Mens Skin Care Products

A buyer's guide

In a day and age, competition among men is fierce as they clamor to earn their place as not only the biggest, baddest or smartest, but now also the best-looking face in the crowd. Putting your best face forward used to mean that impressions were all about attitude. But now it also means literally putting your best face forward in terms of a well-groomed, well-maintained appearance.

Twenty years ago, skin care for men consisted of simple tools such as styptic pencils, after-shave lotion, and maybe some ChapStick. If a man had dry skin, a ruddy complexion, saggy eyes, or a weathered look they were called rugged. Nowadays, that kind of appearance screams of self-neglect. The days of borrowing mom's Oil of Olay or your sister's cover-up stick are over. Skin care products for men have burst onto the scene, and it can be hard to know where to begin.

Most of today's companies would have you believe that appearance is only skin deep. But any dermatologist will tell you that in order for someone to have truly beautiful skin, the regimen must begin with a healthy diet that includes lots of water. A well-hydrated, well-nourished person will have much better skin than someone who subsists on a diet of soft drinks and french fries.

The top-rated products for men are currently produced by Clinique, Anthony Logistics and the ever-historical Lab Series by Aramis. These products are the upper echelon of skin care in terms of price. At a more affordable level, the competition is between Nivea, Loreal and Neutrogena. The four main components of a man's skin care regimen are a cleanser, a toner (rebalances the pH level of your skin after cleansing), a moisturizer and after-shave balm. Some men may go an extra step and add an eye cream to the mix.

Men who have sensitive skin are best left to simple, unscented hypoallergenic moisturizers. Cleaning the skin twice a day with a mild cleanser of your choosing will help to eliminate excess dirt and oil. Replacing razor blades every two to three shaves is good practice to prevent cuts or infections. Simple salicylic acid treatments (the main component of products such as Clearasil, or Avon) can help tackle even the most serious pimples.

Natural treatments such as organic cleansers and creams are truly no better than the random brand one can find at a local drug store or supermarket, unless you have an allergy to certain ingredients. Again, it comes down to packaging, fragrance, price and preference. In the case of organic skin care products, it's also about your state of mind in knowing that what you're putting on your body is completely natural and non-synthetic. But then again, is it truly natural to rub the essence of sea kelp onto your face?

The biggest issues encountered with men's skin care products are severe allergic reactions. It's advisable to test a small amount of a new product before lathering it onto a freshly shaven face. There is nothing like the acid burn of a smelly skin care product to cause a face rash worse than a tanning bed accident.

Men of all skin types can benefit from some type of skin care regimen. Oily, dry or normal skin each has its own set of skin care lines devoted to a specific problem. Figuring out what your problems are is half the battle, while choosing the product that works the best for you is really a matter of trial and error. Just remember to put your best face forward.

By Bryan Rhys