How to get good good looking skin for men? Suffering from dry skin and back acne.
November 23, 2012 10:43 AM   Subscribe

What's a daily mens skin care routine to have good looking skin? Also how do I get rid of back acne for men? I have had it for years and nothing seems to be working.

Im a male in my early 20's and have been suffering from back acne for 5-6 years now. They leave spots after they go away so now my back is filled with dark acne spots.

Apart from my back, my facial skin also tends to get dry and lots of black heads on my nose. I tried Neutrogena for men and dove but all those just dry my skin out.

I work out 4-5 x a week and shower right after it. My diet is also clean food and take multi vitamin regularly. I have tried using the facial product on my back but my skin tends to dry out and itches like crazy (specially during winter time).

Are there any good products you guys would recommend for my face and for my back.
posted by Parh6512 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (30 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried moisturizer and exfoliation?
posted by discopolo at 10:44 AM on November 23, 2012

I use Johnson and Johnson, 24 hour moisturizer and Neutrogena mens exfoliator. But they don't work.
posted by Parh6512 at 10:47 AM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Talk to your doctor. From a chat I had there is a cure for acne, it's a significant course of medication but a one time permanent 'cure'. Related to vitamin A. Don't know and doubt that it cures dry skin.
posted by sammyo at 10:49 AM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Neutrogena makes a 0.5% salicylic acid spray called Body Clear Body Spray. It's the same non-bleaching ingredient in a lot of acne gels and creams, but you can spray it on your back from any angle so you can reach everywhere.

I also noticed a big difference in my skin when I started switching pillowcases every night or two, and wearing a clean shirt to bed each night (I used to just not wear one). I think laying on the same increasingly-dirty sheets for 7 days each week was a big part of the cause of my face and body acne.
posted by vytae at 10:50 AM on November 23, 2012 [4 favorites]

I recently started using this soap from Juniper Ridge which does not dry my skin out like other soaps. It actually made me break out a bit more for the first couple days because it is so oily, but once my skin adjusted it's been much clearer. Comes in very manly scents as you can see. In general, to counteract dryness I recommend jojoba oil. Obviously, neither of these will cure acne on their own though, they just keep your skin from getting dried out.
posted by silvergoat at 11:14 AM on November 23, 2012

Assuming your insurance covers it/you can afford it don't just ask your doctor; get a referral to see a dermatologist. There are a ton of things they can potentially do.
posted by Wretch729 at 11:30 AM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

See a dermatologist first, but you might have good luck with Alba Acnedote products. They're cheap but effective and keep my skin clear and moisturized. Plus the scrub works really well on back acne! Could be a good fit.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:39 AM on November 23, 2012

Seesawing between dry irritated skin and pimples sounds more like you might have some sort of low-level dermatitis or chemical sensitivity problem, vs. the classic hormonal/oily-skin acne. In particular, one overlooked source of back breakouts is hair products, especially shampoos and conditioners that rinse off your hair but leave residue on your back on the way down. (I find that my back reacts really badly to anything with silicones in it, but YMMV depending on what you're sensitive to.) To address that, you might try conditioning/rinsing with your head upside down for a week or two, or making sure to carefully scrub your back with a gentle soap and a CLEAN(!) washcloth after doing your hair.

Re: the face-- especially if you're past your teens, and particularly if you've got problems with dry/irritated skin, I question the necessity of using daily face soap at all. Certainly washing with something harsh like Neutrogena is going to have a high likelihood of creating a vicious cycle of simultaneously over-dry and over-oily skin, particularly if you then happen to moisturize with something that's also a little irritating. Stepping down to just Cetaphil, or even warm water + CLEAN towel, might do a lot to help calm things down in that area.
posted by Bardolph at 11:48 AM on November 23, 2012

You might be showering too much. If I shower every day i get horrible dry skin that then leads to skin problems.
posted by srboisvert at 11:49 AM on November 23, 2012

What kind of moisturizers do you guys recommend? Because every time I was my face with cleaners, it tends to make it look dry.
posted by Parh6512 at 11:57 AM on November 23, 2012

For exfoliation: a cheap washcloth or glycolic acid.

