A Gentleman’s Guide to Grooming

I dare say, my most devoted follower is no other than my own Mr. ROK, no surprise there perhaps, but I’m quite sure its not only because of his affiliation to me that he supports ROKderm.com. You see, he, like many other men of this day and age, has started to cultivate an interest in personal care and grooming, a trend that’s been on the rise among modern men the world over for a while now.

Coming from Norway this trend (as many other trends) have reached my country a little later than other places, culturally there’s somewhat of a manly-man syndrome going around here as well, so beauty + Norwegian-men = not so much, and so I tried fighting it for a while, rolling my eyes as he asked me “what that eye cream was for”, but I’ve come to realize I love him well dressed and put together, and a fresh looking face is a natural part of that, so who am I to deny him any of it, just because he’s male? I do draw a line at lemon-ice-tea-scented body lotions though (cough).

Key Differences:

1.Thickness: Men’s skin is thicker than women’s skin, the major cause being the male androgen; Testosterone. Stimulation of which results in dermal and epidermal thickening as well as facial hair growth. A man’s skin is about 25% thicker than that of a woman’s. A man’s skin also thins gradually with age, whereas the thickness of a woman’s skin remains constant until about the age of fifty. The thickness is an important point to consider in regards to product delivery.

2.Collagen density: Researchers believe that the higher collagen density accounts for why women appear to age faster than men of the same age. When considering intrinsic (genetically-programmed) aging of the skin, it has been said that women are about 15 years older than men of the same age. Of course, the role of daylight exposure in skin aging, combined with the fact that men do not use sunscreen as often as women, can add years to a man’s skin and cancel out the benefit of slower intrinsic aging. (Dermalinstitute.com)

3.Texture: The skin texture on a man is rougher, and the Stratum Corneum (uppermost layer) is thicker. There is also a difference in the composition of sebum and its production. After puberty, sebum production is greater in males than in females, which is attributed to androgen secretions and accounts for why men have longer lasting acne.

4.Hydration: Male skin appears to be better hydrated than women’s, which is fortunate, as men are less likely to apply a hydrating moisturizer to their body or face. Perhaps excess sweating and production of Lactic Acid, a known natural humectant for the skin, is responsible for the level of tissue hydration.

5.Oil: Men’s skin is oiler than women’s skin due to the production of testosterone.  As testosterone levels decrease over time, the difference in oil production between men and women lessens, as men naturally transition to drier/mature skin in the late 40’s and early 50’s. Since men produce more oil, they will have larger pores and more prone to blackheads than women.

How to best care for men’s skin:

The rules to follow when caring for a woman’s skin- cleanse, moisturize and protect also apply for men. But because of the thickness, the oil production, and the act of shaving, a few considerations have to be made regarding what products to include and which ingredients to have a look out for.

Cleanse:  Because of the rougher texture and the increased thickness of men’s skin, exfoliation is absolute key in male grooming. Look for cleansers containing chemical exfoliants such as AHA’s and BHA’s (salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, etc). Exfoliation also prep skin for shaving. The following are my recommendations based on ingredients, customer reviews and  awards.

1. Dermalogica Daily Clean Scrub 120ml/4oz: Contains salicylic acid, great for acne Dermalogica Daily Clean Scrub 120ml/4ozprone skin, large pores and dull skin alike, contains beads to add some mechanical exfoliation in addition to the salicylic acid. Mr. ROK  is very happy with this scrub, and I’ve used it a couple of times myself as a weekly treatment, it’s a great product! You get it from Strawberrynet for $33 with free delivery.

2.Alpha-H Micro cleanse wash with 12% glycolic acid : This one contains a great percentage of glycolic acid, a potent chemical exfoliant, as well as anti-aging agent.  £24.50 from lookfantastic. (psst! Also great for us ladies, so get your man this, and use a couple of times a week for a secret exfoliation session)

3.Lab Series for men multiactive face wash: Formulated for dryer skin-types while at the same time targeting enlarged pores and skin dullness, and combating the effects of pollution. £17 from lookfantastic: Lab Series Skincare For men multiaction face wash

4.The clarisonic skin-cleansing tool (read my rewiev here) is also a great addition to men’s skincare. It aids in deep cleansing and has shown to decrease acne, pore size as well as wrinkles! Men want all of that too, no? Clarisonic Classic Sonic Skin cleansing System £155 in a manly shade of grey from lookfantastic.

Shave: Shaving is both a blessing and a curse for you guys, as it works as a form of mechanical exfoliation, stimulating rejuvenation and preventing aging to some extent, but it is also a cause of increased skin sensitivity and breakouts among men. Shaving is best done on prepped skin (look above) and in the shower where the steam works to open pores, and removes the oil coating the hairs. Get dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz shaving tips here. Also opting for a  shaving-gel, or oil  instead of the more common foams together with the old-fashioned hand-held blade ensures a closer shave, and prevents irritation.

Try:

1.Natio for men smooth shaving gel : £7.20 from lookfantastic infused with 100% pure essential oils.Dermalogica Close Shave Oil 30ml/1oz

2. Dermalogica Close Shave Oil 30ml/1oz: £ 27.50 from strawberrynet

3.King of Shaves Alphagel shave gel-cooling menthol: King of Shaves Alphagel Shave gel- cooling menthol £4.29

If you have sensitive skin following shaving, try the Weleda Shave series, including the Weleda men After Shave balm £11.15 from lookfantastic, containing skin calming ingredients such as chamomile and mhyrr, and works to moisturize the skin as well.

Tone: To close pores, and prepare the skin for the nest step, try:

1.Ole Henriksen Pick me Up face mist : £21 from lookfantastic. Contains vitamin C, known to brighten skin and fruit acids to exfoliate and increase cell renewal, as well as blueberry, blackberry and peach extracts that have an enzymatic action and astringent benefits.

2. Weleda men smooth shave toner £11.15, if you have sensitive skin.

3. Anthony Logistics for men astringent toner pads : great for those of you with oilier and acne prone skin types, or if you suffer from blackheads and enlarged pores.

Moisturize and protect AM: Men skin needs the same skin saving ingredients as women's skin does, and sunscreen is again key for having young-looking and healthy skin. This is especially important for men working outdoors!

1.Lab series skincare for men daily moisture defense lotion spf 15 : £27 from lookfantastic, also claims to protect against city pollution. Good for normal to dry skin types.

2.Alpha-H Ultra protector spf 30+ daily moisturizer : This is my favorite one here, with an SPF 30 it provides broad-spectrum protection against UV radiation, and is a great option for you over 30 or if you're experiencing signs of premature aging.

3.Clarins men super moisture balm : This one won the lookmantastic award for 2012, and has number of raving reviews. Good for dry and dehydrated skin. Contains no SPF though, so that has to be added separately, try Murad oil free Sunblock spf 30  (also a  lookmantastic winner).

Moisturize PM: Again, retinols and glycolic products are great for acne prone and aging skin types, if you have dry skin the above mentioned Clarins moisture balm is a good option, or you could try Alpha-H Balancing Moisturizer with 10% glycolic acid  which regulates oil production and increases skin elasticity if thats part of your skin concern.

I hope your happy Mr. ROK! It’s been a long time coming this post, but better late than never! And I hope all you male ROKers out there found this at least a little helpful in regards to how to best take care of your skin.

Now, I'm going to get ready for my week long date starting tonight. Mr. ROK is soon on his way to me!

Have a lovely day!