Sandpaper may be great for refinishing a piece of furniture or smoothing out a patch job on a wall, but it’s not something you would want to be compared to your skin. Rough, dry skin is in no way a handy thing to keep around. It can be more than just frustrating with its redness, flaking, tightness, pain or itchiness. It can also be embarrassing, something that makes you tuck your hands in your pockets or hide those body parts more prone to roughness — say, the front of your legs, arms and even your midsection. There are self-care measures you can take to manage this — or perhaps get rid of it completely. Read on to learn the causes of, and five skin care tips for, men’s rough skin.
Causes of Men’s Rough Skin
Dryness is not the only cause of rough skin. Several other medical challenges also comprise the rough skin category, such as:
- Psoriasis: Known for causing irritated and red skin, this condition is caused by an overactive immune system. Manifestations commonly appear on the feet, palms, back, face, scalp, knees and elbows.
- Keratosis pilaris: This skin condition causes small bumps and rough spots on the thighs, arms and buttocks. Although not a serious condition or harmful, it does affect the skin’s appearance.
- Eczema: Eczema is an umbrella term for skin conditions that cause rashes. Atopic dermatitis, which is a rash caused by an allergen, is a common form of eczema. Symptoms include inflammation, redness and itchiness.
#1 Make The Most Of Your Moisture
Just as you can’t count on your pull-up bar or running shoes to make you physically fit without putting in the work on your own, you can’t rely on your natural oils to keep roughness at bay. You have to put in the work — moisturizing. And your skin’s natural oils and your moisturizer have to work together.
Your skin has a nice coating of lipids — basically fatty, oily substances — that help keep it moist. When something strips that layer of lipids away, dry skin is the result. However, you can keep your skin’s moisture intact by basically glueing it to yourself with the help of a moisturizer.
Your first step is getting your hands on a moisturizer that works for you. Head to your local drugstore, where you’ll find plenty of economical options. You need a moisturizer that will help your rough skin, so go with a nice thick option without added alcohol or perfumes. Check for rough-skin-friendly ingredients, such as petroleum, glycerin and lanolin.
Your second step is actually using the moisturizer. Don’t be bashful! Slather it on three to four times each day, including right after you shower and when you wash your hands.
#2 Wash (and Shower) Wisely
Do childhood nightmares of being known as the “stinky kid” have you scrubbing your skin off every day? If so, you need to wash more wisely to help your rough skin. Watch your method and frequency.
As enticing as a steaming hot shower might be, stick with a milder water temperature. And keep your time under the water’s spray at less than 15 minutes.
Also, rethink how many times you put soap to skin. Sensitive facial skin needs to be washed just once a day [source: American Academy of Dermatology]. Underarms and genital areas need soaping every day, but most folks can clean the other areas of their body just two to three times each week.
When it comes to your hands, though, the best way to stop the spread of infections, such as influenza, is to wash your hands after you use the restroom — every time. So wash away, but be sure to moisturize your hands after.
#3 Practice Product Prudence
When it comes to your products, what works for your sweetheart might not work for you. Although you don’t have to go fancy if you have different skin types, skin care options may be something you can’t share.
Earlier, you learned what to look for in your moisturizers, but what about cleansers for rough skin? First, when it comes to facial and body cleansers, go with a liquid option over a bar, which can be tough on your skin. Second, shy away from added ingredients not well-suited to men’s rough skin, such as alcohols, antibacterial detergents and deodorants. Instead, look for added fats and oils.
If your face and body are similar in skin type, try going double-duty and use the same product for both. And just as you can go with less-expensive options for your moisturizer, seek an affordable selection.
If you find that your skin care regimen just isn’t taking care of your skin issues, you may want to consider some over-the-counter helpers. For example, creams with urea or cortisone cream for itchiness control can help soothe rough skin
#4 Keep Irritants at Bay
All the moisturizer in the world may not be enough to protect your skin from the products and chemicals you can encounter on a daily basis — either from your own home or on the job. In fact, exposure to household chemicals, especially exposure involving sensitive skin, can lead to a rash, swelling or redness.
Therefore, proceed with caution. Follow these steps to protect your skin when working with different chemical products:
- Keep your eyes open! Watch for warning labels, such as “danger” or “use in a well-ventilated area.” Always read the labels on products and follow directions.
- Do not mix products together.
- Cover up with gloves or a long-sleeve shirt.
- Wash your skin after using a chemical product.
- Avoid hazardous chemicals completely, if you can. Why not give good old-fashioned baking soda a try instead?
#5 Stress Less
The skin care regimen you follow and the products you use can get you only so far. You also need to consider a holistic approach to keeping your skin smooth. In fact, did you know that when it comes to skin challenges, such as eczema, stress can bring on flare-ups?
So to make sure that you don’t sabotage your other skin care efforts put stress management at the top of your list. This may seem daunting considering just how many stressors we have coming our way daily, but it’s certainly possible.
To curb the stress in your life, the first thing you need to do is put a name to it! Do you feel pressure from family issues, health concerns or your job? By identifying your stress, you can then determine if there are authentic steps you can take to mitigate it.
That said, some things may not be able to be changed. In those instances, add some healthy coping techniques to your life. For example, try meditating, getting physically active, playing or listening to music, practising yoga and connecting with friends and family in social settings. Practising these coping mechanisms will help your inner peace visibly shine through in the form of healthier skin.
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Catch up with our previous stories on tips for dealing with other skin types for men!