Whether you are a dad, have a dad, are married to a dad, or know a dad, this post is for you! Gentlemen, your skin matters too. There is definitely an increase in the number of men we are seeing in the treatment rooms, but we can do better. While men’s skin is not that much different than women’s physiologically, we do treat it quite differently. There is the obvious distinction of facial hair, which can limit the types of treatment we are able to perform, but there is also a difference in the thickness, hydration, oil production, and chemical composition of male skin.
Let’s talk about sex, or more to the point, the sexes. Among the many differences between men and women, one of the biggest is hormonal. While women have an abundance of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, men are rich in testosterone (I totally hear that word spoken in a very deep voice in my head). This variance in hormone levels can be used to explain the lesser known differences between male and female skin. If you are of the estrogen and progesterone persuasion, prepare to get very annoyed. Due to our hormonal differences, men typically age better. They have 20-25% thicker skin and typically have larger pores and produce more sebum. Men also have darker skin and produce more collagen and hyaluronic acid (hydration). Men tend to have fewer wrinkles everywhere but the forehead. I suspect my husband’s forehead lines have everything to do with raising his eyebrows at his wife, but I can’t be 100% sure. If you are of the testosterone persuasion, prepare to get very annoyed. Men are not tolerant of higher treatment parameters the way women are. Basically, like generic no-name brand garbage bags, they are wimpy wimpy wimpy. Studies may show that Women have a lower pain threshold but in the treatment room it is my experience that girls rule and boys drool...and sometimes cry.
All of this means that we have to adjust for the above characteristic variations in product and device selection. What it does not mean, is that men don’t need to have professional skincare. In fact, I would venture to say that men need a little more tending to based on environmental stressors that are frequently the cause of damage. Does Dad golf? Does he wear sunscreen when he’s on the course? Most men seem resistant to the idea of wearing sunscreen. I’m not sure what the hold up is for most, but I asked my husband, who doesn’t always wear sunscreen, what his issue is with wearing it. His perspective is that he feels better about his appearance when he has a little color. For him, the mental health benefit of not wearing it outweighs the risk of developing premature signs of aging or worse yet skin cancer. I’m not here to lecture or shame anyone. We are all adults, and we make our choices knowing what consequences may befall us. So, guys, please be aware that if you aren’t going to wear sunscreen you may need to toughen up in the treatment room because corrective treatments usually come with some discomfort.
What kinds of professional skin care should Dad be considering? There are lots and lots of great treatments available for men. In fact, all of the same treatments that are offered to women are also applicable to men, so it might be quicker if I go over the procedures that may not be the greatest of options. BBL or IPL, which is an awesome pulsed light therapy used to treat brown spots and small vascular lesions on the skin, is a bit of a tricky choice for men but certainly not out of the question. Because BBL and IPL can also be used for hair reduction (depending on wavelengths used), it is not unrealistic to think that this treatment could cause patches of hair in the beard line to stop growing permanently. I always discuss this with my male patients prior to treatment and sometimes we only treat the upper hemisphere of the face and avoid the beard area all together. We also have to be a bit more cautious with settings because male skin tends to produce more melanin and darker skin requires lower power and longer pulse widths in order to avoid an adverse response.
Another treatment to think about beforehand is ablative resurfacing lasers. High energy procedures like Erbium or CO2 resurfacing come with a good bit of downtime and again, work best on lighter skin. You can still consider this method of rejuvenation, but you may need to do some preparing with lightening agents and minimal sun exposure prior to having it done. It is also worth mentioning that you will need to use proper home care and wear sunscreen after any of these treatments to protect the investment you have just made in your dermal health. Interestingly enough, my ladies tend to be more interested in products and less inclined to schedule a procedure, while my gentlemen are more apt to have a procedure and pass on the product. In reality, men would probably be better suited for products and women for the procedures, but a good combination of both is ideal for everyone.
If you are struggling to get something for the man who has everything, perhaps you should think about starting him on his journey toward healthy skin. At times, when I’ve suggested a certificate for treatment or product as gift ideas for the men in their lives, my female patients balked at me. They are certain that their husband/dad/brother/boyfriend would never be caught dead having a facial, and the products would sit unused and eventually go bad. I think the ladies are selling the men short. I think times are changing, and men are evolving and learning to take better care of themselves. Your skin is the largest multifunctioning organ of your body. Take care of it and help the men you care about take care of theirs too. I wish all of the Dads an incredibly Happy Father’s Day!