It's a fact that ever since the pandemic lockdowns began, and even now, when social distancing and quarantining measures are in place, personal grooming has gone for a toss. As far as men are concerned, we've seen some concerns being raised about haircare (or the lack of it). But we haven't heard too much about skincare from men, which, well, is the cornerstone of good grooming.
Perhaps no one expects men to talk about skincare. But if there's one thing that the pandemic should have taught the strong, silent types, it's that all forms of self-care is important. It's simple, skincare is important, and it's important that everyone familiarises themselves with it. Apart from lessening breakouts and irritation—because of how often you must wear a mask now—skin that’s well-cared for will age more gracefully. And, of course, taking care of yourself makes you feel good. A skincare routine helps, even if you’re indoors. The most basic and essential routine you can follow, calls for using a cleanser, toner, moisturiser, and sunscreen (CTMS).
The cleanser rids your face of dirt, grime and excess oil that clog your pores, and in effect, reduces the efficacy of the other products. It's like cleaning your canvas before you paint on it. Toners exfoliate away any dead skin cells that have built up on your skin over time and lets fresh skin cells help your face shine. The moisturiser hydrates and protects your skin as a barrier from dirt. And, lastly, sunscreen protects your skin cells from the mutative UV rays of the sun. The last two are better understood as forcefields.
When it comes to skincare, it’s important to take your age into consideration, because not all faces, or their skin types, are the same. With age, the face’s oil production slows down, and wrinkles become more common. It becomes important to cater to these changes with sound understanding of your skin type and a flexible approach. This is apart from the most essential skincare routine you should follow.
Lounge breaks down these skin changes according to the three prime decades of your life, based on advice from three leading dermatologists.
Ages: 18 – 30
For men in this age bracket, there are three typical concerns. They are still dealing with a lot of oiliness in their skin. This can result in clogged pores and acne. “In your early twenties, you are still expecting some testosterone activity in your body, which is gradually calming down. Of course, wearing the mask has led to an increase in irritation”, says Dr. Chytra V Anand, founder, and CEO of Kosmoderma Clinics. Topically, she recommends a neem or a salicylic acid face-wash, preferably at night. It cleans out the excess oils and mildly exfoliates and softens the skin. “When you get stressed, your immunity weakens, and your skin is the first immunity-barrier on your body, so that’s where you will see the first its signs through acne,” she adds. Wearing sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun—even indoors—is important too, since sun damage can weaken your skin’s foundation and affect how you age.
Ages: 31 – 45
During the middle-age phase, skin cell renewal slows down since proteins like collagen and elastin in it weaken. “The skin starts to become drier and fine lines, pigmentation and skin-spots begin to appear. There are also other problems, such as adult acne, seborrheic dermatitis and rosacea”, says Dr. Rinky Kapoor, cosmetic dermatologist and dermato-surgeon at The Esthetics Clinics. Apart from cleansers tea tree oil, salicylic or glycolic acid, Dr. Kapoor recommends a hydrating cream-based face-wash for drier skin. Since open pores are a common problem now, it’s good to use a toner to assist your exfoliating efforts. Even simple cool rose water is a great substitute as opposed to chemical ones. Your moisturisers should contain thicker, creamier ingredients such as shea butter, as opposed to the lighter ones people use in their twenties. Retinol products can help boost collagen in your skin as well, keep its surface looking clean, and treat signs of ageing.
Ages: 46 and over
Many men between these ages are not particular about their skin’s condition. Dr. Manu Saksena, dermatologist at Apollo Spectra Hospital, Delhi, says, “In fact, most men expect that there would’ve been reasonable collateral damage to the skin, and they take it in their stride. A few of my patients believe that a few grey hairs and rough skin might actually build character.” That rugged, aged look might work for some men, sure. But at this point, if you have been taking good care of skin since your twenties or thirties, you won’t need to add much more to your routine. The two pillars that remain important are moisturisation and sunscreen, especially since the body’s ability to stimulate collagen and elasticity have been declining and it's become drier and scalier. Even if you haven’t taken care of your skin previously, it’s never too late to start with a CTMS routine that’s specific for your skin type. Invest particularly in products that are heavily moisturising and contain Vitamin C, which can help tackle UV damage and pigmentation problems. For a more drastic approach, you might want to do some research on dermatological procedures, such as laser treatments, botox, and fillers.