By Brandie Oros, APRN
June is designated as Men’s Health Month, aiming to raise awareness about preventable health concerns and encourage timely identification and treatment of diseases like cancer and heart disease. Embracing a proactive mindset and a wholesome way of life can effectively lower men’s chances of encountering various health issues, including those that the health of your skin can cause. This month, Skin Cancer & Dermatology Center would like to address some of these skin health concerns that can help men be proactive toward their own skin health.
Three Things You can do for the Health of Your Skin Starting Today
Screening Importance – It is crucial to stay updated with all cancer screenings, including skin cancer. I strongly recommend scheduling an annual visit with your Dermatology Provider to undergo a thorough exam for atypical lesions, skin cancer, and melanoma. Early detection is vital in effectively treating most cancers, and skin cancer is a prime example. At Skin Cancer & Dermatology Institute, our dedicated Providers prioritize diagnosing and treating skin cancers. When identified as a pre-cancerous condition, treatment can be as simple as cryotherapy (using liquid nitrogen), shaving, or excision to remove a mildly atypical lesion. By regularly undergoing an annual skin exam, you not only save time and money, but it also has the potential to save your life.
In addition, we recommend a yearly visit with your primary care provider to get a complete physical, including general labs and screenings for high cholesterol, colon cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid abnormalities, and mental health disease, as indicated.
Prevention – Of course, the best way to approach the health of your skin is to be proactive in its care. USE SUNSCREEN daily by applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Most of our male patients do not regularly apply sunscreen or moisturizer; however, it is essential for men as much as it is for women. The most common complaint is that it’s challenging to do every day. Try adding it to your morning routine after brushing your teeth. Another common complaint for avoiding sunscreen is because of its greasy nature or difficulty in application due to product thickness or feel. Nowadays, many sunscreen options exist, including some that can be applied as easily as a lotion while still providing excellent protection from harmful sun rays. Additionally, avoid sun exposure as much as possible, never use a tanning bed, and if you do use one, stop now.
Lifestyle – We often don’t think about how nutrition or lifestyle affects our skin, but it plays a vital role in skin health and overall health. Here are some basics you can start working on now:
- Sleep 7 to 9 hours per night
- Drink high-quality water of half your body weight in ounces (a person weighing 160 lbs should drink 80 oz of water daily)
- Eat five fruits and vegetables daily
- Take appropriate supplements as indicated by your provider to offset nutritional deficiencies
- Avoid or limit inflammatory foods – sugar, dairy, red meat, and pork
- Increase consumption of omega-3 (fish)
- Try to eat organic whenever possible
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Don’t smoke or vape
The condition of our skin is also greatly influenced by environmental factors. It remains crucial to steer clear of recognized carcinogens, such as pesticides and herbicides. Furthermore, it is advisable to minimize the use of plastics and refrain from microwaving food in plastic containers. These aspects, alongside habits like drinking and smoking, can significantly harm your overall well-being and may have particularly adverse consequences for your skin.
Skin Concerns that Affect Men
Many conditions affect both men and women, but let’s explore some things that you might encounter:
- Acne: Men often experience acne breakouts due to hormonal changes, excess oil production, or poor skincare habits. Using a non-comedogenic (doesn’t clog the pores) cleanser once a day can help. If over-the-counter products are not helping, consult a Provider who will personalize a treatment for you.
- Razor burn: Shaving can lead to razor burn, causing redness, irritation, and ingrown hairs. The American Academy of Dermatology has some great shaving tips to help avoid skin irritation including shaving techniques.
- Sun damage: Exposure to harmful UV rays can lead to premature aging, sunspots, and an increased risk of skin cancer. Use sunscreen daily with an SPF of 30 or more, but also try to avoid sun exposure and use sun-protective clothing.
- Wrinkles and fine lines: Aging affects men’s skin as well, leading to the formation of wrinkles and fine lines, particularly around the eyes and forehead. Preventing sun damage will also help you in this department. If you want to try some treatments that give great results, BOTOX® Cosmetic and fillers are effective ways to treat these signs of aging.
- Dark circles: Men can develop dark circles under their eyes due to genetics, lack of sleep, stress, or poor blood circulation.
- Ingrown hairs: Shaving, especially against the grain, can result in ingrown hairs. These occur when hair starts to grow back and curves into the skin. If you consistently have issues with ingrown hairs, consult your Provider. They may recommend medications or creams. You can also explore laser hair removal.
For any of these issues, or if you are suffering from any other skin conditions, it is best to consult a Provider specialized in Dermatology who can diagnose your condition and work with you to find an effective treatment.
What is an Effective Skin Care Routine for Men?
Men’s skin is generally thicker than women’s by about 20%, and it has higher oil production. Men’s skin maintains its thickness, and the oil glands help slow aging due to higher collagen content. These two factors generally mean that men need lighter skin products on the face, such as moisturizers..
Men’s skin care routines can be as complicated or simple as they wish. No cleansing is typically necessary in the morning and might overdry your skin if you live in Nevada. Use a moisturizing shaving cream if you shave, and when you’re done, apply a soothing aftershave formulated to reduce razor bumps and irritation. Follow that by using a moisturizer with sunscreen in the morning, saving you a step in the process.
All men should have a gentle cleanser to use every evening, followed by a light nighttime moisturizer. We tend to have a lot of sensitive skin issues due to our Nevada weather and environment. A good line of products that we recommend is the EltaMD® line, as it is excellent for sensitive and aging skin. When evaluating your routine, ask yourself if you are doing all you can to prevent cancer and early aging.
Importance of Monthly Skin Self-Exams for Men
Monthly skin self-exams are important for men because men are at a higher risk of developing life-threatening melanoma. The American Cancer Society estimates that of the 7,990 people are expected to die of melanoma in the U.S. in 2023, 5,420 will be men. The rates of melanoma have been rising significantly over the previous decades. Studies have shown that men and women who perform self-checks are more likely to identify changes in skin and skin lesions, leading to earlier diagnoses, less aggressive treatment needed, and saved lives. Be sure to check not only places exposed to the sun but also places such as the genitals, bottoms of the feet, and axillary. Also, look at your back, as this is a common place for men to develop melanoma. We recommend that patients do self-checks in a room with good lighting and take pictures of their lesions to compare changes over time. It is not advisable to do self-checks more than once a month, as it is harder to detect changes in your skin.
To learn more about skin concerns and our services in Medical and Cosmetic Dermatology, schedule a consultation online or call 775.827.1142. We also carry various skin care products for all skin types, including sunscreen, and you do not need an appointment to purchase them. We have two new locations for your convenience in South Reno at Monte Vista Village and our latest location in the RPC Medical Campus.