As the awareness about men’s skin issues and skincare increases among Indian men, we decided to decode some of the most commonly-experienced problems. We got the industry’s best skin specialists and professionals for inputs.
Volumes have been written on acne, especially among adult men, given that it is normal among teenagers. While the known causes of adult acne do not differ much from teenage acne, there are a few lifestyle-oriented triggers too. One of the main causes of adult acne is the use of oily, greasy hair products, which can clog pores, causing acne. Another reason that could flare up adult acne is the use of certain steroids, which some men use to bulk up muscles.
We got in touch with a cosmetic physician and skin expert Dr Jamuna Pai, who says that standard over-the-counter medications do not work for adult acne. “Topical therapy is more robust and potent because of the excessive oiliness and thickness of the skin. Use of antibiotics in male acne gives satisfactory results. Vitamin A can help in chronic cases, but reducing it and tackling permanent scarring. There are also chemical peels to treat the existing acne and prevent scarring; lasers also can treat scars. Micro-needling is another way to heal acne scars,” says Dr Pai, who also recommends that men should look for non-greasy, oil-free products to alleviate the existing condition.
Men seem to face a host of problems related to shaving, the most common being shaving-aggravated flare-ups or bumps. First things first, the question: is it better to shave against the grain or in the direction of the hair growth? While shaving against the grain does give you a closer shave and a cleaner look, it can lead to a host of skin issues. On shaving against the grain, the hair tends to grow inwards and hence causes razor bumps, itching, and redness on the shaved areas. Secondly, use warm water to clean the razor, that helps.
”Don’t be too casual about your shaving routine, as it can badly affect your skin,” says Dr Kiran Lohia, Delhi-based wellness and skincare specialist at Isyaderm, who gives shaving guidelines to her male patients. “It is important to sterilise your razor daily to avoid infecting the area. Use a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil.” Dr Lohia also recommends a home remedy for shaving bumps, “Take a tiny amount of aloe vera gel and add a tiny drop of benzoyl peroxide 2.5% mixed with Vaseline petroleum jelly, once a day – that works wonders in soothing your skin. Also, don’t forget to use a mild moisturiser and sunblock in the shaved area.”
Acne Scars and Spots
This term is often used incorrectly. A scar is when the collagen at the base of the skin gets damaged, and a pit is formed. People often mistake post-acne spots for scars. Those are referred to as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). Therefore, to get the right treatment for this, men first need to determine whether they have an acne scar or PIH. We called on dermatologist Dr Nirupama Parwanda at Zolie Skin Clinic, Delhi, who highlighted that this is a commonly faced men’s skin issue, which can be treated.
In the case of a spot, there is just a slight inflammation, no damage is caused in the collagen, and hence there is no texture damage. “If there is a spot or pigmentation, there are a few things you can do. Avoid sun exposure, which could aggravate the situation. Try to use skin brightening products, which will reduce melanin production. Look for ingredients like Kojic Acid, Alpha Arbutin, and Bio White.” Scarring, on the other hand, is a deeper damage, where the skin texture is affected. “To stimulate collagen, we need to create micro-injuries in the skin done by laser. This activates and stimulates the collagen, for the recovery of your scar,” says Dr Parwanda. One thing to be noted when it comes to scars is that they can be reduced, but they cannot be entirely removed.
Increased screen-time on your computer or television, fatigue, lack of sleep and stress are often the most common causes of dark circles and puffy eyes. Quite often, sun damage can also be the cause of it. Most skin specialists will recommend a few handy tips, mostly lifestyle-oriented. Keeping the area around your eyes moisturised is strongly recommended. Reducing screen exposure as much as possible, and getting lots of sleep is also important. Into your night routine, you can incorporate an under eye product that can not only lighten dark circles but also reduce puffiness.
Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex is a tried and tested products that visibly works on dark circles within three weeks. Kama Ayurveda’s Rejuvenating and Brightening Ayurvedic Night Cream is a great one-stop option to moisturise and work on dark circles.
Too little water, too much coffee, not enough sleep and too much sun exposure, coupled with regular wear and tear of the skin through shaving products often lead to chronic dryness of the skin. For that, lifestyle changes like consuming a minimum of three litres of water a day, using sun protection products, eating healthy, sleeping enough are prescribed. Ultra-hydrating products like Clinique’s Moisture Surge 72-hour auto replenishing hydrator as well as Phy’s In The Clear Superlight moisturiser or a much milder Cetaphil moisturiser work well.
All images: Courtesy Getty