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July 5, 2006 11:48 AM   Subscribe

Skin care products for men -- do they work?

Hello all,

I am just about reaching that age (36) where I am becoming concerned about my aging appearance. I'm wondering if there would be any point in me trying out any of these facial skin products.. Do they work? Wishful thinking? Any recommendations?

posted by eas98 to Health & Fitness (28 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I started using a Nivea For Men cleanser/moisterizer recently (actually ran out this morning and need to get more, your question's a good reminder!) and have been impressed with the results. What once were thought to be the signs of Too Much Booze were actually signs of Unhappy Skin.

I combined the Nivea with a post-wash application of a moisterizer/SPF15 lotion (CVS knockoff on a Oil of Olay product) and a biweekly scrub with an exfoliating wash and have noticed smoother, tighter, healthier skin. A+++ WILL WASH AGAIN
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:54 AM on July 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


Truthfully, I think that a great deal of the products on the market are focused primarily on short term results. At this point, the best thing to do would be to keep your face moisturized with a gentle moisturizer each day. Get into the routine of cleansing with a gentle, relatively inexpensive cleanser (such as cetaphil) and follow up with a moisturizer. Two other things come to mind which ultimately help with the aging process. Using an eye cream beneath the eyes each morning (and at night if you wish). The final thing which should be kept in your small arsenal is MSM powder. I began using it for other reasons and found that my face tightened up tremendously and took on a more youthful glowing appearance. It was like a mini facelift! Dosage varies by person of course, but I typically only use 1/4 of a teaspoon in my OJ each morning. I've introduced it to a few other people and they've had the same results!

Background info: Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an organic source of sulfur, one of the major building blocks of glycosaminoglycans.* Glycosaminoglycans are key structural components in cartilage and play an important role in the maintenance of joint cartilage. *

It can be found at all health food stores and vitamin shops.
posted by seeminglyshy at 12:00 PM on July 5, 2006

Moisturizer is good no matter what sex you are. Also, drink a lot of water.

This stuff (Kiehl's) is good, and doesn't have a lot of fragrance, and the bottles are very gender-neutral.
posted by matildaben at 12:08 PM on July 5, 2006

Moisturize for cosmetic benefits. Exfoliate with grainy cleanser, a washcloth/pad, or toner containing AHA or BHA. Use sunscreen all the time. Some moisturizers contain sunscreen, but in my experience a thin shmear of moisturizer doen't offer much protection.

I also keep hearing that drinking a lot of water is good for the skin. I do it, but I don't know if it makes a difference.
posted by wryly at 12:12 PM on July 5, 2006

posted by Lleyam at 12:13 PM on July 5, 2006

MenEssentials has a bunch of beginners' guides to skin care and buyer's guides for products (which they sell).
posted by mendel at 12:25 PM on July 5, 2006

It's not to late to prevent signs of aging by wearing a moisturizer with sunscreen everyday. Make sure to wear something that blocks both UVA and UVB rays.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:29 PM on July 5, 2006 [1 favorite]

eas98, I definitely think they work, if you use the right products. There aren't miracle products out there, but definitely start the prevention of further aging. Products can definitely improve the appearance of your skin now also.

It would help to know your skin-type. Oily, dry, combination, any problems with acne? Flaking? Sun Damage? Sunspots?

First and foremost, use a sunscreen every day on your face and neck. At least SPF 15. I love Purpose made by Johnson and Johnson. It's not scented, so you won't have to worry about smelling like flowers. I use the Purpose moisturizer that that is SPF 30. Sunscreen is so important to prevent further wrinkles. I don't care what anybody says--the sun causes premature aging of the skin. Sometimes to a horrible extent. Sun exposure also breaks down collagen, and makes the skin appear thinner. We all want our skin to be supple and firm, not thin and crepey.

In the morning you can cleanse with a mild cleanser like Cetaphil. If you want to use a wrinkle-treatment product put that on first, let it soak in and dry, then apply the sunscreen. It sounds like a big pain in the A, but really it doesn't take long. Sometimes I leave the products in my car, and apply while I am driving in the morning.

At night cleanse again, and use an eye cream if you wish, and the wrinkle treatment. Tip--a special eye cream is not necessary. Just use the the the wrinkle treatment all over your face. I have heard that skin-care companies create eye creams, just to sell more cream. It's the same stuff. At night, you don't need an SPF obviously, and you can use something richer, like RoC nightcream.

Of course don't put anything abrasive near your eye like Retin-A or salicylic acid.

Look for products that contain retinol. Anything else is a big waste of time if your aim is to lessen the appearance of wrinkles.

Products I love for wrinkle control:

Roc products

Neutrogena products (great sunscreen and treatment all-in-one)

Skin Effects by Dr. Jeffrey Dover, sold at CVS Pharmacies -- My absolute favorite line. I have seen serious results with his products, and have had so many people comment on the appearance of my skin.

