Maverick Life


The new routine you should follow? Taking care of your skin

The new routine you should follow? Taking care of your skin
The creative exchange for Unsplash

Men’s skincare and grooming is starting to take a healthy, and necessary change with more men embracing skincare routines, products and habits that are traditionally seen as feminine.

In a New York Times piece published in October 2016 and headlined “Do you even moisturize, bro?”, writer Marisa Meltzar spoke to David Yi, the owner of the men’s grooming and beauty website, Very Good Light about his target market. Yi noted that: “16 to 26 is our sweet spot. They are the first generation to be completely born on digital and the web. They’re savvy with social media and its risks … this audience is fearless and sexually fluid.”

In January 2020, research commissioned by men’s skincare brand Tiege Hanley and conducted by Acupoll Precision Research revealed that 63% of men don’t regularly use face wash to clean their face, while 11% say they’ve never tried it; yet, 59% of men aged 18-24 agreed that it was important to look after one’s skin.

And indeed, things are changing: Celebrities like Luka Sabbat, Frank Ocean and Jonathan Majors have been public about their skincare routines and wearing makeup. In an interview with GQ, Ocean explained that he really “(does) believe in a night cream”.

“I feel like men just go to sleep. They may wash their face or they don’t even bother — they go to sleep with the day face on. You really need to do a gentle wash and put a night moisturiser on,” he says.

Interestingly, although the above-mentioned Acupoll Precision Research showed that 83% of men 65 years old and older claimed that looking after their skin was important, Durban-based dermatologist Dr Imraan Jhetam explains that in his practice, the older generation seems to be more resistant to exploring beauty.

“The older generation did not pay much attention to skin health. This was probably due to lack of education and cultural beliefs ­– for example, the use of laundry soap for the skin. (We) may also have had difficulty in accessing good products partly due to budget constraints,” he notes.

Jhetam also credits social media for young men’s exposure to looking after their skin. “The younger generation is more acutely aware of health and wellbeing due to the information resources available on the internet. With the advent of social media and the need to look good in selfies, the younger generation is more in tune with their skin health as awareness has improved tremendously. The younger generation have also distanced themselves from cultural influence,” he says.

Johannesburg-based Dermalogica master skincare therapist, Camerin Demont also shares Jhetam’s sentiments – she agrees that younger men seem to be more inclined to explore skincare. “Of course, the younger generation is a lot more willing to look after their skin and I think that is because the knowledge about skincare is so freely available, protecting and nourishing the skin now, so when older the skin still looks great.”

“In my experience, we have more young men embracing skin and beauty. We have younger men booking in for their monthly ‘teen facials’ I think with a little push from mom, but this is where their skincare journey starts and this is where we start educating and sharing our knowledge on skin and the importance of a routine,” says Durban-based beautician Janey Munro, who runs Glow Skin and Beauty in Hillcrest.

The risks of not looking after one’s skin? Demont points to issues of dry skin. “A common occurrence is that [the] skin is extremely dry, dehydrated and sensitive, leading to issues such as flaking and breakout … [While] in the long term, the skin will become extremely sensitive and dehydrated – this leads to premature aging, deep fine lines and wrinkles.”

All experts interviewed also highlighted that we need to move past gendering beauty and that taking care of your skin shouldn’t be seen as “feminine”.

“In the world we live in today, general health and overall appearance and grooming is not based on gender. Once a man starts to take care of his skin, the results noticed and the general feeling of pride with a happy and healthy skin should be enough for all men to want to look after their skin. The skin is the largest organ in the body and the most fragile, the more care you take of your skin, the healthier you will feel and look,” says Demont.

Munro encourages men to be kinder to their skin: “We all have the same skin … Every skin is made up of the same skin structures that have important functions; everyone’s skin will go through the process of ageing; the skin can get harmed through UV light exposure, leading to skin damage and lesions or skin cancer. Men can experience these different skin concerns too, not only women.

“I always believe that a good daily skincare routine will only benefit you to a successful journey in skin health; besides your face is what the world sees, so be kind to it.”

Although Munro still sees more women than men at her boutique salon, she says that now, more men are coming through for treatments. “I definitely have a few men that like to come in and groom and pamper themselves, which is so amazing to see.” She is also encouraged by how men are starting to embrace their skincare more. “It is definitely a growing business with more men feeling comfortable and confident coming into salons to get skincare treatments done or to buy their skincare products.”

For beginners who are probably thinking that starting a skincare routine is a daunting task, Munro tells Maverick Life that it’s never too late to start one. “If you have a completely non-existent skincare routine, it’s a good idea to start small – you don’t want to suddenly adopt a multi-step routine you won’t be able to maintain,” she says.

Step one: Cleanse

“Cleanse, this is the foundation to healthy skin, as removing dirt, debris and pollutants will keep skin clear. Done as your first step morning and evening.

“Preferably a cleanser with an ingredient – salicylic acid will help to gently exfoliate the skin while cleansing. You have then done a cleanse and gentle exfoliation in one simple step,” she explains.

Step two: Moisturise and protect

“Moisturise, this is done as your second step morning and evening. Depending on your skin type, dry, oily or combination, you will use a skin specific moisturiser,” she adds.

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a non-negotiable that should be applied on top of the moisturiser every morning. She recommends using an SPF 30 with UVA and UVB protection – crucial, especially for us living in the Southern hemisphere.

Step three: Make it a routine

Jhetam also emphasises that not looking after your skin can age you prematurely and could lead to skin conditions: “Inappropriate and inadequate skincare regimens may lead to problems such as premature ageing, skin sensitivity, hyperpigmentation and sometimes skin disease like eczema and dermatitis.”

Skincare experts always point out that your skin is your largest organ and it needs to be looked after. Cosmetic formulator Siphiwo Hlengwa adds that: “Taking care of your skin regularly can help to keep it healthy. Your skin requires attention because it is exposed to many aggressors, both internally and externally. It is the largest organ of the body, therefore its care should be prioritised.

“Men should feel empowered because it is their skin. Just like anything else that belongs to you, it is good to take care of it and take pride in it,” she adds. DM/ML


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