Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

When People Say the Following … April 19, 2012

As my fellow estheticians know we hear a lot of different statements about skincare from a lot of different people.  People share a lot about their lives when they come in for treatments.  I also get an earful about skincare practices, ideas, products, and convictions.  Of course I’ve developed a number of pet peeves about what people tell me.  Let me share:

  • “I only wear sunscreen when I’m outside during the summer” and “I don’t need to use sunscreen if I’m only driving in my car a short distance”  So many people seem surprised to find out that you need sunscreen 365 days a year – no matter what the weather or how long you are going to be outside.  Sunscreen needs to be a part of your daily skincare routine – no questions asked.  It that daily incidental sun exposure that really adds up and ages your skin.
  • “I never exfoliate”   Everyone needs to exfoliate – you just need to find the right exfoliant for your skin.  Personally I prefer lotion or serum exfoliants that you leave on the skin to scrubs since most scrubs are harsh and only remove surface dead skin cells.  On the other hand most exfoliating lotions or serums contain ingredients that not only exfoliate the skin but rejuvenate it as well.  Two brands that I like for exfoliating lotions are Epionce and Paula’s Choice.
  • “All skincare products make me break out” – this comment peeves me because it just can’t be true since there are so many skincare products out there.  If skincare products cause you irritation of any kind you need to go on a “skincare diet”.  Stop using all products and then add products back one by one so you can clearly determine if a certain product or ingredient is causing you problems.  There are also numerous skincare products on the market for sensitive skin so really there is something out there for everyone.
  • “I broke out right away when I used a product so I stopped using it”  Your skin needs time to adjust to new products, and you have to give yourself at least three months of trying products before you can determine if they are really effective or not.  If you are acne prone you can experience more breakouts at the beginning of using new products since new products can have a purging effect on the skin.  This means that the ingredients in the products bring to the surface breakouts or clogged pores lurking just below the surface of the skin.  This is something that is not uncommon when you are acne prone.  Don’t give up on new products before you give them enough time to work.  Try new products for at least 3 months before you give up on them.
  • “I don’t wash my face at night” and “I forget to take off my make-up at night”  I hear these statements a lot, and I can sympathize since I know how tired one can get by the end of a long day.  But despite how tired you are do make the effort to remove your make-up and wash your face at the end of the day.  This one simple step can be a life saver for your skin.

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New Year’s Skincare Resolutions December 29, 2011

With the end of 2011 rapidly approaching this would be a good time to take stock of both your skincare products and routine and see if either are in need of a change.  Now a while back I wrote a post  that basically said if your skincare regime is working for you there is no need to change it up.  I still stand by that post and everything I wrote in it.  So what I am proposing here isn’t a total change of your skincare products but a reevaluation of  your skincare products and routine for the new year just to make sure everything is working for you.

To begin ask yourself a few questions:

  • What are your top skincare concerns and are both the products you are using and your daily routine addressing those concerns?  For instance if sun damage is bothering you are you using a lightening or brightening serum daily and applying enough sunscreen in order to prevent more damage?
  • Are you making sure that you are preventing future skin damage on a daily basis?  If you aren’t using an antioxidant serum every morning now is the time to start.  And once again sunscreen is a must daily.
  • Have you updated your skincare regime to reflect the weather?  For instance in the winter most people need a moisturizer if they live in a colder climate.  In the summer you might need to add a shine blocker to your routine.
  • Are you protecting all your skin?  A lot of people neglect their hands and chests.  Invest in a hand cream with spf in it so that protecting your hands from sun damage becomes super easy.  Be sure to remember to bring all your skincare products down your neck and chest when applying them morning and night.

Also be sure to look at expiration dates on all skincare products (if they have them) especially your sunscreen.  Throw out all products that are passed their expiration date, that have changed color, or separated.  This includes make-up as well.  Make sure you clean your make-up brushes often; I recommend once a week, especially if you have acne.  Make-up brushes can harbor lots of bacteria.

Resist the urge to buy the newest skincare products on the market or the products featured in the most ads.  Make a New Year’s resolution to research before purchasing products.

