Men's grooming needs are a little different than women's. Razor burn, ingrown hairs, and hair loss are a few of men's problem areas.
Men have physiological differences that make their skin and grooming routines different from women’s. Here are some of the most common male complaints and natural, holistic solutions.
Shaving not only removes facial hair but can also remove surface skin cells. This daily exfoliation can be irritating, leading to razor burn. This leaves shaved areas red, uncomfortable, and sometimes with a rash.
One way to prevent razor burn is by moisturizing immediately after shaving with a comforting lotion or creme. Moisturizers form a protective barrier against inflammation and also soothe skin when containing calming ingredients. Common natural skin care ingredients such as aloe, oat, and camomile have anti-inflammatory properties that are excellent for this razor burn sensitivity.
Along with this, it is important to avoid drying, irritating skin care products such as alcohol-based aftershaves. Instead, opt for floral water such as witch hazel, an anti-inflammatory that is also a natural astringent because of its tannin content, which allows it to tone skin without drying it out.
Ingrown hairs in the beard area are another common problem in men’s facial care. These occur when dead skin cells cover the hair follicle so that the hair grows downward into the skin tissue instead of out. This leads to red, blemish-like bumps that can be uncomfortable and even painful.
The best way to prevent ingrown hairs is to exfoliate and moisturize daily—these steps both prevent dead skin buildup. You can slough off dead skin cells by using a facial scrub or through regular shaving. When looking for an exfoliant, look for gentle abrasion agents, as peeling your skin daily can be sensitizing. Exfoliants such as jojoba beads are a natural, gentle option for frequent use. Following up with moisturizer is key, because dry skin can lead to dead skin cell buildup.
Dry skin and wrinkles
Men are becoming increasingly concerned with signs of aging such as dehydration and wrinkling. The first line of defence is to retain moisture in the skin. Male skin tends to be inherently oily but this does not mean you can avoid moisturizing. In fact, one of the best antiaging treatments is oil itself.
A skin-nourishing oil locks in hydration and increases skin suppleness. Sunflower, borage, and rosehip oils help to strengthen the skin’s natural barrier function and prevent water loss. To avoid feeling greasy or looking shiny, simply blot with a tissue after a few minutes of absorption.
Proper moisture will help prevent fine lines, but there are also many skin-rejuvenating ingredients to target them more deliberately. In addition to the aforementioned anti-inflammatory ingredients, natural actives such as vitamin E and green tea are known to have skin-strengthening, antiaging properties. Camomile promotes elasticity and improves texture, while aloe vera helps reduce UV damage that can lead to wrinkle formation. Using these in your skin care regimen can bolster your routine with antiaging action.
Hair loss is a common concern for men, primarily influenced by internal factors such as hormones, physical or emotional shock, certain health conditions or medications, or poor nutrition.
Head massage has been touted as a hair loss treatment by ancient health modalities such as Asian medicine. It is thought to stimulate blood circulation to the hair follicles, strengthening hair roots. Certain essential oils, including cypress, thyme, rosemary, lavender, and cedarwood, applied to the scalp (mixed with a carrier oil) during a gentle head massage are also believed to be helpful. Essential oils aren’t for everyone—consult your health care practitioner first if you have a health condition or are taking any medications.
Dandruff is another common hair problem. It is often a frustrating one because its treatment is counterintuitive. Dandruff may be provoked by a buildup of oils and skin cells, so shampooing regularly is important. However, avoid shampoos made with sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS); this chemical cleansing agent is a known irritant.
Instead, look for an SLS-free shampoo that contains natural antibacterials, such as lemon grass and tea tree.
Brittle, cracked nails
Nail care is not only for healthy-looking fingers and toes. Paying attention to your nails can also alert you to nutrient deficiencies. When nails are weak and brittle, this indicates a lack of water and might be a sign of dehydration. Healthy nails also require vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, and calcium, so deficiencies can result in nail brittleness as well as visible lines on the nail plate.
In addition to investigating the underlying cause of nail problems, suppleness can be aided by applying a vegetable oil topically to the nail bed.
Nail fungus is characterized by thickened, irregular-shaped nails with yellow or brown discoloration and sometimes an unpleasant odour. This too can be a reflection of internal health dysfunction. Beyond exposure to fungus itself, it becomes an issue with poor circulation.
Luckily, nail fungus can be treated naturally by applying antifungals such as tea tree or clove oil. While these interventions can target the nails directly, using this ailment as a tool for understanding the body is useful. Looking at areas of compromise in our body systems is an excellent way to practise holistic grooming.
Supplements for healthy skin, hair, and nails
Always consult a health care professional before taking supplements.
- Supplementation with vitamins or minerals such as zinc, biotin, vitamin C, iron, or vitamin D strengthens nails in those who are deficient.
- Omega-3 fatty acids help skin immunity and protect against UV damage.
- Gamma linolenic acid improves skin barrier and prevents and treats dry skin and atopic dermatitis.
Common cosmetic chemicals to avoid
|Chemical||Why it’s used||Health effects|
|petrolatum||commonly used as a base for skin care products||skin irritant; thought to often be contaminated with carcinogens|
|sodium lauryl sulphate||detergent and cleansing agents||skin irritant; known to cause skin barrier disruption|
|parabens||preservatives for grooming products||skin irritant; may interfere with male reproductive functions|
|triclosan||antibacterial agent and preservative||skin irritant; may lead to antibacterial resistance; suspected hormone disruptor|