Get a cheap washcloth and cleanse in circular motion with a moisturizing cleanser. You don't want a wash cloth that is too soft or luxurious. You want a cheap Motel 6 cotton wash cloth that is thin and nubby. You can buy them in packs at discount stores. Cotton muslin is also good.

Don't be put off by products designed for women.

My favorite glycolic acid cleanser is Wrinkle Revenge 2. It's a cream, non-foaming cleanser. I use it once or twice a week and apply it as a mask. Apply to dry skin and leave on for at least 5 minutes. It eats away at dry skin and cleans out your pores. I have combination skin with occasional breakouts. I would recommend this cleanser for nearly all skin types. There is a 1,2, and 3 level. Wrinkle Revenge 1 would be better for sensitive skin. Wrinkle Revenge 3 would be suited for the most resistant skin (oily, non-sensitive).

There are tons of products designed to get rid of blackheads. Two examples: Ain't Misbehavin' and Bliss Steep Clean mask.

St. Ives Green Tea Scrub is the best inexpensive drugstore scrub in my opinion. Most scrubs that are sold in drugstores or discount stores are ineffective. They don't have enough exfoliating beads and the beads that are there are too soft and pointless. The green tea is and is loaded with exfoliant granules that actually work.

If cleansers are drying out your skin, even the ones designed for dry skin, you may want to look into cleansing waters and cleansing oils.

For back acne and hyper pigmentation -- I have heard of a dermatologist recommending Dawn dish liquid for very oily backs. It doesn't sound like you fit into this category. Get yourself an exfoliating skin towel that you can hold with both hands and exfoliate your back on a regular basis. Use a mild soap. I like the towels better than a back brush. You can throw this towel in the washing machine and it does a great job of exfoliating dead skin cells. I love the back spray salicylic acid suggestion. Don't expose your acne scarring to sun, it makes it worse. I have hyper pigmentation scarring as well. It goes away or diminishes with time.
posted by Fairchild at 11:58 AM on November 23, 2012

I'm not a male but a good moisturizer is Purpose. It can be found in drugstores.
posted by Fairchild at 12:04 PM on November 23, 2012

Funny I was just lurking on since I need to get my adult onset acne under control. I've just started their face acne regiment, we'll see how it goes.

For back acne they recommend this protocol - essentially 10% AHA, or BHA and AHA for more severe acne. Don't go wild on exfoliating either face or body, it can be an irritant.

For facial moisturizer, I love this cream, of which you can buy an 0.80 sample to try out. It's pretty great.

If you buy BHA/AHA for back acne, it will be good for treating blackheads on your face too, but man oh man it will take long time. Like months.

Basically be gentle with your skin, use gentle cleansers like Cetaphil, don't rub/scrub too hard, use the AHA/BHA for exfoliation, moisture and over time your acne will abate. This is not a quick fix, it will take some weeks or a few months, but it will clear up.
posted by tatiana131 at 12:18 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I swim 4x a week. I don't know if it's the chlorine or something else, but I've always had skin, especially on my chest and belly, which (to put it nicely) is somewhere on the continuum between awful and god-awful. Nothing solves this. Not Cetaphil, not multivitamins, not salycilic acid.

By pure accident, I've discovered that aloe vera gel is making some headway in clearing this up. I have no idea if this will work for you, sample size of 1, etc., etc.
posted by Suddenly, elf ass at 12:39 PM on November 23, 2012

Wash your face in the shower with a rough exfoliator like St Ives. It's none of that micro-bead bullshit; it's ground apricot hulls. You can loofah your back or use a back brush. Mositurise after with whatever makes you happy. To clear your nose, move on to Biore strips and if that doesn't work get a professional facial and start over.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:49 PM on November 23, 2012

I swear by Japanese charcoal soap. It's unlike any soap you have ever tried.

Expensive, but so, so worth it. You'll use it for the first time, and swear that you can feel your skin breathe.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:50 PM on November 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

Repeating an earlier recommendation to keeping your bedsheets/pillowcases fresh and clean, that definitely makes a significant difference for me.

Also, keep a food log for a month or two, along with skin log, and see if there's any correlation between what/how much you eat and how your skin looks. Be aware that there can be a 0-4 day lag between eating and skin when you're looking for possible relationships.

