There are so many do’s and don’ts to remember when it comes to skincare, it’s hard to keep them all straight. For men, the whole concept on skincare is either alien or new, so for now, let’s focus on three of the worst things you can do for your skin – things that contribute the most damage to the overall health and luster of your skin.
Well it goes without saying that we all know the intrinsic dangers of smoking. But how does smoking affect the skin – the body’s largest organ?
The first thing we notice about the skin of a smoker is the lines that form around the eyes, forehead, upper lip, and the cheeks. That’s because nicotine from the smoke robs the capillaries in the face of oxygen. As a result, the skin of smokers develops more wrinkles and is drier skin than the skin of someone who does not smoke. In fact, clinical studies show that the skin of a regular smoker looks 10+ years older than non-smokers.
The lack of oxygen to the capillaries also affects the complexion which tends to look dull and lifeless – appearing more yellow or gray and less vibrant. The lack of well oxygenated blood that supplies the tiny capillaries depletes that fresh, bright, healthy look from a smoker’s complexion.
The bad news is that those exposed to second-hand smoke can also exhibit the same effects. So if you, or someone around you, is exposed to second hand smoke, the damage to the skin will be the same.
There is so much said about the harmful effects of overexposure to the sun, but it bears repeating. The sun can do massive damage – it can even be deadly. Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer deaths in America – and one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their life.
Apart from the risk of skin cancer, photo-aging, a term dermatologists use to describe the type of damage caused by exposure to the sun’s rays, is one of the worst things you can do to your skin. Photo-aging occurs over a period of years. Since most men avoid, or only use sunscreen occasionally, repeated exposure to the sun causes the skin to loose the ability to repair itself, and the damage accumulates.
Without protection, just a few minutes of sun exposure each day can cause noticeable changes to the skin as the years go by. Freckles, age spots, broken capillaries, rough and leathery skin, wrinkles, uneven complexion, sagging skin, Actinic Keratoses (rough, thick, reddish patches of skin), as well as skin cancer (we already mentioned that) can all be traced to sun exposure.
Furthermore, scientific studies have shown that repeated ultraviolet (UV) exposure breaks down collagen and impairs the production of new collagen. The sun also attacks our elastin – the thing that makes our skin firm and supple. Sun-weakened skin ceases to spring back. Rather it turns into loose, wrinkled skin with a leathery look when it’s not protected from exposure to sunlight.
Yes, that’s right, cleaning. Aggressive cleaning can alter the balance of your skin, cause scarring, dark spots and other permanent damage.
Men tend to be too aggressive when it comes to cleansing the skin. They mistakenly believe that the harder they scrub, the better it must be for the skin – bad mistake. The basic goal of washing is to gently cleanse the skin, removing excess oil and dirt. This process keeps the skin healthy, young, and it prevents the skin from looking dull. But over-zealous washing leads to drier skin, greater oil production, pimples and other breakouts.
The bottom line – there is so much you should or could be doing to keep your skin looking its best – but there is plenty you should avoid as well – for now, focus on the big three!
Men’s Skincare (healthyskinsolutions.com)
Cleaning Your Skin (healthyskinsolutions.com)
Skincare for Men (healthyskinsolutions.com)
Repairing Sun Damaged Skin (healthyskinsolutions.com)