Who doesn’t want to look their best? Men these days are paying more attention to their appearance, proving you don’t have to be a “metrosexual” to care about putting your best face forward. In an increasingly competitive market, products and services are following suit, increasingly being geared toward a male audience to meet the anti-aging and skincare needs of men.
June is Men’s Health Month, and Men’s Health Week begins June 11th and ends on Father’s Day, June 17th. In honor of the men in our lives, here are 11 anti-aging tips to keep them healthy, happy, and, of course, handsome.
1. Drink Plenty of Water
You need water to live…with great skin. As your body’s largest organ, your skin feels the adverse effects of dehydration. Dehydration causes skin to look dry and wrinkled, but proper hydration allows for younger, healthier-looking skin. Water replenishes skin cells and tissues, and helps skin remain elastic and moisturized. Properly hydrated skin also acts as a protective barrier to prevent excessive fluid loss.
In addition, having an adequate intake of fluids allows your kidneys and bowels to function more effectively when flushing out the toxins in the body. For example, one of the body’s main toxins – blood urea nitrogen – is water-soluble and is excreted in urine. Without proper hydration, toxins can remain in your system, causing your skin to react with acne, rashes, or other unpleasant skin conditions.
2. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Eating at least 4 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables daily provides key nutrients that support collagen, elastin and skin health. Studies have shown that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption improves skin tone and makes people look more attractive by boosting the red and yellow pigments in skin. Other studies have shown that fruits and vegetables increase microcirculation, or circulation of oxygen and nutrients to the skin, and also increase skin hydration, thickness, and density.
Fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C such as guavas, bell peppers, dark, leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, kiwi, papaya, citrus fruits, and strawberries can help defend skin against free radicals. Vitamin C, which is naturally found in skin, also aids in collagen production, allowing skin to remain firm and elastic.
Napa cabbage, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, lima beans, peas, potatoes, shitake mushrooms, spinach, and Swiss chard are high in zinc, which protects skin cell membranes, helps maintain collagen, and promotes skin renewal.
Fruits like kiwi, melon, papaya, and avocado, and vegetables including tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, and turnips provide vitamin E, which protects skin cell membranes and guards against UV radiation.
The best bet is to fill half your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables – the brighter the better and in a wide variety.
3. Don’t Smoke
One of the worst things you can do to your skin (and body) is smoke. The carbon monoxide inhaled during smoking displaces oxygen in the blood stream, meaning the skin (along with other organs) doesn’t get enough of it to remain healthy. Cigarettes also reduce vitamin C in the body, leading to collagen breakdown and wrinkle formation. In addition, smokers have dry, dull complexions as smoking depletes the skin of water, and perhaps worst of all, the faces smokers make when smoking lead to wrinkles.
4. Go Easy on Alcohol & Caffeine
Did you know alcohol and caffeine consumption have visible effects on the skin? Drinking alcohol causes blood vessels in the face to dilate, and drinking too much can potentially cause the vessels to dilate permanently, resulting in red, spidery veins. Pre-existing skin conditions such as rosacea and psoriasis can also be exacerbated by alcohol consumption.
Both alcohol and caffeine also act much like a diuretic, making you and your skin dehydrated, depleting vital skin nutrients, and making skin appear dry and dull. You’ll have to drink even more water to try to minimize the negative effects of these popular vices, and so begins a vicious cycle.
5. Exercise on a Regular Basis
Everybody knows of the cardiovascular benefits of exercise, but exercise also promotes healthy skin. Regular physical activity increases blood flow, allowing oxygen and nutrients to be carried to working cells in the body – skin included. The blood flow also helps remove waste products such as free-radicals from working cells. And while exercise doesn’t actually help to detoxify skin, it can “clean your skin from the inside” by flushing cellular debris out of the system.
Exercise also decreases stress, which may exacerbate existing skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, or eczema. And though you can’t exactly exercise just your face muscles, firmer muscles in general help you look better generally.
6. Supplement Your Diet
With busy schedules and even busier lives, it’s difficult for most people, including men, to get all the nutrients they need from their diets. Men should eat a healthy diet that features plenty of fruits & vegetables, lean protein and unsaturated fats. However, many men, especially single men, tend to eat out more often, so while they get more calories, sodium, and fat (especially saturated and trans-fats) than they need, they’re still missing vital nutrients.