Further Reading:


Should You Get A Sonic Cleansing Brush? December 26, 2011

About two months ago I started using a Clarisonic Mia cleansing brush in the evenings to remove my make-up.  From time to time clients have asked me what I think of these cleansing brushes, and I also knew that many estheticians use the professional version of the brush during facials.  I even heard from the nurse at a dermatology practice that I should be using one.  The reason I waited so long to try one of the brushes for myself was the cost since the cheapest version is over a $100.  (Keep in mind that Olay does make a much cheaper version of the brush)  Eventually I saved up my credit card points and got my brush.

If you read women’s fashion magazines regularly, like I do, you will inevitably come across mention of Clarisonic brushes and how great they are.  Touted as the best way to remove make-up and truly cleanse the skin these sonic cleaning brushes have a loyal following.  But do you really need to use one?

What Are The Benefits of a Sonic Cleaning Brush?

According to the Clarisonic website using one of their brushes:

  • Leaves skin feeling and looking healthier
  • Removes 6X more makeup than cleansing with hands alone
  • Helps skin care products absorb better
  • Pores appear smaller
  • Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reduces oily areas, dry skin patches and blemishes
  • Gentle enough for use twice a day
  • Soft, non-abrasive for different skin types

Without proper cleansing, pollutants, oil and bacteria accumulate on the skin, clogging pores and causing blackheads, blemishes and dullness. This prevents serums and moisturizers from performing to their fullest potential.

Sonic cleansing better prepares your skin for skin care products. Compared to manual cleansing, using the Clarisonic Skin Cleansing System allows for up to 61% better absorption of Vitamin C. Better absorption allows creams, serums and moisturizers to work their best.

Additionally, Clarisonic says that their brush is good for all skin types and is gentle enough for people with acne and rosacea and can be used twice daily.

And how does it work exactly?  This is the same sort of technology like your electric toothbrush (and indeed the company that created the Clarisonic brush first created a sonic toothbrush).  The sonic frequencies from the brush create 300 movements per seconds, once again according to the company website, in order to remove make-up and dirt more efficiently from the skin.  These movements also whisk away dead skin cells sitting on top of your face and this, of course, makes your skin feel softer.

But Is A Sonic Cleansing Brush Really For Everyone?

So after reading the Clarisonic website or a fashion magazine article about the brush you probably want to go out and buy one immediately.  But I want to caution my readers about a few things before you spend your hard-earned money on a sonic cleansing brush.

Dr. Leslie Baumann pointed out a few interesting things about such cleansing brushes on a post on her Yahoo! blog:

… anyone with sensitive skin – and acne-prone skin is indeed sensitive – should actually avoid these vigorous scrubbing products, which can exacerbate inflammation.

Rosacea and the tendency to experience skin allergies are further indications that you should not be using an abrasive exfoliant or a vigorous cleansing brush. Similarly, anyone with very dry skin should avoid exfoliating, which may compromise an already impaired skin barrier and worsen dryness.

That is not to say, though, that facial brushes are universally bad. Resistant types in particular can benefit from more intensive exfoliation. Remember, in my skin-typing system, “resistant” is the opposite of “sensitive” – but resistant types have their own set of concerns:

Because their skin is literally thicker, they have to work a little harder to get beneficial ingredients to penetrate. And one great way to do that is by sloughing off dead skin cells before applying other products.

 So if you have skin that can tolerate facial brushes, there’s no reason not to use them. Just be aware that they offer no more benefits than a good facial scrub (I love the Alchimie Forever Excimer Plus Gentle Antioxidant Refining Scrub, for example), although they may be a little more fun! When you consider some of the brushes out there, though – like Clarisonic’s Skincare Brush, the gold standard of facial brushes that retails for almost $200 – fun might not be worth the premium.

