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Chilly Winter Weather Causes Skin Woes For Men

Armen Hareyan's picture

Women know that a change in season means a change in skin care regime. But it is important to keep in mind that men have special winter skin care concerns that should not be overlooked.

Most people are unaware of how much sun damage they can sustain during the winter, and men especially need to take extra care of their skin during the cold season. Even during the wintry weather, the sun plays a significant role in causing skin damage. It is therefore just as vital to protect skin from the sun during the winter as it is in the summer.

According to Kathy Jones, President-Elect of the Society of Plastic Surgical Skin Care Specialists (SPSSCS) and a Registered Nurse certified in plastic surgical nursing in Fort Wright, KY, men are less likely to notice changes to their skin than women. She says that even if men notice changes, they tend to ignore them and put off going to the doctor.

"There are two things you can do to make yourself look younger longer," says Jones. "Use UVA/UVB sun protection every day, and do not smoke."

UVB rays are responsible for burning, tanning and accelerating skin aging. UVA rays can penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin and plays a major role in skin aging and wrinkling, and can cause cancer. While UVB rays vary by season and location, UVA is the same strength all year round. UVA rays can penetrate glass and clouds, so it is important to wear sunblock at all times.

Shaving Years off the Face

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A fresh face without any scruff can have its advantage -- shaving with a razor takes off the top layer of skin, promoting cell turnover and keeping skin looking young and healthy. Middle-aged men tend to have younger looking skin than women of a comparable age, largely due to everyday shaving.

Men also typically do not use many (or any) skin products, but they may be missing some key benefits.

"The skin is the largest organ in the body, but only 1% of the body's nutrients replenish the skin," adds Jones. "Products with antioxidants like Vitamins A, C, and E are intended to penetrate the skin's barrier, and can be important supplements for keeping skin nourished."

Jones offers a few important steps men can take to streamline their skin care regime and keep their skin looking healthier longer:

1. Cleanse: Wash face twice a day with a good cleanser. Something with an alpha-hydroxy acid is recommended to promote cell-turnover; this will also minimize razor bumps.

2. Shave: Aside from the aesthetic value, shaving with a razor also exfoliates the skin. Using hot water to shave softens the hairs, although it also tends to also dry out the skin.

3. Protect/Moisturize: Apply a good moisturizer with sun block. During the winter, skin tends to lose its essential oils and become dry. Moisturizing frequently will treat dry skin caused by sun exposure and shaving, while offering protection against harmful UVA/UVB rays.