Skin Care and Acne Prevention for Men
Acne--a skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become plugged with dead skin or oil--is a troublesome problem that can persist long past adolescence. According to the Mayo Clinic, you might be at higher risk for developing acne if your parents suffered from acne, and your likelihood of developing acne might be increased if your skin has direct exposure to greasy substances, or if your skin rubs against items such as phones, tight collars or backpacks. There are several things men can do to help prevent acne.
Acne is not, in fact, caused by dirt buildup, according to the Mayo Clinic, so preventing breakouts isn’t a matter of scrubbing or cleansing with abrasive soaps. In fact, using chemicals or soaps that are too harsh can actually make acne worse by irritating the skin. Instead, use gentle, basic cleansers, and if you’re acne-prone, use cleansers designed for acne prevention. Wash just twice a day, in the morning, and in the evening before bed.
Cleansers Designed for Acne Prevention
According to Acne.org, those prone to acne should look for facial cleansers that are labeled as “oil-free’ and “non-comedogenic.” Ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are also designed to fight acne. Companies such as Neutrogena, Clean & Clear and Clearasil sell over-the-counter cleansers with these types of active, acne-fighting ingredients.
Men are at particular risk for acne exacerbated by shaving. According to the makers of the acne medication system Proactiv, shaving bumps are, in fact, acne breakouts caused by hair trapped in the follicle. You can help prevent acne by shaving properly. According to Proactiv, you should begin by rinsing your face and neck with warm water, which helps dilate blood vessels. Then, lather well with a thin, filmy shaving cream, and use an electric razor or a new, single-blade razor each time you shave. Multi-blade razors cut the hair below the skin, which can lead to inflammation of the hair follicles. Shaving in the direction of hair growth also helps prevent irritation, according to Proactiv, and an antibacterial gel or alcohol-free toner applied after shaving helps prevent bacteria from getting into follicles.
According to the Mayo Clinic, over-the-counter lotions that contain benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol, lactic acid or salicylic acid can help promote peeling and dry excess oil, which helps heal and prevent acne.
If cleansing and over-the-counter treatments don’t work, talk to your doctor about other acne treatment options. Vitamin A-based prescription topical treatments such as tretinoin, adapalene and tazarotene, which usually come in cream or gel form, can help fight acne, as can prescription oral medications such as antibiotics or isotretinoin – which is sold under the brand name Accutane, according to the Mayo Clinic. Some acne drugs carry high risks of side effects, though, so discuss the safety of acne medications with your doctor before beginning treatment.
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