Don't worry about buying these "women's" products. They don't smell like perfume.

If you are really serious about combating wrinkles, make an appt. with a dermatologist and get yourself a prescription for Renova, or Retin-A.
posted by LoriFLA at 12:37 PM on July 5, 2006 [1 favorite]

Anthony + Lancome.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 1:06 PM on July 5, 2006

Skin care products in general are pretty straightforward, and they do work. The only claim I would be wary of is anything that promises to totally eliminate wrinkles (or cellulite, in case that's of concern to you). While there are exceptions, those particular industries tend to be pretty scam-heavy.
posted by occhiblu at 1:30 PM on July 5, 2006

Cliniuqe makes a great product called Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel. It's fragrance free and comes in both regular & oil free. I use the oil free because my skin tends to be oily in certain spots (especially in the summer). As far as creams for eyes... I've never used them, but will probably look into them now after reading more about them here.
posted by Cohiba4009 at 1:41 PM on July 5, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great answers so far.. It's reassuring to know that they do have some effect. I just have to stay out of that metrosexual mold.. ;)
posted by eas98 at 2:17 PM on July 5, 2006

It's not specifically for men, but my dermatologist had me start using Purpose Moisturizer back in the 1980s. In my mid-twenties then, I had a problem still with acne -- but the medications were drying out my skin too much and making it red and hurting.

Purpose rocks: Unscrented. Absorbs into your skin with no greasy feeling or residue. Doesn't clog pores. Has SPF-15 protection, and a new version has SPF-30. It also has the advantage of being noticeably less expensive than designer-name/metrosexual products, and you can buy it at your neighborhood drugstore.

Anyhow, I'm turning 45 this month and the skin on my face is great! I only wish the rest of my was in as good shape. :-/
posted by Robert Angelo at 2:30 PM on July 5, 2006

I use Kiehl's for my facial cleaner, shaving, and aftershave.

The products have minimal smell and woke better than traditional men's products (anything from Proctor & Gamble or Colgate...).

After years of using regular soap on my face, the switch to an actual facial cleaner was dramatic.

If you are near a store, you can go and ask for samples. YMMV, but I found that using daily good products has made a difference at my age (38).
posted by Argyle at 2:50 PM on July 5, 2006

Lance Arthur's Guide to Man Grooming, Part One: Facing Facts is a must-read, it's fairly thorough when it comes to explaining how and why you should do certain things and has good product recommendations. Our very own supreme overlord mathowie uses Kiehl's!
posted by lia at 3:02 PM on July 5, 2006

I would third the Kiehl's recommendation. To start out, I would say just go to your nearest store and be prepared to spend $100 on products designed for Men. Buy a facial cleanser you use every day (for my oily skin, I use one made for oily skin 2x per day, in the morning and night), maybe get some simple non-greasy moisturizer, get a face scrub you use just once a week, and might as well get some good shaving cream and either an aftershave or some tea tree oil for post-shaves.

You can walk in and just ask someone to find the products that will best fit your skin type and they'll be more than happy to sell you this stuff. Once you have the $100 worth of basics out of the way, you might only need to revisit once every 3 months for another $20 bottle of something or other.

You will see results after just a few uses -- my skin cleared up and my face felt softer almost immediately and now I use Kiehl's for all my hair stuff as well (shampoo, conditioner, gel). The stuff is kind of costly, but it's also simple, straightforward, and good.

And you don't end up smelling like a girl when you're done.
posted by mathowie at 3:02 PM on July 5, 2006

God damn it, stop this! Men, Attention Men Everywhere! Stop it with the skincare products! You're screwing it up for everybody! For years, decades, centuries, eons, men have not needed skincare products. And women liked us just fine. And now because cosmetics giants finally wanted to tackle an untapped market, they started the marketing blitz, inventing a category, making men think they need this crap. So men start using it. Soon, if women get used to this, the rest of us are going to have to start doing it just to keep up. STOP THE MADNESS! Stop now while we all still have a chance!

We don't need this stuff, and we don't currently have to pay for it or keep up with all that hassle. Just look at women's cosmetics. They can't travel anywhere without hauling this satchel full of 20 products, and they take forever in the bathroom spackling it all on. It's going to get that way for us, just you wait. Right now all we need is shaving cream and deodorant. Let it end there!

