“It’s sticky.” “It’s messy.” “I don’t see the point.” “I don’t have time.” In my practice, I hear a million excuses why men don’t use moisturizer on a daily basis. But, from a medical perspective, moisturizer is essential for properly functioning skin – especially in Arizona’s desert climate.
Over the past decade, men’s skin care options and product availability have grown significantly as consumers have become more aware of the long- and short-term benefits. The idea that men are concerned about the state of their skin is also more culturally accepted now than it was in our father’s and grandfather’s generations, leading to more male-friendly options than ever before.
The truth is, daily moisturizing is not just about being vain. It’s vital for overall skin health. Using lotion to treat dry, damaged skin and improve texture, appearance and overall comfort, is critically important since the skin is the body’s largest organ and the first line of defense to help guard from infection and diseases.
Regularly using moisturizer should be part of any skin care regimen. At Stockton Dermatology, we encourage patients to use lotion with at least 30 SPF (sun protection factor) or higher to protect skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Research shows that Arizona has the second-highest skin cancer rate in the world, so using a moisturizer with built in sun protection is immensely beneficial to your skin’s overall health. A few of our favorite daily moisturizers and sunscreens include: Neutrogena Hydro boost lotion, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen 55, EltaMD UV Daily Broad Spectrum and Kinesys SPF 30 Performance Sunscreen spray. ISDIN also makes an On-The-Go mineral brush that is a powder.
When you moisturize matters, too. The most important time to use moisturizer is after a shower or shave. While hot water may be relaxing, it also wreaks havoc on your skin. Moisturizing after a shower is essential because hot water strips moisture and oils from your skin leaving it parched and dry.
The skin on your face is not the only part of your body that needs moisturizer either. Don’t forget to lather up your ears, neck and chest, which are not only sensitive areas, they are also the areas where we see skin cancer develop most frequently.
A few other tips for keeping your skin supple and healthy: after a shower gently pat your skin dry instead of rubbing with a towel, this helps your skin retain more moisture; drink at least eight glasses of water a day to moisturize your skin from the inside out; exfoliate your skin to slough off the outermost layer of dead skin cells which will help moisturizer penetrate healthy skin cells more easily; and try to use mild, fragrance-free soaps and shampoos which tend to be gentler on the skin.
If you suffer from dry, itchy or tight skin, even after you follow a moisturizing routine, make an appointment to see a physician. Persistently dry, flaky skin could be a sign of an underlying health issue. Dermatologists at Stockton Dermatology can examine the skin, rule out any significant health issues and explain how to help alleviate dryness and irritation.
John Shaff, PA-C, DFAAPA at Stockton Dermatology in Ahwatukee, is a member of the American College of Surgeons, American Academy of Physician Assistants, and Arizona State Association of Physician Assistants and the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants. In 2017, Shaff was appointed by the Governor of Arizona to serve on the Arizona Regulatory Board of Physician Assistants.