Try eliminating common food allergies for a couple weeks to see if it helps - dairy, gluten, chocolate, etc.

Those body brushes with long handles are totally worth it, lather and scrub everywhere.

I use Dr. Bronner's soap - it cleans w/o drying and it's very gentle. Sometimes you need something more gentle, not stronger.
posted by jpeacock at 1:21 PM on November 23, 2012

Stop using soap completely, and only shampoo every other day. It's okay to shower as often as you want, just don't use soap. Rub your body all over with your hands under hot-as-you-can-stand-it water to soften and remove excess oils and dirt.

It might be a couple weeks for your skin to adjust to stop having to make so much oil, but your skin will clear up once you stop fighting with it.

When you do need soap (like for actual dirt) use really gentle stuff like Ivory.

Really our skin has several million years worth of knowledge on how to take care of itself. All these "products" are super duper not helping. Rub & rinse and pat dry and you'll glow.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:24 PM on November 23, 2012

Washing/exfoliating: washcloth with warm water.

Moisturizing: virgin coconut oil (vco)

From inside out: fermented cod liver oil daily (miraculous stuff), an occassional spoonful of vco, stay hydrated.

I had acne all through my twenties, until I stopped using soap and other chemicals. Nthing Dr. Bronners as your hair/body soap. I find it too drying for my face.
posted by peacrow at 3:05 PM on November 23, 2012

Oh. Cutting refined grains and white sugar out of my diet made the biggest difference in the tone/health of my skin.
posted by peacrow at 3:11 PM on November 23, 2012

I suffer from bacne. The routine that seems to help is the following:

--aspirin masks (daily). I take some generic aspirin, dissolve in water, and then pat onto my skin and leave for a few minutes and rinse
--no soap or other cleaners
--Lac-Hydrin Five moisturizer which I add in some green tea (matcha) and a few drops of lavender and tea tree oil
posted by nanook at 3:28 PM on November 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you can, see a dermatologist.
posted by insectosaurus at 3:47 PM on November 23, 2012

What made the quantum difference in my skin was changing my shaving regimen: hot wash cloth compress --> shaving brush and shaving soap (eg Williams) lather --> Mach 3 razor or similar --> very cold compresses to close pores afterward. I'll use a facial scrub every few days and after every shave I use a soothing moisturizer/balm like Nivea or Nutragena.

If you can, I would talk to a dermatologist about your back, but if that's out of reach, use a standard acne soap in the shower like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Be sure to cover up with an inert moisturizer like lubriderm or something similar since these soaps are drying.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 4:47 PM on November 23, 2012

I have the same problem. I got a lot of very helpful advice and info from The treatment method I ended up finding the most success with is bascially the "regimen" for treating bacne described on that site. For awhile, I was taking an antibiotic and showering using a 2% salacylic acid bodywash. These measures were not helping. Using the benzoil peroxide seemed to turn the tide. From what I can gather, acne is caused by damaged/clogged pores becoming infected with anaerobic bacteria. These bacteria can only grow in the absence of oxygen. That is why clogged pores lead to acne. Salacylic acids works by removing the clogs. Benzoil peroxide works by killing the bacteria directly. For whatever reason, benzyoil peroxide seemed to work for me where salacylic acid did not. I can say that simply using benzyoil peroxide (or any treatment) as spot treatment does not work (red marks - as you've no doubt discovered). You need to kill the bacteria so that you are treating acne before it forms. Hence the importance of the widespread application of benzyoil peroxide. The glycolic acid acts to remove dead skin cells, thereby unclogging pores and helping the skin to heal itself (reduces red marks).