Paula Begoun has even harsher words for these brushes.  Here are some highlights from her Beautypedia review of the Clarisonic cleansing brush:

We’re not saying that Clarisonic’s brush is not a good way to clean skin. What we are saying is that it is not the only nor is it the best way to clean skin or remove makeup. Without question, it is needlessly expensive and not something anyone should go into debt for out of concern their skin is not getting clean enough. Besides, if you want to see what all the fuss is about, you can check out the similar cleansing brush system from Olay’s Pro-X brand (this retails for around $30).The only other published piece of information about Clarisonic simply described how the sonic cleansing worked to provide consistent results and help loosen debris trapped in pores due to the oscillating brush head. Sounds promising, but the piece was written by Pacific Bioscience Laboratories, the company that, you guessed it, sells Clarisonic (Source: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, June 2006, pages 181-183).This brush will certainly help clean skin (and for that reason it deserves a Good rating), but it won’t reduce wrinkles, pore size, or blemishes–at least not to a degree where you’ll be glad you splurged on the system. The basic system includes two brush heads (for normal and sensitive skin); a Delicate brush head is available for separate purchase (all brush heads cost $25 apiece). The Delicate brush is recommended for very sensitive skin; however, regardless of brush head chosen, I’d use caution if you’re attempting to use Clarisonic and have rosacea or sensitive skin.NOTE: If you decide to use this or any other cleansing brush on your skin, please be gentle. Overzealous usage can lead to inflammation that can hurt your skin’s healing process. Pay attention to how your skin responds and discontinue (or reduce frequency of) use if you see signs of irritation.

 So Should You Buy A Sonic Brush?

I think that if you wear a lot of make-up daily or have very thick and/or oily skin then investing in a sonic cleansing brush is a good idea.  If you have rosacea and/or papules and pustules from acne (or from severe rosacea) then I don’t think a sonic cleansing brush is for you.

My experience with my Clarisonic Mia has been interesting.  The first time I used it I was shocked by how soft my skin felt immediately after using it.  But when I went to use my brush the following morning my skin turned red and felt irritated.  Now I use my brush every evening, and only in the evening, with my gentle cleanser to remove my make-up and then I cleanse with my GloTherapeutics salicylic acid cleanser.  I’ve wondered for a long time if I am really removing all my make-up completely at the end of the day before bedtime.  There are so many make-up products, especially foundations, that are close to impossible to remove.  Since I strongly believe in making sure your face is properly cleansed at the end of the day, I felt like a Clarisonic brush would be the perfect way to make sure that was accomplished.  I am glad that I invested in a Clarisonic because now I feel that I am truly removing all my make-up in the evening, but having said that I am making sure that I don’t over do it with the brush as well.  Even though I have oily, resistant skin I am only using my brush once a day, and I use the sensitive skin brush head for the brush.

If you own a Clarisonic brush, or one of the similar brushes, please share your experience below.

Further Reading:

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Creating a Skincare Routine: Nighttime December 15, 2011

Your nighttime skincare routine doesn’t need to be complicated, just make sure to keep a few things in mind when planning out your steps.  Before you go to bed make sure your skin is thoroughly cleansed and take the opportunity to treat your skin for any ongoing skincare issues.  This treatment could be an anti-aging treatment or a hyperpigmentation treatment; it just depends on what your skin needs.

First and foremost, you MUST cleanse your skin and remove your make-up before going to bed.  I cannot emphasize enough how important this step is to making sure your skin is healthy and beautiful.  If you wear make-up be sure to do a double cleanse in the evening.  Make-up can be very stubborn to remove so when you wash your face twice you can be sure you’ve removed everything.  Your first cleanse could be with a make-up wipe or a gentle cleanser and your second cleanse, if you need it, could be with a salicylic or glycolic acid cleanser.

Before bed is also the right time to exfoliate.  How your exfoliate is up to you; you can use a scrub, a serum, or a cleanser with added acids to it.  Exfoliate at least twice a week.  Some people can even exfoliate every night.

Next treat your skin.  If uneven skin tone and dark spots are your main skincare issue apply a serum that will help fade spots.  If fine lines and wrinkles are your main concern use a prescription Retin-A or OTC retinol to smooth skin.  If you suffer from breakouts apply benzoyl peroxide at night.

Moisturize if your face feels tight and/or dry.  Not everyone needs a moisturizer at night (or during the day).  Go by how your skin feels in order to determine if you need a moisturizer.  There is no needs to buy a specific moisturize labeled “nighttime” if you already have a moisturizer that you like.  Howver, if your daytime moisturizer has spf in it I would certainly save that for daytime use only.  Not that the sunscreen will hurt your face at night, but for the simple reason that you are wasting product meant for daytime by applying it at night.

