Think men don’t care about their skin? Think again. The market for male skin care is growing; in one 2017 survey by Mintel, the men’s grooming industry saw a 1.1 percent increase from the previous year, and nearly two-thirds of men (64 percent) claimed to use facial products. In fact, one 2017 survey by Groupon suggests that men spend nearly as much money on beauty products as women.
But is men’s skin any different than women’s? The short answer is yes.
Men do face different issues with their skin, according to Jennifer Gordon, MD, of Westlake Dermatology in Austin, Texas. The biggest difference, she says, has to do with oil glands and facial hair. “The increased oil production in the skin can lead to increased acne lesions and certain rashes (seborrheic dermatitis), but leaves them less prone to dry skin.” So while men’s and women’s skin-care routines are the same (Dr. Gordon suggests that both men and women use “a facial cleanser at least twice daily, a moisturizer, sun protection, and a retinol at night”), they aren’t necessarily equal.
To help shed some light on male skin care, we talked to Peter Kraus, the gap-toothed fan favorite and runner-up from Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette. Since their devastating breakup last August (#stillupset), Kraus has accomplished many things, namely turning down the role as America’s next bachelor, which was as charming as it was disappointing. But today, Kraus runs his own fitness and wellness brand, PKFit, where he tours the country to run boot camps and share tips on nutrition, fitness, and skin care for optimal wellness.
Here are tips the former model thinks every man should include in his skin-care routine:
Less Is More When It Comes to Skin-Care Ingredients
“It’s more about the lack of what’s in [the products],” Kraus explains. When looking for skin care, he makes sure it includes familiar ingredients that he can pronounce, and is devoid of any harsh additives that could be irritating to the skin.
For this reason, Kraus uses products from Kamedis, a company that incorporates botanic extracts from traditional Chinese medicine. As he discusses the holistic approach behind Kamedis, he points out a Kamedis cream that uses rhubarb as one of its main ingredients to act as an anti-inflammatory. He mentions another cream that uses indigo: “You can actually see it because [the cream] is blue.”
Apparently, many men have the same holistic approach to products. In the survey by Mintel, men were twice as likely to desire a “laid-back” look as opposed to a “polished” look. With that low-maintenance desire came a need to seek out more familiar, or “natural” ingredients in products such as vitamins and aloe vera.
For Kraus, finding products that are fragrance-free is top priority. But this isn’t just a personal preference. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, products with fragrances have toxins that may leave the skin feeling irritated or dry. They also caution against using “unscented” products. (Hint: They aren’t the same!) Products labeled “unscented” may still have hidden fragrances that can irritate your skin.
Clean Your Face After Every Workout
We mean it! Because guess what? And you’re going to want to sit down for this: A study published in December 2014 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health suggested that gym equipment is scattered with more germs than public toilet seats, which makes gym-goers prone to catching staph infections like MRSA. Ew. Kraus knows this all too well. “I think a lot of times somebody will finish working out and then just go right on with their day and then all that just sits on top of your skin and gets in your pores,” he says.
“For a guy like myself who’s active and moves a lot, especially working out, clean your face after anything where your skin is exposed to dirt, sweat, grime, things like that,” Kraus advises.
Hey, women aren’t the only ones who enjoy a good spa sesh from time to time! Though Kraus’s affinity for mud masks is due in large part to ex-girlfriends, he also admits that even as a single man (wink, wink, ladies), he still does them on his own. “They’re actually quite enjoyable,” he says enthusiastically.
And with so many varieties, from mud to clay to homemade oatmeal masks, there’s a mask out there for every type of skin. For instance, according to Jetske Ultee, PhD, clay masks work extremely well for a more oily skin with acne. “Clay is capable of killing bacteria and molds. Additionally, clay can absorb excess oil or serum,” she writes in a blog post. Tip when buying new products: it’s always good to read the ingredients of a product carefully, especially if you have dry or sensitive skin. You might also want to test the product on the inner part of your arm before applying it to your face.
Drinking Water Counts
Kraus considers water such a “big thing” when it comes to skin. “Your skin is an organ,” he explains. “If it’s deprived of water, you’re going to suffer.”
Gordon agrees completely. “Hydration effects everything,” she says. “Skin is always reactive, so whatever is going on inside your body can be evident through skin changes … so I absolutely recommend staying hydrated from the inside as well. ”And again, this rule applies especially when it comes to high-intensity climates. Kraus notes that as the climate gets warmer or drier, you should be combating it with more and more water. You’ll see the difference from the inside out!