In a world where fat-cat companies regularly trick consumers into thinking they need something that is largely superfluous (and often expensive), it’s easy to get sceptical about certain trends.
From shots of Bondi wheatgrass (why did the ‘90s taste like chlorophyll?) to kombucha,, to make-up for men, we're constantly being sold something, and wary consumers have reason to get more cynical by the day.
But something that is finally becoming normalised amongst the men of Australia isn’t a trend at all, it’s just common sense.
Moisturiser, something that was once seen by the larrikin chaps of this country as something that was used by grandma before bed (or maybe after a sunburn, but that’s it), is one of the most important staples for any vanity cupboard, his or hers, and for many a good reason.
Here are five of them.
That means a lot of sun, and you don’t need to be a dermatologist to know that sun and skin aren’t the best of friends. And while the classic image of the bronzed Aussie, tanning his sculpted body on the sands of Bondi is one from which we’ll probably never truly depart as a nation, the least you can do for your skin in the meantime is make sure it’s hydrated.
In the same way you can’t un-fry an egg, once skin is cooked, it’s very hard to rejuvenate, even slightly.
Another important thing to note is the fact that plenty of moisturisers on the market nowadays carry a mild SPF quality. SPF15+ is all you need for a daily option, to guarantee your skin stays protected from harmful UV rays whilst out and about.
Your eyes reveal age
It’s simple, really. Eyes are sensitive, and so is the skin around them. While skin differs all over the body, the skin that surrounds your peepers is likely the first to crack at any sign of ageing. Women have a choice of too many eye-creams, many of which purport to be beneficial at varying times of the day, and there are a few men’s eye creams out there too that claim to reverse ageing, but what you should be looking out for is fairly simple.
Find yourself a moisturiser containing either hyaluronic acid or vitamin E, and apply around the eyes regularly (but don’t go rubbing it in with too much vim and vigour--remember what we just said about their being sensitive and all?).
A healthy, masculine, glow
You know that radiant glow that pregnant women have? Well, that’s not an exclusive club. Healthy skin is healthy skin, whether you’re male, female, up the duff, or lacking a uterus.
The first thing most people notice about other people when they meet them is their face, and the first thing most people notice about a face is skin. Think about Todd from marketing. You think it’s the fact he gets up earlier than you to hit the gym before work? Or the fact his shirts are hand-stitched by what must surely be an old Italian man in a Brunswick backroom?
No. Todd moisturises his mug on the reg, which is why that healthy glow is just as important a part of your look as your outfit.
A good moisturiser won’t leave you looking like an upright (and oversized) glow worm, but regular use will help rejuvenate your face’s natural radiance by about 10 per cent, which is a big improvement, especially when compared with nothing.
You can't wind down the clock (but you can slow it down)
In the same way you can’t un-fry an egg, once skin is cooked, it’s very hard to rejuvenate, even slightly. And like most things that concern your health, prevention is always better than a cure. In footballspeak, the best offence is a good defence, and the best defence for your skin is a healthy level of moisture.
This is where understanding your own skin type is imperative. There are five main skin types that will dictate the best moisturiser for you: normal, dry, oily, combination, and sensitive.
- Normal: while potentially stigmatising the other types more than just a little (hmm), the name says it all. Normal type skin is neither oily nor dry (just like the good peanut butter), has few imperfections, minimal pore size and an even complexion. Any all-purpose moisturiser, preferably with a special protection factor to shield from the sun, is a good place to start.
- Dry: again with the self-explanatory naming, dry skin refers to skin which is drier than it should be, and requires a cleanser which won’t dry it out further (avoid harsh exfoliants) before a good moisturiser applied regularly. Fellas with dry skin who don’t also suffer the hassle of acne can use oil-based moisturisers for extra efficacy, or even a straight oil like rosehip before bed for bonus brownie points.
- Oily: there are many reasons for skin to be oiler than it should, from hormonal to environmental (and loads of others in between), but whatever is making your skin oily, don’t fret: you can help with the right product. Wash with a ph-balanced face wash, and avoid exfoliating more than once a week as it can over-stimulate the production of sebum, which creates oily skin in the first place. A lightweight, oil-free moisturiser is perfect (you can even get ones that will “mattify” your face). Neato.
- Combination: ever heard of the “T-Zone”? Neither had we. But it’s an important part of your face in terms of understanding your skin type. Think of a capital “T” over your face, over your forehead at the top, down over your nose, and down again to your chin. This is where skin can be completely different to the rest of your face, and different products may be in order to achieve balance.
- Sensitive: sensitive skin requires a touch of delicacy when picking a moisturiser. For most people with sensitive skin, it’s a game of trial and error before finding the perfect fit, but a good place to start is by avoiding products with nasties that can dry out your skin like alcohol, are irrelevant to skin health (think fragrances and artificial colours) and don’t contain preservatives (especially parabens).
Again, it’s Australia
Okay, so we touched on this at the start, but let’s dive deeper. Two out of three Aussies are diagnosed with skin cancer before their 70th birthday.
Let’s just repeat that. Two in three. 66 per cent. Australians. Before 70th birthday. Cancer.
The numbers are shocking, and the other stats (courtesy of The Cancer Council) aren’t much happier. Take a look:
- Skin cancers account for around 80 per cent of all newly diagnosed cancers
- The majority of skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun
- GPs have over 1 million patient consultations per year for skin cancer
- The incidence of skin cancer is one of the highest in the world, two to three times the rates in Canada, the US and the UK.
Those figures incite more than just a little desire to get a decent moisturiser with some SPF protection, and wear it daily knowing you’ve done yourself (and your handsome mug) a huge bloody favour.
And the best part is, your skin will thank you by staying handsome (and hopefully cancer free) a hell of a lot longer.