Like me, you may have been given some kind of male grooming pack for Christmas, complete with body wash, shampoo and … a facial moisturiser.
Along with socks, jocks and salted cashews, this is one of Santa’s staples. Sure, the shampoo is practical, and the body wash comes in handy when you run out of soap.
But do blokes really need to rub lotion into their faces? And will they be laughed to scorn if they do?
Experts interviewed by The New Daily were firmly of the opinion that real men do, and should, moisturise.
Valley Plastic Surgery’s Dr Kate DeAmbrosis, a specialist dermatologist, was convinced the stigma, if ever there was one, has vanished.
“If anything, it’s the opposite and it’s now become the accepted norm for men to be more in tune with their general skin hygiene,” Dr DeAmbrosis said.
“Good skin reflects health and I find most of my male patients are keen to maintain a healthy skin and prevent the signs of skin ageing and adult acne breakouts.”
An expert in skin care products agreed that male moisturising was becoming “commonplace”, with many benefits.
“Men should, and many do, understand the importance it has with their skin health and how much better their skin feels when wearing a moisturiser,” International Dermal Institute’s Emma Hobson said.
“There are so many ranges out there that are easily accessible to men from supermarkets to department stores, it is commonplace.
“Anyone with skin should moisturise.”
What are the benefits?
Dr DeAmbrosis, a dermatologist and plastic surgeon, claimed moisturising can benefit male skin in three main ways, all stemming from hydration.
“Moisturising adds back into the skin the hydration needed to restore and maintain a healthy skin barrier. This makes the skin more resilient to the effects of UV, climate extremes and general skin ageing processes,” Dr DeAmbrosis said.
Aside from health benefits, vanity may be a reason in itself. Both the doctor and the skin care expert claimed that moisturisers can improve the appearance of male skin.
“Moisturising also keeps the skin soft and supple, allowing for a smoother, better quality shave,” International Dermal Institute’s Ms Hobson said.
And there is scientific evidence to back up their claims.
A meta-analysis conducted in 2005 of more than 150 previous studies concluded that moisturisers treat dry skin, prevent the appearance of dryness and make the skin less prone to eczema, as reported in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.
How to do it properly
The key is to experiment until you find a lotion that works and you’re happy with, according to the author of the meta-analysis.
Dr DeAmbrosis agreed that men should use products in keeping with their skin type.
She also recommended the use of foam or gel-based cleansers while showering (not soap or scrubs) to create a “better canvas” for the moisturiser and to avoid over-stripping the skin and increasing oil flow, which can cause breakouts and acne.
Ms Hobson said men should avoid products containing oil and fragrance to prevent irritation and breakouts.
Both experts agreed that men should apply a small amount of moisturiser to their faces once in the morning after a shower and once at night before bed.
For added protection, blokes might consider a moisturising sunscreen.