Gaps in the diet can be covered with supplements, keeping the Nutritional Supplement Pyramid in mind – a good multi-vitamin & mineral first, followed by and Omega-3 and then a phytonutrient.
Should you buy supplements geared for “Men Only”? Not necessarily. The nutritional requirements for men and women do not differ that greatly. So, the differences in formulations tend to be more marketing driven than anything else.
For example, men’s supplements tend to have less calcium than women’s, as osteoporosis is perceived to be less of a “men’s issue.” Men’s formulations may have more zinc to support healthy hormone levels. In addition, they traditionally include antioxidants like selenium for prostate health and/or heart health.
7. Adopt a Good Skin Care Regimen
Stop using whatever soap is in the shower on your face. It’s not too late – adopt a skincare regimen that will cleanse, exfoliate, hydrate, and protect your skin. Men’s skin differs from women’s because it is thicker, has a higher concentration of blood vessels, has more numerous and more active sebaceous glands, and has more facial hair. As a result, men have specific skincare needs that need to be addressed both with routine and products.
Wash your face twice a day, in the morning and at night, and also after sweaty workouts. Use lukewarm water and a facial cleanser that will cleanse but not strip your skin of moisture. Cleansers with glycolic acid can help remove dead skin cells, which brighten up dull skin, and allow excess sebum to be washed away.
Use an exfoliator that will remove dead skin and unclog pores, revealing brighter, younger-looking skin underneath. It takes about 28 days for skin cells to renew, so make sure you don’t overdo it. Look for a product with fine grains, as it will be gentler on skin and prevent scratching, or select a product that contains alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, or salicylic acid that dissolve away dead skin cells.
The most important step for any anti-aging skincare routine is to moisturize after cleansing. Moisturizer hydrates skin, reduces the appearance of wrinkles, and allows it to stay firm and elastic. It also provides a barrier of protection against damage from free-radicals, compounds found in the environment that affect cellular DNA and cause our skin to become discolored, dull, dry, wrinkled, and saggy – all contributors to an aged look.
Look for moisturizers with antioxidants such as acai oil, green-tea extract, vitamin C, CoEnzyme Q-10, caffeine, and retinol (a form of vitamin A), which can protect against free-radicals and boost collagen production. Products that contain plant-based acids like alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids, or hyaluronic acid, which holds moisture in the skin, are also recommended.
Skincare lines specifically designed for men include Anthony Logistics, Jack Black, Lab Series, and Zirh. Popular prestige brands have also released lines for men, including ClarinsMen, Shiseido Men, Clinique Men’s, and Kiehl’s, and even drugstore brands have followed suit with Dove Men + Care, and Neutrogena Men’s Skincare.
Professional skin care specialists work in a medical spa or cosmetic derm, facial plastic or plastic surgery practice. The well-trained professionals will advise you on the treatments and products that will give the best results for your skin type. To find a skin care specialist in your area, refer to the SPSSCS website.
8. Use Sunscreen Protection Daily
Whether working in the yard, the garage, golfing or even driving to work each day, shielding skin from the sun is a must.
Exposure to UVA or UVB ultraviolet light from the sun is linked to about 90% of the visible signs of aging, so limiting exposure is a must. UV rays damage the skin’s elastin fibers – tissues in the dermis that give skin its elasticity. While the damage may not be immediately visible, over the long term, sun exposure also causes uneven skin tone, wrinkles, age spots, and even raises the risk of skin cancer. Broad-spectrum sunscreens (SPF 30 or greater) that protect against both types of UV rays can help prevent some of this damage.
Brands such as Neutrogena, Skinceuticals, SkinMedica and Kiehl’s have ultra-sheer, weightless, no-residue formulas which are a departure from the thick, whitish creams of the past, making them a popular choice among men who are active but don’t like the feeling or look of product on their faces.
9. Get Professional Skin Care Treatments
A number of non-invasive skincare treatments are available that can get rid of brown spots, eliminate broken capillaries, shrink pores, minimize the appearance of acne scars, fine lines, and wrinkles, and stimulate collagen production for firmer skin, all in under an hour.
