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Well groomed

Expert advice on body and personal care for men

Today’s man is no longer happy with soap and water, and health stores offer a wealth of expertise and advice as well as growing ranges of male toiletries and skincare products.

“Men can suffer from many of the same skin problems like women do, such as acne, dark circles under the eyes, wrinkles and eczema,” says Ingrid Jamieson of beauty company Pravera. “The good news is there is always a solution to these common skincare problems.”

“Men who lead active lifestyles can suffer from breakouts on the body,” says Linda Connor from Nuasan, natural skincare developed for athletes. “While sweating is great for body and mind, it can wreak havoc on our skin. Sweating helps remove impurities from our bodies, but not washing after sweating can mean a build-up of these impurities which can lead to irritation and pore congestion.”

“Dry or flaky skin, adult acne, rosacea and sensitive skin are all common male skincare issues,” says Niamh Larkin, beauty specialist at health store Evergreen in Mainguard St, Galway. “Using natural shaving products and moisturisers can reduce skin irritation and sensitivity.”

Natural helpers

“Try to find products that can tackle the root cause of body odour instead of buying products loaded with perfume to mask the issue,” says Linda Connor. “Many conventional cleansing products contain low-cost sodium lauryl sulphate which has been known to irritate the skin. Look for gentler cleansers with sodium coco-sulphate, lauryl glucoside and coco-glucoside. A mix of multiple cleansers results in a gentler formulation on the skin and doesn’t strip natural oils.”

“Dark circles under the eyes can be combatted with a hydrating eye cream,” says Ingrid Jamieson. “Choose natural and organic products formulated to reduce puffy eyes and dark spots, as well as hydrating the skin and smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. Using a natural and organic firming serum can significantly reduce the appearance of fine lines, especially around the eyes and crow’s feet area.”

“Natural face and body cleansers can reduce blemishes and balance the skin’s natural oil production,” says Niamh Larkin. “Natural beard and shaving products are ideal for keeping beards soft and keeping the skin underneath hydrated and flake-free.”

“Cleansing the skin to remove sweat and impurities as soon as possible after sweating is a great help,” says Linda Connor. “Gentle cleansers that rebalance the skin’s pH are excellent for daily use. For particularly problematic skin, look for products that contain AHAs to help gently exfoliate the skin to help prevent pore congestion and control the bad bacteria that can build up on the skin. Products with magnesium and arnica can also help soothe the skin and muscles and reduce inflammation.”

Natural is best

“Natural products tend to be kinder to the skin as well as being cruelty-free and more environmentally friendly,” says Niamh Larkin. “Long-term use of sulphates can lead to skin issues that can be difficult to reverse.”

“Toxic chemical-laden ingredients such as SLS, sulfates, parabens, silicones and synthetic fragrances and colours can aggravate the skin, causing skin irritations, redness and sensitivity,” says Ingrid Jamieson. “With all-natural ingredients the skin will increase hydration, nourishment and moisture levels. Many bubble baths and shower gels are made with harsh detergents and foaming agents which can cause allergic reactions. Using a natural and organic alternative which uses a mild washing surfactant derived from coconuts will provide a toxic-free experience to your daily shower or bath routine.”

Best ingredients

“Shea butter, aloe vera and lavender all have nourishing and soothing effects on the skin, making them popular ingredients in men’s skincare,” says Niamh Larkin. “Hydrating oils such as jojoba and argan make good beard oils, and witch hazel can be helpful in preventing shaving rash and ingrown hairs.”

“Choose from natural, organic and toxic free moisturisers, shaving foam and shower products,” says Ingrid Jamieson. “Bamboo contains natural antioxidants which can protect the skin against free radicals. It also helps to replenish the skin’s collagen stores, improve flexibility and prevent moisture loss. Lemon grass is packed with vitamins A and C which help to keep the skin radiant. It also has astringent properties to minimise pores and keep oil levels balanced. Aloe vera cools and calms the skin, especially after shaving.”

“Peppermint, tea tree and thyme help tackle the issues of breakouts on the body and body odour,” says Linda Connor. “Peppermint has the added benefit of cooling the skin. Seaweed extracts are great for providing lightweight hydration and replenishing moisture lost during sweating. Aloe vera is another powerhouse for hydration and for soothing irritated skin. Bamboo can help to reduce redness after exercise.”

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