Consider sleeping on your back.  It is actually true that sleeping on your side or stomach can lead to deeper wrinkles.  A satin pillowcase may also help keeps wrinkles at bay.  If you wake-up in the morning with puffy eyes or bags underneath your eyes sleep with your head slightly propped up in order to allow fluid to properly drain instead of pooling underneath your eyes and giving you bags.

And in order to look your best in the morning make sure you get enough beauty sleep.  Getting plenty of sleep really can make a difference in your appearance.

Sources and Further Reading:

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Creating a Skincare Routine: Morning December 12, 2011

Creating a solid morning skincare routine doesn’t need to be a burden or time consuming.  Believe me, I know how pressed for time one can be first thing in the morning.  Keep one word in mind when planning your morning skincare routine: protection.  I’ll repeat that word – protection.

Do you need to cleanse your face first thing in the morning?  Not necessarily.  If your skin is dry, tight, or sensitive when you get up consider just splashing your face with lukewarm water in the morning.  If you have active breakouts try using a cleanser with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide in the morning.  If you don’t fall into either of the above categories then use a gentle cleanser in the morning.  Gentle cleanser is fine for combination skin as well as normal, normal to oily, or normal to dry skin.

Use an antioxidant serum.  Which serum you choose to use if completely up to you – just use one!  Antioxidant serums fight free radical damage caused by the sun and pollution, are anti-inflammatory, and help boost the efficiency of your sunscreen.  There is no best antioxidant, contrary to what cosmetic companies will have you believe.  There are so many great ingredients and protects out there so choose one that fits your skincare type and your budget.

Moisturize if your skin feels tight and dry.  Not everyone needs a moisturize daily; decide if you need one by how your skin feels.

Lastly, before applying your make-up apply sunscreen.  Sunscreen is a MUST year round for EVERYONE!

Sources and Further Reading:

Related Posts:


No Excuses: Everyone Can Easily Care For Their Skin July 14, 2011

Estheticians hear a lot of things while we are taking care of our clients.  One thing we always ask clients the first time they come to us for a facial, or sometimes every time they come to us for a treatment, is what is their home skincare regime – products, steps, etc.  I cannot tell you how many times a client tells me that they don’t wash their face everyday or do little to nothing to their skin at home.  Not caring for your skin twice a day at home is such a missed opportunity.  Everyone should care for their skin twice a day – no excuses.  A home skincare regime doesn’t need to be confusing or complicated.  It doesn’t need to take up a lot of your time either.  Everyone needs to use just a few products a day – once again – no excuses!

I was pleased when I came across the following Prevention article – 5 Worst Skin Mistakes – which clearly explains why so many typical excuses people use to explain why they don’t care for their skin are just wrong.  Believe me – I’ve heard all these excuses too many times to count.  I like the article so much, and its online version is very concise, that I’ll copy it all here:

1.  I’m too tired to cleanse  “It’s been a long day, and the last thing I want to do is wash my face.”

Excuse Buster: The 2 minutes it takes to cleanse before bed helps ensure a fresh-faced look for years. “Sleeping with dirt, oil, and makeup on causes acne and enlarged pores,” says Audrey Kunin, MD, an associate clinical instructor of dermatology at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. To easily remove debris, keep no-rinse face wipes in your nightstand.

Try: Boots No7 Quick Thinking 4-in-1 Wipes ($7; Target) or Pond’s Clean Sweep Age Defying Wet Cleansing Towelettes ($6.50; CVS).

2.  SPF is for summer  “I don’t need sunscreen, it’s winter!”

Excuse Buster: Exposure to UVA rays, the primary culprit behind aging, happens all year long. And because they can penetrate glass, you’re susceptible even when you’re indoors, says Fredric Brandt, MD, a New York- and Miami-based dermatologist. The number one way to guard against this and keep skin looking youthful: Every day, use a sunscreen or moisturizer with an SPF 30 that’s labeled broad-spectrum. For the best protection, choose one that contains either avobenzone, Helioplex, Mexoryl, titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide.