Non-ablative laser or light therapy treatments include Fraxel (fractional laser treatment) and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL/Photofacial). Fraxel sends microscopic laser columns deep into the skin to trigger the production of collagen and elastin for tighter, more youthful-looking skin. IPL helps eliminate redness, sun spots, and old acne scars by specifically targeting pigment in the epidermis and rejuvenating the appearance of skin.
Because these processes improve skin elasticity, improvements continues for a few months after the procedure, but a series of treatments may be required to see optimum results.
According to the latest ASAPS statistics, more men are getting non-surgical procedures like injectables and skin rejuvenation.
10. Embrace Fillers/Injectables
These minimally-invasive treatments are commonly used in women, but men need them too! Botox, hyaluronic acid filler injections (e.g., Juvederm, Restylane, Perlane) and Radiesse and Sculptra are all popular on both sides of the gender barrier. While men accounted for just 6% of Botox procedures in 2017, their interest in this treatment grew by over 300% from 2000 to 2017.
Botox – affectionately called “brotox” by some male advocates – is an injectable that works by blocking the release of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that transmits messages from the nerves to the muscles to make them contract and move. Used in moderation, it can have a very natural effect and minimize frown lines and other wrinkles on the face, making for a more youthful appearance. It requires little to no downtime, lasts anywhere from between 3 and 6 months, and the results, while subtle, are noticeable. In fact, many celebrities including Simon Cowell, Gordon Ramsay, and David Hasselhoff openly admit to using Botox to improve their looks.
As you age, you also lose facial volume due to loss of fat, bone density, and muscle, making lines and wrinkles more obvious. Facial skin begins to sag as these support structures weaken, and even more wrinkles are created. Juvederm, Restylane, Perlane, Radiesse and Sculptra are dermal fillers that can be used to add lost volume to the face by restoring fullness to facial areas including the cheeks, under eyes, jaw line, temples, nasolabial folds, and chin. They can last anywhere from a few months to a year or more depending on the product and the patient.
Keep in mind, if you’re planning on having an injectable/filler procedure done; be sure to discontinue supplements that promote bleeding especially fish oil, vitamin E, ginkgo, garlic and ginseng. For a full list of Supplements to Discontinue, read our list here.
Otherwise, if your doctor happens to hit a blood vessel, you’re more likely to bruise! Although men’s skin is thicker and may not bruise quite as easily as a woman’s, if you’re concerned, try VitaMedica’s topical Arnica+K Cream or Homeopathic Arnica Montana Blister Pack.
11. Don’t Overlook Aesthetic Surgical Procedures
In an increasingly competitive marketplace, more men are getting cosmetic surgery to erase the effects of time. Last year, almost 120,000 aesthteic surgical procedures were performed on men, an increase of 7.7% from 2016.
The top 5 surgical procedures for men in 2017 according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery are liposuction, eyelid surgery, male breast reduction surgery, tummy tuck and facelift. But men are opting for more subtle, masculine modifications that help them look younger. For example, nose reshaping often involves making subtle but significant changes that keep the character yet refine the form. Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, lifts drooping eyelids or diminishes the appearance of under-eye bags, refreshing the face.
Other popular procedures include micro-liposuction on the jaw line, tightening up chins that have become loose due to excess fat or sun exposure. This procedure can be completed in under an hour with no sutures and only minor bruising. And nonsurgical procedures such as Ultherapy, which uses ultrasound technology to heat the skin, causing collagen to contract and stimulating production of new, tighter tissue, are also gaining in popularity.
If you’re thinking about having “something” done but are not sure how to find a qualified surgeon, a number of resources are available. Go to the ASPS or ASAPS sites to find a board-certified plastic surgeon; go to the AAFPRS site to find a board-certified facial plastic surgeon; or go to the ASDS site to find a board-certified dermatologic surgeon.
Remember, good health inside is visible on the outside. However, don’t be afraid to get a little help looking good and feeling good about it!
Last updated June 12, 2018
David H. Rahm, M.D. is the founder and medical director of The Wellness Center, a medical clinic located in Long Beach, CA. Dr. Rahm is also president and medical director of VitaMedica. Dr. Rahm is one of a select group of conventional medical doctors who have education and expertise in functional medicine and nutritional science. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Rahm has published articles in the plastic surgery literature and educated physicians about the importance of good peri-operative nutrition.