Lads, SPF is not just for women: the best products for men to protect skin from the sun, shaving and sensitivity
The women's skincare industry is a beauty powerhouse - some daily female skincare regimes involve a staggering 10 steps! Although the men's equivalent lags far behind, it's a sector that's growing, as younger generations embrace grooming products. Proper skincare is not just about looking good, it's also about caring for your skin's health and protecting it from the damage caused by pollution, environmental factors and the sun.
Men are more likely to work in outdoor jobs and play sport in the elements, but they are not as diligent at using sun protection as women are. Yet we know from decades of dermatological research that, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the single best thing we can do for good skin health and to avoid skin ageing is to protect our skin from UV rays. "Men's skin needs to be cared for too," says Jennifer Rock, aka The Skin Nerd (theskinnerd.com). "Men are more likely to develop skin cancer than anyone else, possibly due to a stigma about using products like SPF."
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What products does she recommend to her male clients? "We treat men's skin with the same core products such as SPF, to shield the skin, and an unperfumed cleanser, as fragrances can irritate freshly shaven skin. We typically find that men tend to prefer a light-textured product, so serums tend to be a popular choice - there's no residue, typically no scent and they're effective."
The first step to a good skincare regimen is understanding what type of skin you have: oily, dry, sensitive or a mix of all the above. If your skin is prone to breakouts, feels greasy and looks shiny, you likely have oily skin. As men have more sebaceous glands on their faces than women, they are more likely to have this skin type. If your skin feels tight and is flaky, itchy, rough or prone to redness, then you probably have dry skin.
If your skin suffers from irritation, stinging, redness, burning, tightness, dryness and reactive sensations, you are most likely in the sensitive skin category. Combination skin often takes the form of having oily sections across the T-zone of forehead, nose and chin, and normal, dry or sensitive skin on the cheeks.
Below, I've selected some of my favourite products for oily and sensitive skin types, as well as choosing some all-natural options and products for ageing skin.
Designed specifically to stop the irritation from shaving many men experience, this new Gillette Skin Guard Sensitive Razor, €10.80, places a guard bar between two of the blades to smooth and flatten the skin during the shave. With research certified by the British Skin Foundation, it's clinically proven to stop shaving irritation and is especially brilliant for men with sensitive skin. From pharmacies and retail outlets nationwide.
Gentle face wash
Thanks to a combination of vitamin E and menthol, this dermatologically approved wash cleanses the skin deeply, unclogs pores and helps to prevent breakouts without leaving the skin feeling dry and 'tight' after using. It contains 0pc alcohol, meaning there's zero burning sensation. This also softens beards for a better shave. Nivea For Men Sensitive Wash, €5.80, available from pharmacies and retail outlets nationwide.
La Roche-Posay's Toleriane Ultra Fluide, €20, is specifically formulated for sensitive and reactive skin that's prone to tightness, redness, itchiness or burning. The moisturiser's minimalist formula contains no parabens, no preservatives, no fragrance, no alcohol, no colourants and no lanolin. It is 100pc hypoallergenic and also non-comedogenic (meaning that it won't block your pores). Pop on your face and neck morning and night and you've protected and calmed your skin for the day! From pharmacies nationwide.
Calming face wash
Boots Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Foaming Face Wash, €5.80, is a brilliantly priced foaming cleanser that contains antibacterial tea tree oil and skin-calming witch hazel. It will help keep skin clear of dirt, oil and sweat without over-drying, as well as fight spot-causing bacteria. Just mix with water, and massage over face and rinse with warm water morning and night. From Boots stores nationwide.
To keep your skin moisturised and nourished without feeling greasy, invest in a moisturiser specifically made for oily skin. Bull Dog Oil Control Moisturiser, €6.60, is a light-as-a-feather cream. Apply morning and night for glowing skin minus that heavy feeling. From pharmacies and Boots stores nationwide.
If suncreams tend to make your skin break out, try this SPF made specifically for oily skin. Avène Cleanance SPF 50, €14.99, is totally non-comedogenic, meaning the formula doesn't 'smother' your pores and cause spots. From pharmacies nationwide.
Boosting eye serum
As we age, lines appear around our eyes, as the skin in that area is much thinner and weaker than elsewhere. I love laughter lines, but if you're suffering from eye puffiness, dark circles and bags, try this serum designed especially for men. Wellman Anti-Fatigue Under Eye Serum, €16.99, is a nourishing and hydrating anti-fatigue formula with caffeine (proven to work on eye skin issues). From pharmacies and Boots stores nationwide.
If your skin is in need of a wake-up and refresh, try this non-oily moisturiser formulated with vitamins C and E, chestnut extract and soy, which help to improve skin's look and texture. It also protects against the sun's harmful UV rays. Kiehl's Facial Fuel Moisturiser SPF 15, €33.50, from department stores nationwide.
A serum differs from a moisturiser because it has a smaller molecular structure, so it goes waaaay deeper into your skin and is jam-packed with higher rates of active skin ingredients. Is it necessary? I would say after 35 it's a much-needed added step in skincare routines for both men and women. Use after cleansing skin and before applying your usual moisturiser. Within 3-4 weeks of using Payot's Homme Optimal Wrinkle Smoothing Serum, €49, skin should look healthier and feel softer. Use only a pea-sized amount. From salons and payot.ie
Dr Bronner's Peppermint Pure Castile Soap, from €8.99, is truly a multi-tasking gem, with over 20 uses, from shaving aid to shower gel to clothing cleanser! It's also 100pc natural and will last you literally years! A staple in my home - and I think you'll love it too.
From health stores and pharmacies nationwide.
Relaxing body oil
This certified-organic oil is the perfect body moisturiser for after a workout. Packed with extracts of seaweed, bergamot, ginger and essential oils that work in synergy to relax tense muscles, it's a great tonic to deeply soothe, nourish and hydrate your skin. Only the teeniest amount is required - a little goes a long way. Voya Serenergise Muscle Relaxing Body Oil, €38, from department stores nationwide and voya.ie
Protect your face daily with Organii Everyday Organics Facial Sun Cream SPF 15, €18 - a non-greasy, natural sunscreen. With added argan oil, coconut, carrot and flax seed oils, this will firm, nourish and hydrate your skin at the same as protecting it from UV rays. From thecleanbeautyedit.com and health stores nationwide.