3.  Products are too pricey   “Taking care of my skin costs too much.”

Excuse Buster: To save, shop at drugstores. Studies show that mass products are as effective as (and sometimes more than!) more expensive lines. “Look for active ingredients, not fancy labels,” says David E. Bank, MD, an associate professor of dermatology at Columbia University/Presbyterian Hospital. The most effective anti-agers include retinoids, AHAs, peptides, vitamin C, and hydrators such as hyaluronic acid.

4.  My efforts are futile  ” I’ve tried almost everything, and nothing seems to work.”

Excuse Buster: It can take at least 8 weeks to see the results of many ingredients, so give products time to deliver their benefits.

5.  My skin is too sensitive  “Exfoliating makes my face red and irritated.”

Excuse Buster: Getting rid of dead cells helps soften wrinkles and brighten skin, but aggressive scrubs can lead to redness and irritation. To slough safely, choose a chemical exfoliator, such as glycolic acid, or gentle cleansing beads. Avoid scrubs with an uneven texture, such as walnut shells. Exfoliate just once or twice a week; if you’re using an OTC or Rx retinoid or AHA, it alone provides sufficient skin sloughing.


One great point from the article is the fact that you need patience in order to see results from a new skincare routine.  Though the article states that it takes 8 weeks to see results, I typically tell my clients to wait 3 months before giving up on their new routine.  This is especially true when it comes to treating acne and hyperpigmentation.  There are absolutely no overnight cures for either of these skincare problems (and I hate the fact that so many beauty ads promise that there are!).  So don’t give up on your products unless you have really given them a chance.

Finding both the right products for your skin and establishing the right daily skincare routine for you might take some trial and error, but it certainly doesn’t have to take a lot of your time or money.

At the very least make sure you have the following products at home:

  • the correct cleanser for your skin type 
  • a treatment serum if you need one.  That could mean an anti-acne treatment or a serum that helps with hyperpigmentation
  • an exfoliant to use at least once a week.  This also doesn’t have to complicated.  You exfoliant could be a scrub or mask you simply apply during your shower twice a week.  Or even easier – a serum or lotion you apply before bed.
  • A moisturizer if you need one
  • A sunscreen – this is not negotiable!  Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs sunscreen year round.

And if you really want to break it down even further – wash your face twice a day and use sunscreen in the morning (and don’t forget to reapply throughout the day).  Now – everyone can perform those two steps, right?

Believe it or not, though I definitely do not do this myself, I do like the recommendation above that if you are really tired at night (or let’s face it – lazy) to use wipes to remove your make-up and cleanse your face.  I even have a client that uses baby wipes at night.  Baby wipes are super gentle so I have no objection to their use on your face.  One of the worst things you can do for your skin is to go to sleep with your make-up on and without washing your face.  Even if you don’t wear make-up just think of all the dirt and grime from pollution that has built-up on your face during the day.  Ugh!  You definitely want to get all of that off.

As for not spending a lot of money on skincare products – it is definitely true that you can find effective skincare products at your local drugstore.  In order to make sure you are buying the best products be sure to do a little research before blindly buying (use my blog as a guide, for instance  🙂 ).  Be sure not to be swayed too much by ads in glossy magazines.  Those ads get away with as much as they can legally – their claims are far from accurate.


Further Reading:

If you still have questions about product choice or steps in creating a home skincare regime please use some of my older posts as guides –

And here is a link Paula Begoun’s advice on how to put together a skincare routine.  Begoun heavily pushes her own products along with her recommendations and though her products are good I wish her advice would come without the sales pitch.  I also think that her skincare routine could definitely be abridged if you felt like it.  Once again – use Begoun’s advice as a guide not a be all and end all.  (Please see my post Paula Begoun – Friend or Foe to the Skincare Consumer for my take on Begoun, her advice, and products)


Do You Need to Wait In-Between Applying Skincare Products? July 4, 2011

Should your morning or evening skincare routine be a waiting game?  Is there really a need to wait a certain period of time between applying your skincare products?

The answer is both yes and no.

Yes, you need to wait

Why?  First off, if the product itself in its instructions tells you to wait after applying it and before applying another product I would follow those instructions.  For instance, once I had a face primer that said to wait about 10 or 15 minutes after application before applying your make-up.  It took that long for the product to be absorbed.  It also was really annoying, and I ended up giving the product away.  So most of the time when a product’s instructions tell you to wait before applying anything else it is usually because that product needs to fully absorb into the skin and applying anything on top of it would hinder that absorption.  If that absorption doesn’t happen the next products you apply won’t go on as you want them to.  Products can even flake or roll of the skin.  Or if you apply a wet product on skin that is already damp or wet from a previous product you could end up with a big mess. 