When women age, they look older. When men age, they look distinctive. It's always been that way. C'mon, think of the Marlboro man. Crows feet, windburned wrinkles, tough 'stache. And chicks dug it. But only because there weren't a bunch of traitors screwing it up by providing a smooth, moist alternative. RESIST, BROTHERS. RESIST! If nobody does it, nobody else will have to. Stand firm, and the ladies will keep liking us just fine. Be rugged. Be a man. Go natural. NO LOTIONS!
posted by kookoobirdz at 6:59 PM on July 5, 2006

Hopefully kookoobirdz is kidding. I never touched a men's product until about two years ago. I picked up some Jack Black moisturizer/sunscreen at Nordstrom's because I was curious, and felt like treating myself, and figured it couldn't hurt. I use it every am after showering. I have to say, it feels phenomenal. It may be placebo, but not constantly fighting dry skin is great. I know it may all be glycerin and ten cents worth of other stuff, but I wholeheartedly recommend you try some of the above mentioned options. It sounds like I ought to try Kiehls.
posted by docpops at 7:45 PM on July 5, 2006

kookoobirdz, very entertaining and funny post. I agree with you for the most part. But...

sometimes men do need this stuff. Not a million little jars, but just a product or two. My husband does not have a stitch of vanity. He believes sunscreen is required only at the beach or while mowing the lawn. I have tried to buy him moisturizers, but he doesn't use them. His face is dry as the desert. Sometimes while driving in the car during daylight, I can look over at him and notice lines galore, and flaking from dry skin. He reluctantly lets me put moisturizer on his face. What a difference! If your skin is parched, slap on some moisturizer. Plus, my husband is bald. It's a safety issue.
posted by LoriFLA at 7:46 PM on July 5, 2006

Moisturizer with SPF (the green Cetaphil is good and fairly cheap, plus easy to find), once a day, gets you about 90% of the way there. Anything else is up to you. :)
posted by kcm at 8:26 PM on July 5, 2006

Buy a handful of Azuki beans at the health food store and grind em up in the blender or coffee grinder. Mix with water and scrub your face. The Body Shop charges big bucks for plain ground Azuki beans. They smell nice and exfoliate very well.
posted by Scram at 12:11 AM on July 6, 2006

If I can hijack this slightly, does anyone have any recommendations for products in the UK? Specifically a moisturizer with sunscreen since I don't want to get skin cancer in my old age.
posted by grouse at 12:37 AM on July 6, 2006

another hijack - something for oily nose prone to blackheads? Have tried Neutrogena products, and they're too drying. It seems tough to find a cleaner that doesn't completely strip the skin and make things worse!

Clay mask every once in a while is the only thing I've found so far that helps.
posted by canine epigram at 6:38 AM on July 6, 2006

grouse, I just got back from London, and loved Boots Pharmacy. Boots has a men's skincare section, and tons of suncream, and products aimed for women. I would look for a moisturizer that is unscented and has an SPF of at least 15. Something like this.

canine epigram, I LOVE, repeat, LOVE Stiefel PanOxyl Bar You may find that too drying also.

Far blackheads, I find exfoliation is key. Get a thin, cheap washcloth (they exfoliate better). With a bit of oil-free cleanser exfoliate nose daily. You may want to try the Pan Oxyl Bar in 5%. It is a miracle worker when it comes to blackheads. Let the soap sit on the affected area for a minute or two. You don't need to use the washcloth with the Pan Oxyl though. It works on its own.

There is a great book, called The Skin Type Solution : A Revolutionary Guide to Your Best Skin Ever, by Leslie Baumann, MD. There is a questionnaire to determine your skin type with corresponding chapters on each skin type, with product recommendations. It is by far the best book I have ever read on skincare. There isn't a skin-type that she leaves out, and it's not for women only. She talks about men often, and her male clients. With her recommendations my skin has never looked better.

I feel like I am preaching up a storm. I am by no means an expert in skincare. I am very interested in it, and have been reading about skin and treating my own skin since I was 13 years old.
posted by LoriFLA at 8:06 AM on July 6, 2006

One of my clients is John Allan's, a salon for men, and when we launched their online shop last month they did a ridiculous amount of sales in the first 24 hours. This suggests that a lot of people find their products - designed for men - effective. [Full disclosure: they gave me some Face Wash, and it's quite nice, although I smell a little like a pine tree after using it.]
posted by hsoltz at 8:27 AM on July 6, 2006

Queene Helene's Mint Julep mask is a really great, really cheap (your drugstore will have it) oil reducing clay mask.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:41 PM on July 11, 2006 [1 favorite]

I've found Zirh and Dermalogica skin care products quite effective and good value for money.
I'm currently also testing Zirh Rejuvenate. It feels good, but I wouldn't dare to answer if I look any younger ;)
I found, based in the UK (but shipping to most countries) quite helpful and a good source for general skin care products or specific Anti-Aging stuff.
posted by skinny at 4:27 AM on October 20, 2006

There is nothing like exercising the body to keep it young. Just wear your sunscreen outside.
posted by bethrossrn at 4:22 AM on April 11, 2007

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