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How to Deal With Dry, Flaky Skin

5 simple steps to better skin.

5 simple steps to better skin.

How Men Can Combat Dry Skin

I’ve had dry skin since I was a teenager. I’m mostly talking around my face and head. I don't have psoriasis or anything too serious. Just dry, flaky skin. Those that suffer from this know that it's not only annoying, but it's also uncomfortable. It can also become embarrassing. Most men just ignore it because they don't know how to tackle the issue. Some guys even feel the solutions in this article are things that men just don't do. I'm here to show that skincare routines are for everyone.

So with that in mind, I wanted to share with you the things I’ve found that help. Before you begin, you need to know that these things are going to have to become a routine—and by that, I mean daily. The good news is they’re quick, easy, and after a while even become a pleasure.

Use a good moisturiser.

Use a good moisturiser.

1. Moisturise

So I’m going to start with the obvious one here and say you should be using moisturiser. As a teen, I didn’t focus on skincare for three reasons.

  1. I thought it was a bit of a girly thing to do, and people might make fun of me. (How would they even know?)
  2. There weren't really any creams on the market designed for men’s skin.
  3. Most creams were heavily perfumed, which irritated my skin.

Luckily, the skincare market has come a long way since then. For a start, people don’t really care if a man uses moisturiser. Second, now we have a huge range of products specifically designed for men’s skin.

Find the Best Moisturiser for You

If you’ve used moisturiser before, and it didn’t work, don’t let that put you off. I tried five or six different moisturisers before I finally found one that worked for me. My advice is to look for ones made specifically for men and made for your skin type. In this case, it would be dry, tight skin. You may also have combination skin—oily in some areas and dry and flaky in others. In this case, you want to look for a moisturiser that is for dry, combination skin. You should also make sure it is fragrance-free and contains no alcohol. Both of these things can make your condition worse.

How to Begin Your Skincare Regimen

Once you found the one you want to try, you’ll have to use it daily for at least two or three weeks. Shower daily, and use an exfoliating sponge to gently clean your face. Then apply a liberal amount of cream all over your face focusing on where your skin is driest (for me, it's my cheeks and in between my eyebrows).

For the first few days, this might make your skin red or flushed. It might even tingle a bit. This is usually because your skin isn’t used to moisturisers. It should settle. The important thing is that you do it daily. If, after a few weeks, your skin is still red, flushed, or irritated, then you might have to move on to another product. Don’t forget; I went through five or six creams over the course of a few years before I found one that worked for me.

You can try a cream like E45, which is mostly for medical conditions like eczema and dermatitis. Personally, I found it made my skin go bright red, but admittedly, I haven’t tried the full range. The one product I have found that works best for me is Bulldog Original Moisturiser for men. It's one of the few male products that doesn’t make my face either flush, tight, or sore. If you are struggling with a place to start, then I suggest starting here.

Conditioner will fix dry hair.

Conditioner will fix dry hair.

2. Take Care of Your Hair

Believe it or not, your hair plays a big part in your skin. Your hair is thirsty and draws moisture away from your skin. I try to keep my hair short, which means a trip to the barbershop every three weeks. Less hair means less moisture is needed to feed it.

You need to use a hair conditioner. Once you've used it, you'll wonder why you haven't used it all your life. Most men's products come in a combined 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner, but you'll genuinely be better off with two separate products (buy the better brands—trust me, it's worth it). As with the moisturiser, you really need to make a routine of it. Use conditioner either daily or every other day.

If that isn't enough, then you can use a “hair food” cream that you rub into your hair before you comb it. I actually use macadamia nut oil. You can usually find it in the hair care aisle in most supermarkets. It doesn't make your hair greasy; it should just feed your hair and make it less thirsty. So, couple all these things together, and you'll feel like David Ginola (a reference for the over 30s).

Finally, in the hair section, I need to mention facial hair as well. Yes, your beard is also thirsty. Either shave it off or if you insist on having one, use a beard moisturiser daily.

A silk pillowcase not only feels luxurious, but it can also help with acne.

A silk pillowcase not only feels luxurious, but it can also help with acne.

3. Use a Silk Pillowcase

Again, women have known this for years. This isn’t about luxury, although it is nice, it's about the fact that cotton pillowcases can dry your skin out. It’s as simple as that. You’ll have to splash some cash on this one, but it’ll be worth it. Don’t underestimate this one. It made the biggest impact for me in improving my skin. You’ll notice the difference after just two nights.

There are plenty of lesser-quality pillowcases around that you want to avoid. Look for 100% mulberry silk and take notice of the silk weight. Maybe something around 19 to 22. It's also worth noting that silk pillows are also good for acne.

A humidifier not only helps your skin, but it has many other benefits.

A humidifier not only helps your skin, but it has many other benefits.

4. Use a Humidifier

No, not a de-humidifier, a humidifier. Many people may not have heard of this before. Humidifiers are small devices that you can place on your bedside table, fill with water, and leave on overnight. It sprays a gentle cool mist of water into the air and helps keep your hair and skin hydrated. Humidifiers are also beneficial for people who have dry, cracked lips, dry eyes, allergies, and sinus headaches. There’s even some evidence that they can help reduce the risk of catching the flu.

I find these especially good in the winter. The cold is bad enough on your skin, but having the heating on can dry your skin out even more. There are different types of humidifiers, but for the sake of this article, I’ll recommend a steam vaporizer. As long as you can live with the slight humming noise, you’ll really feel the benefit.

There are some things you need to look out for when using a humidifier though. Making sure you use clean water and using hard water. Make sure you do some research and find the right kind for you.

Don't just hydrate on the outside, you have to hydrate on the inside, too!

Don't just hydrate on the outside, you have to hydrate on the inside, too!

5. Stay Hydrated

I'll finish with an obvious one. Drinking plenty of water will keep your skin hydrated. Now the actual science on this isn't clear. But most skincare professionals will advise plenty of water throughout the day. This also goes for the opposite—avoid alcohol! I can already hear people clicking the "close window" button after that, but just listen. It's something to think about. Whilst the science also isn't clear about the effects of alcohol on dry skin; there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that suggests it plays a part in the health of your skin. I know people who quit drinking because beer made their psoriasis significantly worse. So I'm not saying you should quit drinking. It's just something you should keep in mind.

Skincare is Enjoyable

One thing I need to add here is that you really should open up and enjoy the things you usually wouldn't guys. One thing I've enjoyed for the past few years is face masks, face peels, and even facials. It's something you can enjoy with your girlfriend or wife. She'll definitely appreciate it, after all, soft healthy skin isn't just for women. You'll find it relaxing and you'll have nicer skin as a result. So the next time you're in the supermarket take a walk down the health and beauty aisle and pick out a face mask.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Andy Thomson