A Guy’s Guide to Skin Care

If you’re a man who’s plagued with dry skin or razor burn, here’s a quick face-care checklist.

You’re a guy. A sports team gets your attention — not your facial skin. But here’s a news flash: If you want to look good, you’ve got to deal with your skin.

“If men want to keep skin youthful and healthy looking, they’ve got to make skin care a part of their daily regimen,” says Mathew Avram, MD, JD, director of the Dermatology, Laser and Cosmetic Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. He’s also a faculty member at Harvard Medical School.

Sun and smoking are your face’s worst enemies because both cause skin damage and wrinkling. “If you smoke, quit,” said Avram. “Using a moisturizer with sunblock is a very effective way to prevent aging and wrinkling.”

A Checklist for Great (Manly) Skin

Choosing skin products:

  • Think “moisturizer” when buying soaps — body and hand soaps, that is.
  • Buy a face moisturizer that contains sunblock or sunscreen.
  • If you’ve got dry skin, buy a light moisturizing body lotion for summer.
  • During winter months, buy heavier moisturizing creams or ointments.
  • If dry skin is really a problem, thicker and greasier is better.
  • Always use a good sunscreen outdoors (SPF 15 or higher).

Preventing dry skin:

  • Take lukewarm showers (instead of hot ones).
  • Limit shower time to 5 or 10 minutes.
  • Apply moisturizing lotion right after drying from the shower.
  • Moisturize after washing hands.

Getting a great shave:

  • Shave in a warm shower. Or carefully put a hot, wet towel over your face for a few minutes before shaving.
  • Massage shaving cream or gels into skin.
  • Don’t shave too close. Use single-edged razors to protect skin from irritation. You’ll also reduce potential for ingrown hairs — especially if your beard is curly.
  • Shave only in one direction if you tend to get ingrown hairs. Shave in the direction of hair growth.
  • Wash with plenty of water. Pat gently with a towel; don’t rub.
  • Apply moisturizing cream (containing sunblock) to soothe and protect the skin.

Controlling acne:

  • Using a prescription retinol treatment like Retin-A, Renova, Tazorac, Avita, or Differin at night can make skin less prone to breakouts.
  • Daily use of an antibiotic cream or benzoyl peroxide wash or gel can also help.
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