your skin. In order to choose a product best for you, the first step is to determine whether you have dry/sensitive skin or normal/oily skin.
Dry / sensitive skin
Lubriderm Dermatologist Dr. Kenneth Howe says dry to sensitive skin can often feel tight in some areas and can become irritated, itchy, blotchy or flakey. “Dry skin can be avoided if the skin maintains the proper amount of oils and moisture. Two things are important; not removing too much oil and adding back the oil,” he says.
Dr. Howe’s Washing Tips:
- Keep showers short, under 5 minutes if possible.
- Avoid excessively hot showers, as hot water more readily removes surface oils, just like hot water does when washing dishes.
- Use soap only in areas of skin folds – underarms, neck, groin, feet. Soap is a detergent that lifts off oils from the skin.
- Use a mild soap.
After shaving and showering, Dr. Howe believes it is important to put the moisture (good oils) back in the skin if it is feeling dry or tight. “Regarding moisturizing, it is important to do this every day. Daily application of a good moisturizer keeps the barrier of the skin (the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of dead skin cells) in good repair.”
For sensitive skin types Warner suggests that you stick to a cream based product because that will provide a cushion between your skin and razor.
Normal / oily skin
Normal to oily skin is prone to shine and sometimes the odd pimple. Usually this is the healthiest of all the skin types because you have a good balance of oils to fight wrinkles and protect the skin as a barrier against irritants. For men with normal skin Warner recommends an oil product for shaving as this will allow the razor to get close to the skin for a smooth finish.
Preventing cuts whilst shaving is a little tricky. Warner’s best advice is to ‘be careful’.
“You can’t really avoid it if you have coarse hair it will happen. The best thing to do is to make sure you are using a quality razor and a good base product to cushion the skin,” she says.
Keeping a good shave
Now that you know how to get a nice clean shave it’s time to learn how to maintain it. The most common issue men get from shaving is ingrown hairs resulting in pimples. Warner says there are three steps involved in removing ingrown hairs. “Firstly you need to exfoliate the skin, secondly you will need to pluck the hair out of the skin, and last but not least, treat the skin with a good anti-bacterial wash.”
Dermatologist and skin care expert Dr. Cynthia Bailey says, people prone to acne should always use oil free products. “It is very important to choose acne products based on whether skin is sensitive or tolerant because the acne medicines are irritating,” says Bailey. “People with sensitive skin usually can’t tolerate high concentrations of acne treating medicines and they don’t usually need them because their sensitive skin often absorbs more of the medicines anyway. People with normal to tolerant skin, however, often need strong concentrations of acne medicines to clear up their acne.”
Dr. Cynthia Bailey says, body acne, including back acne, neck acne and chest acne is different than acne on the face because it is caused or aggravated by a different germ than facial acne. “This germ, called pityrosporum is actually a yeast, not a bacteria, and regular acne medicines don’t kill it,” she says. “This kind of acne often won’t respond to regular acne treatment.”
To treat body acne Bailey recommends pyrithione zinc to kill the yeast. Bailey also suggests using a strong benzoyl peroxide cleanser to unclog blocked pores and blackheads that are part of back acne. “Wash the parts of your skin where you have back acne, chest acne or neck acne every day in the bath or shower. Then, squeeze a generous amount of the cleanser on to the washcloth and scrub the affected area. Allow the cleanser to sit on the skin for a few minutes then rinse well,” says Bailey.
Body acne worsens when the skin is sweaty and oily for long periods of time, such as sports or other physical activities. “It’s important to wash your acne prone skin using the medicated cleansers as soon as possible following these activities,” says Bailey.
Although there are many ways to stop and reduce the signs of aging Warner’s advice is to protect your self against sun damage. “The first thing we recommend against the signs of aging is to use a moisturiser with a SPF because sun damage is the most prominent cause of early aging,” she says.