Grooming for Men
Male grooming is important for your health and involves more than just soap, water and a shave. Grooming for men is not the same as grooming for women as men are, after all, generally hairier, and the differences don't stop there. Men have thicker skin in some places, thinner in others and just as many sensitive spots that deserve careful treatment. With attention to just a few specifics, you'll have a solid plan for looking and feeling your best.
What exactly is male grooming?
Male grooming can mean anything from a haircut to a full body wax. Grooming can be a relaxing and cleansing experience, depending on the methods employed and results desired.
Let's start with the old-fashioned standard of grooming that concentrates on the head and face. A visit to your favorite barber for a trim is always a good way to boost spirits and confidence, but the more adventurous might go for the straight razor shave or the full facial exfoliation or moisturizing treatment. Many men's salons offer services far beyond the normal haircut, such as facial massage, hair treatment and beard styling. These treatments can be a real pick-me-up and help keep your face and hair looking their healthiest.
Grooming also extends to trimming or removing body hair, manicures or pedicures and good skin care. Some of these tasks are best left to a professional, but good grooming starts at home. Learning how to develop your grooming regimen can be a boon to good sexual health. Studies show a link between good grooming and good mental health as well. Bad personal hygiene or not prioritizing self-care can be a vicious cycle, leading to diminished health, self-image and self-confidence.
Skin care for men
Men's skin care is one of the most overlooked aspects of male grooming. According to a 2017 study, only 22 percent of men ages 18 or over in the United States practice a skincare routine. Our skin is as important as any other organ in our body and deserves specialized care, particularly as we age. Good skin care will keep your skin healthy, soft and younger-looking for longer. Skincare products with SPF can protect your skin from sun damage, slow or reverse the signs of aging and help you put your best face forward. There are several aspects to good skin care for men, but the basics are something every man should master for his self-care routine.
The first step is to determine what type of skin you have. Is your skin overly dry, oily or a combination? Is it sensitive to certain types of fabric or harsh cleansers? If you're unsure, a dermatologist can help answer this question for you. Determining what type of skin you have will help you choose skincare products that are right for you and make your routine easier to maintain and help keep your skin soft and healthy.
- Cleanser: The bar of body soap or bath gel in your shower is all wrong for your face. You need to find a gentle, unscented cleanser that matches your skin type. If you have oily skin, you want a cleanser that removes excess oil. If you have dry skin, you may want to try a soap with added moisturizer. If you have sensitive skin, you'll want to use a less harsh formula, as strong soaps can cause burning or irritation. If you can't find an over-the-counter formula that works for you, you may need to talk to a dermatologist about a prescription cleanser.
- Moisturizer: Moisturizer can help your skin stay soft, make fine lines and wrinkles disappear, and get rid of the tight or stretched feeling your skin takes on after a shower. The skin on a man's face is generally thicker than elsewhere to support hair growth and may respond differently to a formula designed for use on the body. Try to find a moisturizer that leaves your skin feeling soft without feeling greasy.
- Sunscreen: It's nearly impossible to overstate the importance of sunscreen for men's skin care. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, by age 65 men are twice as likely to develop melanoma than women of the same age. A survey conducted by the same organization found that men are simply less educated than women about skin cancer: 56 percent of men knew there was no such thing as a healthy tan, compared to 76 percent of women. These are surprising figures considering we've known for decades that sunscreen stops the harmful effects of UV radiation. Sunscreen should be worn daily, not just on the occasional trips to the beach or in warm weather. Make sure to use a less harsh formula for your face as opposed to your body and reapply throughout the day, especially when spending time outdoors.
These three steps will start you on the path to healthier, younger skin, and if you maintain your routine, you should see your skin staying healthy for years to come. If you have questions about the right skincare routine and products for you, a dermatologist is always the best source of information.
Men tend to grow thicker, longer hair in more places than women, and learning how to manage unwanted body hair is a critical step in a good grooming routine. Body grooming (sometimes called "manscaping") can be done with the same products you use for beard maintenance or facial shaving, but only up to a point. When it comes to managing hair in more sensitive areas, such as the testicles, you'll want to consider more specialized tools. You can do most of the work at home, but for some areas such as the back, you'll likely need a hand to help you get the results you want.
Personal preference determines those. If you're looking for Ken-doll smooth, depilatory creams are worth a look. They work by completely dissolving body hair and can keep your skin hair-free for several weeks, though we'd caution against using them on the testicles and other sensitive areas, as the skin around your groin can be thin and very sensitive. A good razor can be used on the shoulders, back of the neck, back and chest, but again, keep it away from the more tender areas.
When it comes to the hair around the penis and testicles, consider a body hair trimmer specifically designed for use in that area. It bears repeating: keep razors away from these soft spots. The skin in this area is incredibly thin, and as such, can be cut with the slightest flick of the wrist. When using a trimmer down here, start with the guard on the highest setting and slowly work your way down to a level you're comfortable with.
Waxing is also an option for complete hair removal. It's best to leave this technique to professionals as the chances of injuring yourself with hot wax or causing severe irritation are high if you've never waxed before. Get a recommendation for a good aesthetician and let them handle it for you. Your skin will thank you later.
Grooming as you age
As men grow older, wrinkles develop and deepen, and hair goes gray, migrates to strange places or falls out entirely. How you deal with these realities is a matter of personal preference, but you certainly have options for practicing good grooming, no matter how you choose to manage the changes.
Male pattern baldness affects 53 percent of men aged 40-49. With such a large number affected, it's no surprise there are myriad treatments and solutions available, from custom hairpieces to prescription medication. You can also try practical solutions, such as using hair products that thicken follicles, having your hair cut in a way that accentuates the thicker areas or simply accepting your fate and taking a razor to your head.
As hair leaves certain places, it grows more profusely in others. Nostril, ear, and eyebrow hair can grow thicker and coarser as men age. A good trimmer with multiple cutting heads designed for different spots can help you manage this unsightly and unwanted hair growth. Just be sure to be gentle around your ears and nose, as the skin can be thin and sensitive.
The best advice for any man of any age who is starting or reconsidering his grooming routine is to apply sunscreen every day. This one step can lower your risk of skin cancer by a huge percentage. You could even combine two of our recommended steps by choosing a moisturizer with sunscreen to keep your skin hydrated and protected. If you need guidance or specialized product recommendations, make an appointment with a dermatologist. In doing so, you are recognizing your value as a person who always puts his best face forward.