Below is a list of all the measures I am using to treat my bacne:

1) Doxycycline (antibiotic prescribed by dermatologist) - careful, may cause initial breakout and hyperpigmentation in skin if you are out in the sun; discuss with dermatologist before using
2) 10% Benzyoil Peroxide (BP) soap/bodywash (non-prescription; sold under the brand name PanOxyl and also as a generic by CVS) - important because kills bacteria that cause acne; need to apply BP to entire surface area of back to treat acne before it forms
3) 10% glycolic acid gel ordered from - important because removes dead skin cells
4) 2% benzyoil peroxide gel also from - added this during fall/winter (which seemed like times I'd had bad breakouts in the past) because I was afraid that the BP would not stay on my skin if I just used the wash

I have also taken the following measures:

1) Always wearing loose fitting cotton t-shirts either as sole shirt, or between skin and heavier shirt (I have no proof, but I am suspicous that certain aritificial fibers irritate/damage the skin; also prevents BP from bleaching shirt)
2) Wearing two t-shirts during 24 hour period: one during the day, and one while I sleep (important to prevent bacteria/dirt build up)
3) Washing sheets once per week (same as above)
4) Changing towel/washcloth once per week (same as above)
5) Trying to get as much sleep as possible (sleep loss and stress seem to lead to changes in the body that make it more suscpetible to infection by acne causing bacteria)
6) Using cogntive techniques to reduce stress (see above)

I'm not gonna lie, these treatments can be harsh on your skin. I would advise proceeding slowly (test the BP on portions of your skin before applying it everywhere; try the BP for awhile before adding the glycolic acid). They are also time consuming. I wish there was a way to treat acne through preventative measures, but I have not found a way to do it. I have heard of people having success with "paleoithic diets", but I can't confirm.
posted by eagles12 at 12:31 AM on November 24, 2012

Jojoba oil is a great moisturizer.

I like dead sea salt/mud soap to exfoliate...I just use a scrubby pad and the soap itself is a pretty good exfoliant. i use soap by One with Nature.

Cod liver oil - the straight up oil, not the pills. A spoonful each day. It helps with dry, scaly skin, as well as stuff like acne. I take one with lemon-mint flavor and it doesn't really taste fishy or anything. Eating fish like sardines or salmon is good too, along with an overall quality diet.
posted by fromageball at 7:10 AM on November 24, 2012

Nthing using oil! It sounds like you might have dry skin, and oil is great for that. Metafilter fave The Oil Cleansing Method is what I've used for the last few years. It's dirt cheap, amazing on blackheads and the best thing I've used as far as cleansers.

I haven't tried it for back acne, I can imagine it'd be a bit of a stretch to successfully massage it into your skin.

I use 30% Castor Oil to 70% Coconut oil for my combination/dry in the winter skin. Sunflower seed oil and olive oil also work well.
posted by moons in june at 9:52 AM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Definitely see a good dermatologist. Those who run skin care clinics offering peels, laser hair removal and the like can be fine, as long as they're focused on the results you want instead of just selling you more products and services.

Be very cautious of oral antibiotics for skin issues. Try everything else first. Antibiotics can permanently alter and damage your GI system, decrease your resistance to bacterial infection, and cause other serious issues.
posted by 4midori at 10:15 AM on November 24, 2012

Acne comes from the inside, not the outside. I'd second going a few weeks without things like: wheat, gluten, sugar, and milk products.
posted by rumbles at 8:23 PM on November 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seconding the aloe gel recommendation (I also discovered this by accident). If you can find some without methylparabens, even better. Nothing stronger than, say, Noxzema cream (generic grocery store brand is fine) to wash with (the essential oils in it are natural antibacterials) and be sure to rinse that shampoo/conditioner out fully after showering!

Having spent a fortune in skincare over the years (and on dermatologists, whose prescriptions seemed to just make things worse or cause other, much more serious, problems), I'm kind of annoyed that it took me this long to figure it out, but thankful, too--this routine has not only cleared up my skin but has also actually helped backtrack some of my sun-lizard damage issues...and you can't beat the price.
posted by jenh at 9:55 AM on November 25, 2012


I tried the recommended method of Aloe gel and Noxzema creme. The cream didn't work to get rid of my acne for me personally. But the Aloe vera gel did solve the dryness issue.

I ended up going to a dermatologist and prescribed Epiduo. Have been using that daily for the past 2 months and it has dried up my acne. However the dark spots left bar acne still persists. I will mention that to him when I go for a follow up appointment in a month.

Thanks for the recommendations!
posted by Parh6512 at 7:06 AM on May 15, 2013

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