It’s 2022 and men are still avoiding skincare like it’s the 1970s! A lot of “self-grooming” (to put it in a masculine way) for men is still using a “shampoo” or shaving their face and calling it a day! But guess what? It doesn’t help anyone. There’s a stigma that “skincare” or “beauty products” are feminine and thus men tend to stir clear.
Skincare is ideally genderless and everyone, I mean, from your 5-year-old to a fully grown man should have a simple, no BS skincare routine they should be following! While it may sound high maintenance to follow a skincare routine, it’s essentially a few steps that are not only necessary for healthy skin but also very easy to implement. Skincare ages back to thousands of years and is not just the superficial surface care of the skin but also prevents many severe problems- for instance, get rid of acne! So, if you’ve been skipping on your skincare, it’s time you get on track, we’re recommending the most easy-to-follow-no-bs skincare guide! As someone said once- “A little shine on the outside helps the insides too”
What Is Acne?
Acne is a common problem in teenagers, but sadly, it can persist in the 20s and 30s for some of us! The superficial layer of the skin has many holes (called pores) necessary for sebum production, but these pores can get blocked due to hair follicles, dirt, excessive sebum, or bacteria and cause pimples. If these pimples recur often, it’s called acne. So, acne is a skin condition that causes pimples that can be mild to severe and painful!
Acne can be anywhere on your face, neck, back, shoulder or chest and can make your skin texture uneven. It can also cause discoloration, hyperpigmentation, swelling, and even inflammation (oof, painful!). There are certain ways one can do acne removal at home - by following a routine and sticking to it religiously. Untreated acne breakouts can lead to scarring and hyperpigmentation marks.
Acne can be classified into comedones (mild acne) or inflammatory lesions
Comedones are of two types:
Blackheads- These are open comedones on the surface of the skin that occur due to clogged hair follicles. They usually form on the T-zone of the face but can also appear on the neck and shoulders.
Whitehead- These are closed comedones on the surface of the skin that occurs when dead skin cells or sebum are trapped in a pore. They can appear anywhere on the skin.
Inflammatory lesions are severe and are more likely to cause scarring:
Cysts- Prone to oily skin, this type of acne is severe and painful. It resembles boils and occurs due to hormonal imbalance.
Nodules- It’s caused due to bacteria trapped under the skin with dirt and pores. It’s also regarded as severe acne and appears like lumps underneath the skin.
Papules- A raptured comedone causes red bumps on the skin called papules. This type of acne is very commonly seen in men.
Pustules - The papules forms pus and becomes a pustule. They appear white and have red skin surrounding them.
Acne not only affects your appearance but also can take a toll on your mental health. In a recent study conducted, people with acne stated that it made them embarrassed, more self-conscious, and unattractive.
Causes Of Acne
Acne is largely caused by hormones or hormonal changes in the body. Fluctuation in hormones combined with dirt, bacteria, and excessive oil in the pores can lead to breakouts. Here are some of the causes of acne-
- Hormonal Changes
Men tend to have more oily skin due to more production of testosterone. Fluctuation in testosterone levels due to some activities can lead to aggravated sebum production and clogged pores.
- Certain Medication
Certain medications or drugs containing corticosteroids, testosterone, or lithium can cause acne breakouts.
- Excess Sebum Production
Men are prone to more sebum production due to higher testosterone and thus can have frequent acne breakouts.
Bacterial growth inside the pores due to clogging can cause inflammation and thus progress to acne.
- Microorganisms (Bacteria etc)
Overgrowth of propionibacterium acne, commonly found on the surface of the skin can lead to acne breakouts.
- Clogged Hair Follicles
Facial hair in men serves as a breeding ground for bacteria. Often, clogged hair follicles can have bacteria trapped underneath the skin causing acne.
Certain studies have indicated that consuming carbohydrate-rich food can worsen acne, but more research is required on the topic.
Although stress can’t cause new breakouts, studies prove that it can worsen existing acne.
Tried & Tested Smooth Skin Tips For Men
Acne can be troublesome and stubborn, but with a simple and consistent routine, one can get rid of acne in a matter of weeks! While it can occur practically anywhere on your skin, acne on the face is the most persistent and deep down the only one most of us care about (which shouldn’t be the case!). Fact- Men tend to have acne for a longer period than women, so this is your sign to take things in your hands!
In cases of severe acne, it’s best to stick to a dermatologist's prescribed routine and follow it religiously! But for the rest of us who have mild acne or just a few pimples here and there- we have a few tricks up our sleeves. The following steps may help reduce the number of breakouts (if you follow it consistently) :
Acne is essentially caused due to dirt and sebum trapped in pores, so washing your face daily will ensure this isn’t the case!
Use a mild cleanser twice daily, in the morning and before bed to have a clean, oil-free, and acne-free face in the long run! But keep in mind that over-washing may cause dry skin, resulting in irritation, and may aggravate pimples.
Contrary to popular beliefs, exfoliation is necessary for all skin types to control sebum production, balance your skin’s pH levels, and get rid of the dead skin.
Use an exfoliating ingredient like Salicylic acid or Benzoyl Peroxide in form of a cleanser or peeling masks (use as per instructions) and enjoy soft, supple skin! Avoid excessive-exfloation since it can lead to dry skin and a damaged skin barrier!
While some people believe that moisturizers can make your skin “more oily”, it’s safe to say that it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Using ingredients or products specifically formulated for acne-prone skin can leave your skin dryer and in need of moisturization.
Use an oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer after cleansing your face every day, this will ensure that your skin isn’t drying out and also regulate sebum production.
Did you know sunburn can lead to excessive sebum production and thus lead to acne breakouts?
Using sunscreen is the most vital step of any skincare routine. Use an oil-free noncomedogenic sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and re-apply every 4 hours in case of prolonged sun exposure to avoid any chance of sunburn.
- Use Acne-friendly products
Acne can have a lot of triggers, one of them being comedogenic products that lead to clogged pores.
Making sure that your products are meant for acne-prone skin is necessary another step to avoiding future breakouts and walking the road to recovery.
- Stay Hydrated
Drink water and mind your business! The mantra you should hands down be following to avoid future breakouts!
A lot of studies have proven that with proper water intake (ideally 3-4 liters a day) and good skincare, the lesion count in people with acne visibly decreased. So, I guess, it’s worth a try!
- Follow a proper skincare routine
Getting rid of acne can be tiresome and fruitless if you aren’t following a proper skincare routine to battle it!
In cases of severe acne, it’s best to consult a dermatologist and follow a prescribed routine. But for people with mild to comedogenic acne, following a simple skincare routine can work wonders. Not convinced yet? Try it out yourself for 6-8 weeks (studies have shown that an acne routine can show results in this time frame)!
- Avoid Touching Your Skin
One of the sneaky habits that is an acne trigger is touching your face/skin too often. Always wash your hands before you start your skincare routine since a lot of bacteria and dirt can get transferred from your hands to your skin.
- Reduce Smoking and Alcohol Consumption
Research conducted in 2009 proved that acne and smoking have a correlation in mild acne and can worsen existing breakouts.
While neither drinking nor smoking directly affects acne, it can affect the hormonal changes that may lead to acne breakouts.
Following a simple skincare routine, using products meant for acne removal and avoiding products that can aggravate breakouts can help get rid of acne in men.
In case you have tried OTC (over-the-counter) products and they haven’t worked for you in 6-8 weeks, it’s best to consult a dermatologist and seek help. Persistent acne in men can also be due to a lot of different underlying issues.
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