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August 12, 2011

Epidermal Treats

by thenattyurbanite

My first visit to a fancy day spa [full disclosure it was a birthday present] was something else. The massage, manicure, pedicure, whirlpool and sauna were pure ecstasy. But the last treatment, a facial, was that “something else”. This wasn’t my first facial, but what was a first, was the comment made by the aesthetician.

Ukrainian Aesthetician: Ack your skin is so dry it like shattered glass!!

Me: Have you been outside? It’s February in Toronto.

I pride myself on taking care of my skin. But winter is an evil termagant and this year it slapped my skin good and proper. She “repaired” my skin by slapping on some whale spunk blue-green algae and some stuff from some lab in Switzerland. However, I knew what she was trying to say – many men fail to take care of their skin.

From puberty hit my mother and then dermatologist, instilled the virtues of washing, toning, exfoliating and SPF-moisturizing. These steps comprise my morning routine [it’s not half as intense as Patrick Bateman’s]. However, I’ve met many men who simply wash their face with whatever soap they use to shower. Using a bar of soap on your face excessively cleans your skin leaving it very dry. This dryness will lead to flakiness and over time the skin will lose its elasticity and small cuts [from shaving or angry lovers] can turn into sores.

Below is a basic skin care regime [mine].

Step 1 – Cleanse [Daily, Morning and Night]

Invest in a decent cleansing gel [face wash]. Not all cleansers are created equal. I recommend doing your research and even going to a department store’s cosmetic department [I recommend The Bay in Canada, Lord and Taylor in the States, Harrods in the UK] and speak to an aesthetician who can analyze your skin, most times for free, and tell you what products you should look for. Note, they will try to sell you on their brand so be prepared for the pitch. I use The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash.

Step 2 – Exfoliate [Twice a week]

Exfoliation helps dislodge debris that normal washing can’t touch. Don’t scrub too hard and never use an exfoliate that has large rough granules. These will create micro-cuts on the epidermis and do more harm than good. Exfoliation also softens hair follicles for a closer, less-irritating shave and allows the skin to better absorb moisturizers. I use LUSH’s Brazened Honey.

Step 3 – Tone [Daily, Morning]

Toners are especially useful in helping to rid your skin of environmental debris and pollutants that can be detrimental to its health. It also helps to refresh; revitalize your face by closing the pores and improve blood circulation. I use The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Skin Clearing Toner.

Step 4a – Moisturize+SPF [Daily, Morning]

The human body has approximately 19,000 skin cells per square inch. A man’s skin typically has large pores and very active sebaceous glands, which are critical for keeping the skin naturally moist. Showering and shaving opens up pores allowing moisture to escape, but a light moisturizer with an SPF replenishes the skin’s moisture content, prevents razor burn and provides a critical shield against the sun. I use Ombrelle SPF 30.

Step 4b – Moisturize [Daily, Evening]

Yes a pre-bedtime regime is important! This nightly routine removes the day’s dirt and gunk. After cleansing use a non-SPF moisturizer that works while you sleep. I use JĀSÖN 32,000 IU Vitamin E Oil.

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