Let’s be real: most skincare and beauty marketing is targeted at women. Skincare ads love to show a woman delicately splashing water on her face or laughing as she shows off perfectly moisturized legs (have you ever wondered what is so funny about moisturizer?). Men aren’t as encouraged to seek out solutions for their skincare woes, even though they can also suffer the stigma of acne and breakouts. We asked Apostrophe dermatologist, Dr. Mamina Turegano, to give us the inside scoop on male-specific skin issues and what you can do about them!
If it’s not hormonal…
We know one of the most common causes of adult acne in women is fluctuating hormones levels that typically occur right before their periods. But what’s up for men who don’t experience these types of fluctuations? Dr. Turegano says that although genetics can play a role, sometimes a bigger factor can be what you’re putting in your body. “I notice a pattern in men who get into the groove of working out at the gym more regularly and increase their consumption of whey protein and/or milk or other possibly supplements that can boost testosterone,” she states. “I'm a big believer that (in addition to dairy foods) processed foods – foods with increased white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and processed genetically modified grains – can contribute to acne in all ages.” Incorporating more fruits, veggies, and whole grains may help curb those pesky breakouts.
So what treatments are available?
Birth control pills or spironolactone are typically used to treat hormonal acne in women, but because of their anti-androgen activity these medications aren’t usually prescribed to men. In these instances, oral antibiotics, isotretinoin, or a strong topical treatment are good options. Dr. Turegano notes, “Oral antibiotics (such as doxycycline or minocycline) and isotretinoin (i.e., Accutane) are the fastest conventional ways to treat acne in men. Men also can use higher strengths of topical medicines like retinoids (e.g., Tazorac) and benzoyl peroxide without experiencing as much irritation as we sometimes see in female skin.” When in doubt, talk to your dermatologist! They can point you in the direction of treatments that will suit your skin’s needs, and help you avoid unwanted side effects.
Whiskers aren’t just for cats
Shaving can cause irritation, ingrown hairs, and breakouts anywhere on your body, but it can be especially annoying when it happens on your face. Luckily for the fuzzier folks out there, there are a few tips and tricks you can try to avoid irritation caused by shaving. Dr. Turegano suggests, “Prior to shaving, hydrate your beard for a few minutes with warm water or steam (like in the shower) to open the pores. While shaving, shave in the same direction as the hair growth (with the grain) as much as you can and avoid going against the grain unless that is the only way to get a close shave. I often prescribe a benzoyl peroxide-based foam to use while shaving. Immediately after shaving, I sometimes recommend applying a prescription antibiotic solution, almost like an aftershave. I have men on a regular retinoid regimen to keep the skin exfoliated and prevent the follicles from turning into raised bumps as a result of a build up of skin cells or a weirdly-angled hair shaft that causes irritation after shaving.” Of course, you can always toss the razor in exchange for going au naturale!
It’s 2019 and good skincare is for everyone! Making small changes to your routine and talking to a dermatologist about the best treatments for you can set you on the path to healthier, brighter, and clearer skin.
Have any tried and true shaving tricks, or a treatment that worked wonders? Let us know on Twitter @hi_apostrophe or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.