by Paula Jackson of Esthétique Salon
The science of esthetics has focused on servicing the needs of women for years. In addition, they have long been the primary users of skin care services and products. This has been true partly because of an emphasis on skin care as a beauty aid as well as a health aid, and partly because women have been more concerned with their looks than have men. Men have considered skin care as a feminine pursuit.
However this attitude is changing. Men are becoming concerned with good grooming and becoming aware of the health aspects of making sure their skin is properly cared for. Skin care needs of men do differ from those of women to some extent. The physical differences between males and females extend beyond the obvious differences in the sex and reproductive organs. Physiologically speaking, men tend to grow larger and are stronger and faster.
Men have twenty percent more muscle mass and larger, denser bone structure. Women, on the other hand, have more fatty tissue and the distribution of fat cells throughout the body is different. Women’s fat distribution tends to be around the breasts, hips and buttocks. In men the fat is more evenly distributed. These differences in muscle and fat make women more susceptible to cold than men.
Hormonal differences are responsible for the muscle-mass structure and fat distribution. Testosterone levels in men increase muscle mass and widen the shoulders. Estrogen widens the hips and increases fatty tissues.
However, there are few differences when it comes to the skin. The skin structure is the same for men and women. Men and women share the same five layers of epidermal tissue and the same two layers of dermal tissue. The skin contains the same vast number of cells and sensory receptors for heat, cold, touch, and pain.
A man’s skin tends to have larger sebaceous glands and produces more sebum (oil) also producing it longer in life. In women, estrogen influences sebum production. As women age sebum production slows considerably – this doesn’t happen in men. For this reason, men will sometimes age better than women. The down side is that the greater oil production in men may play a significant role in promoting acne skin conditions.
Men’s Skin Care Needs
Men need to care for their skin just as women do. Facial treatments and quality products can be very beneficial to men because they don’t have the barrier effect of makeup that women have. Because men produce more sebum, acne conditions may require care. Though daily shaving exfoliates, the scraping action may cause irritation, inflammation and abrasions, as well.
Unfortunately men have not been conditioned to care for their skin. The daily regimen for a man is to wash his face with a harsh bar soap, lather with shaving cream, shave, quickly rinse off and splash on an alcohol-based shaving lotion. This is not an ideal situation for healthy skin.
Often a man will come to the salon because his face is irritated, chapped, chafed, or raw in some areas. These conditions are brought about by shaving too closely and by using irritating, alkaline shaving products, such as foam from an aerosol can. Most of the time, these conditions can be corrected in three to four days. To prevent irritation, please follow the instructions below:
- Cleanse skin using a facial cleanser for your specific skin type. Try using a facial brush during this step – go very gently in a circular motion to lift hairs. Always use tepid water – never hot or cold.
- Apply a warm, wet face cloth to the area being shaved. Leave on until the cloth cools.
- Apply shaving cream.
- Use an adjustable razor that has been adjusted to low. This low setting will prevent the blade from scraping the skin. The adjustment setting may be changed during the shave to a higher degree for certain areas but should remain on low for irritated and sensitive areas, such as the neck and chin.
- Use non alcohol after-shave lotion. Do not use a highly fragranced lotion as this may be irritating to some skins. A moisturizer should be applied to all skin types for environmental protection. There are bronzing gels and sticks that can be applied to give a healthy glow or sun bronzed effect to the skin.
Proper skin care is effective and a valuable aid to health and good grooming in men.