For many men, "skin care" is something their wives or girlfriends do. Reaching for the shaving cream, they knock over bottles of moisturizers and creams and wonder if all those expensive potions and their exotic ingredients are even worth the plastic they're packaged in.
So it's not surprising that many men react to new male-oriented lines of skin care products by assuming they're mere marketing ploys aimed at separating self-absorbed men from their money.
Men rarely see Thomas J. Weida, MD, for medical tests without prodding from a wife or girlfriend. When they do show up, Weida jokes that he “can see the drag marks on the carpet.”
It’s amusing, of course. But it can quickly turn serious when a man ignores important symptoms. Weida says he knows of men who got away with ignoring chest pain for a couple of weeks. Eventually, though, they died of heart attacks.
Yet skin care isn't just for the growing ranks of urban "metrosexuals." Dermatologists from across the country tell WebMD that growing numbers of older men are seeking advice on how to stay looking younger for longer.
"No matter how well you dress, how nice your haircut is, and how healthy you are, if you have skin that is dull and freckly and blotchy you're not going to look your best," says Jeffrey Dover, MD, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine.
And proper skin care isn't just about looking young; it can also prevent deadly skin cancers. More than 1 million new cases of skin cancer are reported each year, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Nearly 8,000 of those cases are fatal.
Fortunately, there are simple skin care options available for men that require a minimal investment of time or money. In fact, men have an edge over women in the skin care game. Still, there are a few products that can help guys' skin look its best at any age.
Men's Edge in Skin Care
If you've ever cursed the need to shave your face each day, consider the upside: all those hair follicles will help to keep your face wrinkle-free.
Men's facial hair acts as sort of support structure for the face, Rebecca Tung, MD, a dermatologic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic, tells WebMD. Men also have more collagen and elastin fibers -- the connective tissue that gives skin its strength and elasticity -- and a tighter network of fatty tissue directly under the skin.
As a result, men's skin is on average 20% to 30% thicker than women's skin, Tung says. And thicker skin does a better job of resisting wrinkles.