When it comes to dermatology, Dallas-area skin specialist Dr. Ellen Turner sees a lot of women at her practice—but that doesn’t mean men aren’t also in need of skin care. If fact, the male demographic is on the rise when it comes to seeking skin treatments, though there is still plenty of room for improvement. A late-2017 study published in a special issue of Dermatologic Surgery revealed that more than 800 men across all races and ethnicities admitted to not practicing regular habits that would preserve the look and health of their skin. Most notably, those admissions included a lack of sunscreen.
With that in mind, Dr. Turner compiled a list of five things men should know about their skin, especially as days continue to lengthen and the summer sun starts to shine on more exposed skin than is typically seen in winter months.
1) Sunscreen is Your Friend
Men should know this. In fact, men likely do know this. But it obviously bears repeating: Sunscreen is a must. Not only does the barrier against harmful ultraviolet rays protect the skin against early signs of aging—such as wrinkles due to loss of hyaluronic acid and elastin—but it also provides for protection against radiation that contribute to skin cancers that typically appear in sun-exposed areas.
Sunscreen should be applied not just every time someone heads outdoors, but daily, whether the sky is blue or overcast. For best effect, it should be slathered on the skin 15 minutes prior to any sun exposure, as that’s how long it takes to absorb into the skin. A new layer should be applied every two hours, as well as any time the existing layer may have been washed off, whether by pool water, the ocean’s waves, or a healthy amount of sweat. Dr. Turner recommends keeping sunscreen near the toothpaste as a reminder to wear it every day. Remember: Most accumulation of light over time comes from driving or riding in the car, so daily use is critical.
Also, if men already have lines and skin discolorations from sun damage, they should consider layering two sunscreens, one on top of the other.
2) Have a Healthy Relationship With Water
Since aquatic activities go hand in hand with summer, many men find their skin soaked on a regular basis. It may seem counterintuitive, but that can actually lead to the skin drying out. A constant cycle of wetting and drying can leave skin dehydrated and brittle, especially if chlorine is later washed off with more harsh cleansers in the shower.
Healthy skin can be gently moisturized with products intended to give it what it needs—without astringent chemicals. Another way to promote proper hydration is drinking plenty of water throughout the day. It’s not just to quench thirst. A well-hydrated body is one able to keep skin pliant and smooth.
3) Keep Away From Toxins
Summer parties may invite a casual attitude toward activities that would otherwise be off the table, but one in particular—smoking—should stay on the “don’t” list. In addition to health problems associated with the lungs and more, nicotine smoke can cause skin discolorations, as well as constrict blood vessels. If blood doesn’t flow as easily, the skin can’t stay as healthy as it needs to be.
4) Get Plenty of Sleep
Speaking of parties, a late night of fun may sound appealing, but skin tends to pay the price. Nighttime, while the body is at rest, is when the skin works to heal itself from the various injuries and breakdowns of the day. A lack of sleep can hinder that healing, as well as further inhibit proper blood flow. If collagen, hyaluronic acid, elastin, and other beneficial components of skin creak down faster than they are replaced, wrinkles and other signs of aging can more easily form.
5) Visit a Dermatologist
Summer is as good a time as any to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist, who can do an all-over skin check to help identify areas that may warrant a closer look to mitigate the risk of developing a serious skin cancer problem. Beyond health issues, a dermatologist can also recommend skin care tips customized to a man looking to look his best.
For more information about anything mentioned here, contact dermatologist Dr. Ellen Turner in the Dallas area. Call 214.373.7546 or send a message online.