Men's Grooming: Skin Care for Your Body

Stock up and save time in the morning with the right products for you.

Medically Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on November 09, 2012
4 min read

Look and feel your best with deodorants and skin products for your specific needs and skin type. Once you know what to look for, you’ll be in and out of the mall in no time.

Many men prefer bars of soap to liquid cleansers. And for most men, bars are fine. But if you have very dry skin, try a cleanser. "What matters to most men is what soap looks and smells like. They usually don’t want a pink and flowery smelling body cleanser,” Dee Anna Glaser, MD, professor of dermatology at Saint Louis University, says. “But frankly, just about every product out there works equally well for skin.”

  • If you insist on bar soap, look for moisturizing soaps with emollients such as glycerin and oils such as vitamin E oil, olive oil, and jojoba oil.

Most men don’t bother to use a body moisturizer. That’s OK if your skin is naturally oily. But if it tends to be dry, a moisturizer can help. The quickest solution is to use a moisturizing shower bar or cleanser. Another option: shower lotions and emollients that you put on in the shower and then rinse off. If that doesn’t keep your skin moist enough, apply a moisturizer after showering.

Focus on the areas where skin typically dries out: the elbows, knees, shoulders, and lower legs.

Dermatologist Vic A. Narurkar, MD, says, “Moisturizing your legs is particularly important and something many men don’t think about. Chronic dry skin, or xerosis, of the legs can exacerbate eczema and cause skin to turn a brownish, woody color as you get older.”

Many moisturizers trumpet the anti-aging properties of antioxidants. But there’s little scientific evidence that they protect the skin from oxidative damage when applied topically and at levels contained in these products. Some botanical ingredients, however, may have healing properties. Aloe, for instance, long used in moisturizers, has been shown to speed skin healing.

  • If you have trouble with acne, look for a liquid cleanser and a moisturizer that contain glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or benzyl peroxide. These active ingredients remove dead skin and clean out pores, preventing acne.


The sun’s UVA rays not only cause skin cancer, they also cause age spots and wrinkles as you get older. If you spend time out in the sun, protect your skin.

  • Look for broad-spectrum sunscreens that block UVA and UVB, with an SPF factor of at least 30.
  • Limit your time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a broad-brimmed hat.

Men sweat more than women, and heavy sweating usually means underarm odor.

Dermatologist Carolyn Jacob, MD, says some men can get by with a standard deodorant. “But if you have trouble with excessive sweating, a condition called hyperhidrosis, you may need to spend the extra money for a clinical-strength deodorant,” she says. Available over-the-counter, clinical-strength deodorants pack a higher percentage of active ingredients.

  • For the best protection, look for products that contain aluminum chloride, which blocks sweat glands. (One drawback: aluminum chloride can stain the underarms of shirts and undershirts yellow.)

If a daytime deodorant doesn’t do the trick, apply the deodorant at night before you go to sleep. “Putting it on at night allows the aluminum chloride to diffuse into the sweat glands so that you get more protection during the day when you need it,” Glaser says. In the morning, be sure to wash it off in the shower since aluminum chloride can cause irritation. Afterward, if needed, apply your usual daytime deodorant for added protection.

The newest approach to serious underarm sweating and odor is Botox injections, which deaden the muscles around sweat glands. Narurkar says that a new topical cream with Botox that can be used at home is in the pipeline. This will let men avoid the need for needle injections in a doctor’s office.

The same type of fungus that causes athlete’s foot can invade the groin, buttocks, and inner thighs, triggering a red and itchy rash called jock itch.

Sweating increases the risk of getting jock itch, hence the name. But inactive people who are seriously overweight are also prone to jock itch. Use an antifungal powder or spray on both your feet and your groin. Showering and thoroughly drying off after a workout can help prevent jock itch. So will wearing loose-fitting boxers rather than briefs.

It’s important to keep the skin around a new tattoo moisturized, especially during the first few weeks.

  • Look for a moisturizing emollient with petrolatum, Narurkar says. "We also tell our patients to avoid using anything with neomycin, which can cause allergic reactions.”

Using a sunscreen regularly will also help prevent the ink from fading. If you decide you’re tired of a tattoo and want to get rid of it, don’t waste your money on tattoo removal creams. There’s no evidence they work, and some may irritate the skin. Talk to a dermatologist about professional tattoo removal.