Another reason for waiting in-between applying skincare products can be for comfort.  I’ll explain.  It could be that if you apply one product on top of another quickly you could experience uncomfortable tingling.  If you do experience tingling after applying skincare products one on top of the other quickly than apply one at a time and take a moment to do another activity in-between applying each product – such as brushing your teeth, putting in your contacts, getting dressed, etc.  It can be frustrating to have to apply your products piece meal but if the end result is comfortable and beautiful then it is worth it.

No, you don’t need to wait

If you use skincare products that absorb quickly into your skin then just go ahead and apply them one on top of the other without waiting.  As long as you don’t experience any discomfort and have any bad side effects like product pilling or rolling off your face than go ahead and apply quickly.


A few general skincare product application tips:


  • Apply the products with the thinnest consistency first, like serums, before moisturizers and creams.
  • Apply products with the least amount of color before those with more color.
  • Apply skincare treatment products, like antioxidant serums or retinols, directly to your skin after cleansing, then moisturizer, sunscreen, and finally your make-up.


For more skincare product application tips see Allure‘s article about how to best apply skincare products.  Or check out Paula Begoun’s advice on the same subject.


Reasons to Remove Your Make-Up and Wash Your Face April 14, 2011

It always surprises me how many people admit to me that they don’t wash their face at night.  They admit that they are either too tired or uninterested in taking one minute of their time before bed to remove their make-up and wash their face.  Personally, and this won’t come as a surprise, I simply cannot imagine going to bed without removing my make-up and washing my face.  Certainly both removing your make-up and washing your face shouldn’t be seen as a burden.  Instead it should be an automatic part of your pre-bedtime ritual.

I wrote a post in the past – How to Properly Remove Your Make-up – which includes tips on how to remove your make-up (as the title of the post explains).  I still find it hard to remove my eye make-up really well.  My go-to eye make-up remover has become jojoba oil because it not only gently removes my eye make-up but also moisturizes that area of my face in the process.  As a matter of fact I sometimes I use jojoba oil as a make-up remover for all my make-up since it is gentle, moisturizing, and won’t clog pores.  (For more information on jojoba oil see my post Ingredient Spotlight: Jojoba Oil)  I’ve also written a post in the past about how to properly wash your face, Is There a Correct Way to Wash Your Face?, which explained different ideas about how and when to wash your face.  But now I would like to add to all of that previous information and give all those people out there who don’t remove their make-up or wash their faces at night lots of reasons to reconsider.

You need to remove your make-up at night so that your make-up doesn’t sit on your face and clog your pores.  According to Dr. Howard Sobel, quoted in the April issue of Allure, not removing your make-up at the end of the day will mean that go to sleep with lots of free radicals, caused by pollution that is clinging to your make-up, on your skin.  These free radicals contribute to early aging and cellular damage.  As you go about your day dirt, residue, and pollution all collect on your face.  You need to remove all of those pollutants before going to bed.

Washing your face doesn’t need to be complicated.  Keep a few things in mind:

  • Don’t use a cleanser that is too harsh for your face.  You NEVER want to have that squeaky clean feeling.  That means that you have gone overboard with cleansing.
  • Be sure to wash with your facial cleanser for 30 seconds.
  • Be sure to work your cleanser all over your face.  Make sure you cleanse from the browline, into the hairline, and past your jawline.  Make sure the cleanser reaches all the way to the sides of your ears and slightly below your ears as well.  And don’t forget your neck.

If you currently don’t remove your make-up and/or wash your face at night please rethink that decision.  Investing 30 seconds in yourself each evening should be doable for everyone.  Think about those 30 seconds as some well needed “me time”.

Sources and Further Reading:


Skincare for Men February 8, 2011

So do men really need different skincare products than women?  Simply put – the answer is no.  Do men have different skincare needs than women?  Sometimes yes. 

