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July 5, 2004

Easy Skin Care Tips for Men
Anthony Feliciano

For many men, skin care is a mere afterthought. Beyond the world of shaving their faces, it is rare for a man to devote time to his skin, especially the skin on his face. However, proper skin care is essential for the present and the future. Skin is the body's first line of defense against sickness, germs and disease.

Additionally, as we age, our skin loses its elastic nature. Thus, we develop wrinkles and facial lines. For these reasons alone, proper skin care is important. These tips will help you keep your skin in shape without making you spend hundreds of dollars on products that promise miracle cures.

To begin one should determine their proper skin type. This will lead us on our way finding the correct products for which our skin needs. The following is a brief description of skin type.
Normal Skin Type: Not too oily or dry, few blemishes, skin is firm and generally smooth with small pores.
Dry Skin Type: Due to sun and age, skin may lack natural oils. May look smooth with fine pores, few blackheads and blemishes.
Sensitive Skin Type and Couperose): Extremely Delicate. Broken capillaries, veins and vessels beneath skin surface. Should not be over stimulated.
Oily Skin Type: Shiny and may appear coarse, may have recurring blackheads and enlarged pores. Often youthful-looking appearance.
Combination Skin Type: Oily T-zone (forehead, nose and chin). Normal to dry around cheeks and eyes .Can be oily along chin, jaw, temples and dry elsewhere.
Acne Prone Skin Type: Generally oily, blackheads and pimples are prominent. Potential scarring and pitting can occur. Mature skin Type: Fine lines around eyes and mouth. Loose, Crepe-like appearance. Loss of elasticity.

Shaving is always rough on your face, so do it right. If you use a blade, make sure that your face is coated with a thin stream of hot water before applying shaving cream. Give the cream a few minutes to settle in. Use a sharp razor that has a double blade attached to it. Take your time and rinse with cold water, not hot. Allowing the steam of a shower or hot towel to soften the follicles of a tough beard can be a better preparation. If you use an electric razor, apply pre-shave lotion to enable your whiskers to stand up and keeps your shaver gliding easily across your face. It will also lessen the irritation and burn that comes with electric shaving. If one shaves properly it can be a great exfoliation to the skin so keep this in mind when using exfoliates or scrubs allow at least 48 hours from the time you have shaved to use a scrub or exfoliate.

Lastly, eating a balanced diet and staying active are obviously part of the equation. Double up on the fruits and vegetables, which often contain many anti-oxidants that can retard skin damage. Take a multi-vitamin that is rich in anti-oxidants and vitamin E. Do your best to avoid greasy, fried food. Substitute olive oil in place of butter when you cook. It is healthier and, as some claim, will allow your skin to retain its elasticity longer.

Exercise will do more than simply get your heart rate going. It will clear your pores, increase your metabolism, and generally make you feel better about yourself. Sweating allows your inner body to cleanse itself.

Perhaps the easiest and best way to help your skin is to drink plenty of water on a day-today basis. The majority of your body's cells are made of water, and it only makes sense to keep hydrated. Drink at least 64 ounces of water per day. Increase your intake if you are a drinker of beverages that dehydrate you, such as coffee, soda, and alcohol. If you do drink alcohol excessively, do your best to limit your intake, as the consequences will manifest themselves in more than just bad-looking skin.

Diligent practice of the above tips will not have you looking like a GQ model overnight. However, your skin will look healthier and younger, allowing you to feel better about yourself.

Moisture and Toning, the second step after cleansing. Important for all types of skin.

Individuals with oily skin and acne prone skin tend to run from moisture or oils applied topically to the skin. The use of the correct oils for oily and acne prone skins can be very helpful. Essential oils like lavender, sage, mint and tea tree are naturally antiseptic, active and help heal the skin. Oils mimic our own sebum and will send signals to the skin to even out the over production. Look for products that are non-comdeogenic, the products in which the ingredients will not clog the pores.

Normal To Dry Skins should tone with non-alcohol toners, which are over-drying. Moisturize according to the needs of the skin. Mature skin types obviously needing more hydration especially around areas prone to wrinkling like the eyes and mouth. Antioxidants A,C and E, and fish oils are highly beneficial to the skin's elasticity and protection from the sun.

Sensitive Skin Types should use hypoallergenic, fragrance-free products. Avoid chemical sunscreens that release free radicals into the skin. Mild organic ingredients with an aloe vera base tend to work the best. Essential Oils also are very effective in the treatment of sensitive skins such as Lavender, chamomile,

Everyday elements such as the sun and wind can dry your skin to the point that it hurts. To prevent this, wear sunscreen when you plan to be outdoors for an extended period of time. An SPF factor of 15 should suffice. Pick a sunscreen that has aloe and moisturizers in it. After being in the sun, apply a facial moisturizer that contains vitamin E. You can also apply this any time your face feels dry for all skin types. Sunscreen is one of the most important steps in preventing cancer and premature age.

Anthony Feliciano is a fun-loving aesthetician at Elephant Pharmacy in Berkeley, CA

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