If you’re new to it, the world of male grooming can be a bit like stepping into the gym for the first time.Technique is crucial, and without somebody there to spot you and offer guidance on how to get the most out of your routine, it’s easy to waste your time. So, consider us your personal trainer. But instead of building your biceps, we’ll be focusing on building your personal care regime so you can look and feel fresh every day.
You’ve probably heard people talking about skin types before. We’ve mentioned it already in this series. You’ll have seen the words ‘for dry skin’ on moisturisers, or cleansers designed for ‘oily’ skin. You might be aware of the normal/combination skin type, too. Figuring out which camp you fit into can help you cut down the amount of money you spend on products that aren’t right for you, and can help save your skin from spots and irritation.
Figuring out your skin type is actually pretty easy. You just need to pay attention to how your face feels after you wash it. Grab whatever soap you’re currently using, give your face a good wash, and then wait. If your skin feels dry for a few minutes, but then settles down within half an hour, you’re likely to have normal or combination skin. If it feels dry for longer than that, you have dry skin. If your skin feels oily, even after you’ve washed it, the chances are you have an oily skin type.
Also, pay attention to how your skin looks. If you have a lot of pimples and blackheads, you might have an oilier skin type. If you have enlarged pores on your nose and cheeks, you probably have combination skin. If you have flakiness or dry patches - well, you get the picture.
Oil + Water
Oily complexion often looks a little shiny, and will breakout fairly regularly. Men have a tendency to be oilier, because we have a thicker network of collagen and elastin, and we produce more oil through smaller sebaceous glands. It’s not all bad, though - oily skin is less prone to ageing, which means you can worry less about wrinkles. To look after oily skin, cleanse and exfoliate regularly with a treatment containing salicylic acid or retinol, and follow up with moisturiser.
You might still have dry patches even though you have oily skin. Moisturise these areas and make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. If you’re struggling with spots, the most important thing is not to pick or pop them - a squeezed spot takes much longer to heal, and might end up leaving a scar.
If you see a lot of rough, flaky or red areas when you look in the mirror, you probably have dry skin. You might be prone to itchy conditions like eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis, and you’re likely to experience feelings of tightness or discomfort, especially after cleansing or swimming. If you have dry skin, you need to look for ways to bring extra nourishment back, which you can do by introducing an ultra rich moisturiser before bed. Dryness is usually a lack of oil, not moisture, but extra hydration is the best solution. Search for a cleansing balm instead of a gel, and steer clear of anything that foams, because this will strip your skin of those nice natural oils.
Exfoliate once a week to get rid of the dead skin cells, and experiment with a weekly mask to restore the good oils. Wear SPF every day, even if you’re not leaving the house. Your skin is prone to ageing, so do what you can to protect it.
The Right Combination
This is one of the most common skin types to have - and you can spot it by the oily forehead and nose, with drier cheeks and occasional blemishes. This skin type is a little high maintenance, but you can probably get away with a simple routine of a refreshing daily cleanser and a weekly mask to draw out the impurities in your t-zone.
Balance your skin with products specifically formulated for combination skin, because you’ll experience the symptoms of both oily and dry skin at the same time. Look for treatments that are designed to control oil but still hydrate.
If you find that certain products can trigger your skin and cause redness or flare-ups, there’s a chance you have sensitive skin. The key here is to minimise damage by finding the right skincare options for you, and the first things to cut out are perfumed or allergenic products.
When you’re washing your face, use warm water, not hot. Find a mild cleanser and a light moisturiser, and pay attention to things that irritate your skin - cut them out of your routine completely. You’ll probably see good results with soothing and hydrating ingredients like chamomile, arnica and hyaluronic acid. Prioritise fragrance-skin skincare, and remember to apply SPF every day - sensitive skin tends to be thinner, and you want to make sure you don’t end up burnt.
Remember, our skin goes through changes as we age, as a result of stress, lack of sleep, or a change in diet. Even if you think you know what type of skin you have already, it might be worth checking in from time to time to make sure you’re still using the most effective skin products.