Health and Beauty Articles
One for the men!
We women talk skin care, make up and weight battles while the men in our lives not so subtly roll their eyes at us and profess that it’s just ‘women’s talk.’ I feel it’s becoming more socially acceptable for a man to appear to be conscious of their appearance, health and well-being – long gone are the days when it was considered feminine to wear slim line clothing and to go to a hairdressers as opposed to a barbers for a haircut! So guys, stop with the eye rolling and listen up for a moment – it’s never too late to start looking after yourselves!
The gruelling task of washing away a day’s make up is always a time of day I dread, as it takes at least 15 minutes to de-panda my eyes, cleanse off layers of foundation and powder, apply eye cream, moisturiser plus any other miracle cream that grabs my attention. So it always surprises me to find that many men STILL don’t wash their faces properly – as you would have gathered my routine would be cut down 99% without having the makeup to contend with, thus, it takes no time at all for men to wash their faces before jumping into bed. This should be done with a proper cleansing product (as I stated to my husband the other day when he tried to argue that his lime shower gel did the same job as a cleanser, needless to say he lost that argument!)
Without suitable products the skin will become irritated from shaving and will become dehydrated as a result – two elements that will age the skin prematurely.
Products for oily/acne skin: This is the most common skin type for men as their skin produce’s roughly 3 times more oil than a women’s – hence why men take longer for the ageing process to take effect (a man’s skin is about 15 years younger than a woman’s) however this can be troublesome as it can prolong breakouts of acne. Oily skin will have a shiny appearance and open pores; and acne skin will have additions of pustules, papules (spots) plus blackheads. Before you think I’m going to tell you that you need to start rocking a green mask look before you go to bed you can breathe a sigh of relief – a few simple additions to your bathroom cabinet will help keep your skin healthy and more youthful for longer.
A good product brand I would advise is Dermalogica as they have a wide range suited to this type of skin and can be sourced locally at Body and Sole. The ‘clearing skin wash’ is a good option for acne skin due to its bacteria busting ingredients and the invigorating ‘dermal clay cleanser’ will clear up any oily break outs – these are unisex products so you may end up fighting over them with your Mrs! Once a week you should use an exfoliator to get rid of dead skin cells – Clarins 2-in-1 deep cleansing exfoliating cleanser is the perfect product for this, and is again a unisex product.
Products for dry/sensitive skin: This skin type is very common on the islands due to our changing climate and sometimes harsh cold winds – or the ‘natural exfoliation’ as we affectionately call it! The Nivea for Men sensitive range is highly recommended as it contains calming ingredients such as camomile; vitamin E and Aloe Vera which help soothe irritation and hydrate the skin. These products are also inexpensive so are a great option if you don’t want to spend a lot. Always ensure you purchase a moisturiser as well as a cleanser as they are essential for maintaining moisture levels in the skin and for defending it against the environment.
Advice for shaving
The best time to shave is after you’ve had a hot shower as this opens the pores and softens the area whereas shaving onto cold, hard skin is a recipe for irritation. If you don’t have time to have a shower then ensure the skin is freshly washed in hot water and cleanser as this will lift the hairs and remove any dirt from the area. Apply your shaving gel/cream over the desired area in a circular motion (this will further lift the hairs) and shave with the grain first and then against the grain if a closer shave is desired (you may need to apply more cream.) Using this technique will avoid razor burn which is usually a result of the razor being applied with too much pressure. Once finished then splash the face with cold water, dry then apply a moisturiser or after shaving balm – this will ensure the skin is re-hydrated with minimal irritation.
In between shaves either exfoliate the skin once a week or lift the hairs manually by using a fine brush (i.e. toothbrush) to ensure the hairs are growing in the right direction. If ingrown hairs do occur then be careful with how you treat them – if they are prodded or squeezed excessively they may scar and worsen the condition. If the hair is visible through the skin then sterilized tweezers can be used to lift the hair out, or apply heat compresses to the area to relieve the irritation and the hair should eventually grow out. There are some over-the-counter creams that may help as well, just make your way down to Cromwell Street and our chemists will point you in the right direction!
A well balanced diet packed with vitamins, minerals and the recommended protein, carbohydrate and fat intake will help sharpen the mind as well as fighting off weight related issues such as obesity, type two diabetes and heart disease. Often men fall into a false sense of security as they don’t tend to put on significant amounts of weight until their late thirties/early forties, unlike women who start to put on excess weight in their early-mid twenties. 3 golden rules will see you on your way to good eating habits:
- Never skip breakfast as it’s the most important meal of your day!
- Try to eat 6 times a day – including 3 substantial meals and 2-3 small snacks (i.e. fruit or nuts) As well as drinking 1.5-2 litres of water.
- Eat from all the food groups to ensure your body is receiving the correct amount of nutrients it needs for development and for overall energy. Your plate should essentially be half filled with vegetables plus ¼ protein and ¼ carbohydrates with some added fat (i.e. drizzle of oil on vegetables.)
I always notice that when men talk about diet the main focus is on protein – particularly men involved in sports. Never fall into the way of thinking that carbohydrates are bad for you and that it should be protein, protein and more protein – without carbohydrates your body will suffer many undesirable side effects such as loss of concentration, constipation and headaches – if this type of diet is indulged continuously it can also seriously damage your kidney function.
You should consider paying closer attention to your diet if you start to gain weight around the abdomen as this is the type of body fat you want to avoid as it is linked with a higher risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease – for most men a waist measurement of 40 inches or more may be in this category.
Hair loss and thinning
Unless you want to do a Rooney and pop in for a not-so-subtle hair transplant, there is unfortunately no ‘cure’ for hair loss. There are a couple of preventative treatments and pieces of advice which should be put into practise as soon as you notice the hair thinning – the earlier the better, as the more hair that’s lost, the more difficult it is to restore the original density.
There are two clinically proven drug treatments that prevent further hair loss and that promote regrowth. Propecia and Regaine (medically termed as ‘Finasteride’ and ‘Minoxidil’) can be combined for a course of treatments. The only downside is that Propecia isn’t a cheap option – coming in at £285 for 6 months supply – and isn’t available on the NHS due to its cosmetic association. You may find cheaper tablets available but these are likely to be fakes, as the company Merck (MSD) are the only patented company that supply them. There are relatively no side effects so the only thing this drug will sting is your wallet!
You may be more familiar with the Regaine products as these are readily available over the counter to purchase and are typically a foam product that are applied directly onto the scalp. These products are clinically tested with results that show 4 out of 5 men noticed a significant difference in hair growth and that further hair loss was prevented.
Out with these treatments you should consider applying subtle changes to your grooming and at home routines to discourage any unnecessary hair loss:
- Wash hair in lukewarm instead of hot water
- Try not to be too thoroughly when drying the hair – just dab it dry with a towel
- Try to ensure you are getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night as growth hormones shoot up at night which will encourage the hair to grow
- Reduce anxiety and stress from your life as this will lead to more hair loss
- Ensure you are eating an iron-rich diet including foods such as dried fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, liver, raisins and whole grain cereals
- Massage the scalp several times a week to stimulate the hair follicle, or better yet, treat yourself to an Indian head massage!