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Skin life blog

It’s a man thing:
spots and the adult male


Philippe DeshayesPhilippe DeshayesDermatologist

Spots are for kids, right?  Wrong.  Blemishes and imperfections are a common complaint for men, too.  Dermatologist Dr Philippe Deshayes gives us the skinny on making your face a spot-free zone.

Man up

Although it’s probably not what you want to hear, some skin problems are just part of being a man.  “They’re usually caused by folliculitis, when hair follicles become infected by germs and bacteria,” explains Dr Deshayes.  “It’s brought on by shaving.”  But there are other factors at play, notably the secretion of oil, all over a man’s face owing to our larger and more numerous sebaceous glands.

Do it right

So what’s to be done?  Dr Deshayes advocates shaving often, but gently:  “Make sure you only shave in the direction of the hair.  Use a soap-free shaving product with an antibacterial action to stop germs from spreading.”  And easy on the aftershave!  Many of them contain alcohol, which can actually make things worse.

Get treatment

So now you’ve got shaving down, are you done?  Think again.  If you have spots, you also need to start treating the oily skin that’s causing them.  Dr Deshayes breaks it down into two simple steps.  Cleansing your skin with a soap-free gel with exfoliating active ingredients will prevent excess sebum and dead skin from clogging up your pores. Finally – and very important – you need an anti-bacterial skincare treatment with salicylic acid to wipe out the germs that can cause infection. Choose a matifying texture to stay shine-free all day long, and be sure the product you pick contains moisturising agents to soothe your skin and stop the irritation that leads to spots. 

Chill out

Still, choosing the right skincare treatment is just part of the story.  Some of your lifestyle choices could be making your problem worse.  First off - as if you didn’t know it already - smoking is bad.  “One of the effects of tobacco is to retain sebum,” warns Dr Deshayes.  “Smoking can cause permanent acne.”  Another factor is more psychological.  Oily skin manifests itself in two distinct ways:  as shiny patches, or as inflamed areas that are prone to spots.  “Your skin can swing from one to the other without warning and it’s often because of stress.”  So once you’ve cleansed, shaved and treated your skin, there’s one more thing you have to do.  Relax.

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