Men can have oilier skin than women because their hormones tend to produce more oil in the facial oil glands than women, but if you shave daily you can fix that problem.  Actually shaving daily exfoliates the skin so you can even end up drying out your skin.  Furthermore, shaving cream is actually a form of soap so its use can lead to dry skin with men.  But overall, skin is skin, and men and women will have the same skin issues and problems.

Having said that there are a few skincare issues that men face that women usually don’t have to deal with.  One problem many men have are ingrown hairs on their face and neck from shaving.  Men can also have irritated or red skin from shaving.  Combat this problem by using a pad or lotion with salicylic acid in it to gently exfoliate the area with the ingrown hairs. 

Men have a tendency to wash their faces with bar soap.  Bar soap is very alkaline and as such it is very drying to the skin.  Instead use a gentle cleanser once or twice a day to wash your face.

Two other things that men seem to shy away from (though I really can’t figure out why) are – sunscreen and moisturizer.  If you want to stay looking young and want to protect yourself from skin cancer and sun damage you need sunscreen on a daily basis, year round – not just during the summer when you are going to be outside.  Choose a sunscreen that is formulated for your skin type or use a moisturizer with spf if your skin tends to be on the dry side.  As for moisturizer – if you have dry skin, anywhere on your body, use a moisturizer to restore balance and softness to your skin.  I can guarantee you that no one wants to shake someone’s hand who has dry and scaly skin.  There is such an easy solution to this problem – moisturize!


Can Men Use Skincare Products Marketed Toward Women?


Yes!  Let me say that again – yes!  Skincare products marketed toward men are simply that – a marketing ploy.  Men usually want straightforward looking packaging and labeling and little to no fragrance in their skincare products.  The skincare product lines that claim to be for men are just packaged differently than those for women – the ingredients are essentially the same.  Usually men want their skincare regime to clear, concise, and not to have too many steps.  This can be achieved with any skincare line.  Of course men who shave daily might seek out specific products for that grooming task and use products that are marketed just for that use.  (By the way, there are even make-up lines for men)  Bottom line – product lines marketed toward men are simply trying to sell something to men that they feel comfortable using both publicly and privately. 


Further Reading and Product Recommendations


Does Your Ethnicity Affect Your Skin? August 23, 2010

Skin is skin, right?  Well not quite actually.  It turns out that different skin colors and varying ethnicities sometimes do have different skincare needs since certain skin colors could be more prone to particular skin conditions and problems.

I was prompted to write this post when I noticed that both Allure and New Beauty recently published articles (Skin Deep August 2010 and  Skin Color Determines How You Will Age Summer-Fall 2010 respectively) that addressed skincare concerns just this way. 

Allure does a nice job of explaining the premise for treating skin according to its ethnicity:

In a society that strives not to judge people by the color of their skin, dermatologists have good reason to do just that.  Skin color can influence how skin will age and heal.  And “even beyond color, recent research shows that race and ethnicity play an important role in how the skin will respond to products and procedures,” says Jessica Wu, clinical instructor of dermatology at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.  Says Susan Taylor, founding director of the Skin of Color Center at St. Luke’s and Roosevelt hospitals in New York City, “in the future, as we continue to learn more about genetic differences, we’ll be able to make treatments specific to certain racial or ethnic groups.”  (page 145)


So what should you be looking out for skin wise if we break things down according to ethnicity?

  • African-American/Black/Dark Skin:  Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation can be a problem for this skin color.  When skin ages it usually sags and droops first before fine lines and wrinkles appear. 
  • White/Fair Skin:  Sun damage, fine lines, and skin cancer are a concern for this skin color.  The lighter your skin is the earlier you can show signs of aging. 
  • Asian Skin:  This skin color can be sensitive and hyperpigmentation is a big concern as well. 
  • Olive Skin – Latinas, Mediterraneans, and South Asian:  Melasma and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation are concerns for this skin color.  A very diverse group of people fits into this skin color category so skincare concerns can be varied and can include sagging, fine lines, and rosacea.


It goes without saying that no matter what your skin color you’ll need daily sun protection.  While lighter skin can be more susceptible to skin cancer EVERYONE is at risk for skin cancer.


Sources and Further Reading


Besides the Allure and New Beauty articles mentioned above look at these other sources as well:


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