You can usually categorize your skin a few ways: sensitive skin, oily skin, dry, normal or a combination. For those of you with sensitive skin, the search for great products that don’t break you out or irritate your skin can feel a bit daunting — especially if you’ve had a few bad experiences with trying something new!
Thankfully, your skincare routine doesn’t have to feel like wading through landmines waiting for something to go wrong. Below are some dermatologist-approved tips for how men with sensitive skin can find the products they need for a skincare routine that feels designed just for them.
How do I know if my skin is sensitive?
Sensitive skin is defined as skin that is irritated easily. For instance if you put a cream on your face and it burns, tingles unpleasantly, or stings, you might have sensitive skin.
The environment or underlying skin conditions can also make your skin sensitive. Strong wind, dry weather, and of course, sunburn can cause changes in your skin that make it more susceptible to irritation to creams that might otherwise be no issue. Your skin may be temporarily more sensitive due to a particularly close shave, which in some cases can remove part of the top layers of your skin.
If you are someone who has rosacea or eczema, your skin might also struggle with increased sensitivity because your skin’s barrier has been affected and its ability to protect from irritation has decreased.
What products should I use or avoid if I have sensitive skin?
If this sounds like something you struggle with, you might wonder how to pick out products that don’t leave you with breakouts or irritation. Thankfully, there are options out there that will be safe for your skin type, however sensitive it may be.
Men with sensitive skin should avoid harsh cleansers and alcohol based products. This might include witch hazel, strong aftershaves, and exfoliators like glycolic acid. Mild cleansers such as Dove for sensitive skin, Cerave, Cetaphil, Aveeno, etc. are excellent examples of cleansers that can help protect and repair some of the challenges in an altered skin barrier.
If you are using a retinoid (i.e. Retin A, tretinoin, tazarotene, adapalene) for acne and you have sensitive skin, you can sometimes decrease the frequency of use of the medications and/or combine them with a moisturizer listed above. Of course, if you ever have questions about what products are best for your skin type or whether your medication might be having an effect on the sensitivity of your skin, be sure to talk to your dermatology provider.
What is the best sunscreen option for men with sensitive skin?
Sensitive skin or not, wearing a daily sunscreen is a crucial step in any skincare regimen. However, we know it can be challenging to find a sunscreen that is both gentle enough to feel good on your skin and effective enough to ensure you are not getting sun damage from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
Though not all sunscreens are created equal, there are thankfully some great options for every skin type. The best sunscreens for sensitive skin are ones with mineral-based active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium oxide vs sunscreens made with chemical active ingredients like oxybenzone. Mineral based sunscreens reflect and absorb the sun’s damaging rays rather than being activated by a chemical reaction that can cause potential irritation.
The active ingredients aren’t the only thing you should take a second look at, though. It is also important to pay attention to the vehicle - meaning what the sunscreen is mixed with in order to make it 'smooth'. Sometimes the vehicle itself can be irritating. While mineral sunscreens are far less likely to cause problems, it is important to look at the labels to avoid products that include a significant amount of fragrance. If the company producing the sunscreen has a breakdown of the ingredient list on their website, like this one, it’s probably a good idea to check out what ingredients, both active and inactive, they are using and why.
No matter what, it’s essential that everyone commits to wearing a sunscreen designed for the face and neck day in and day out, all year-round. Skin cancer affects far more people than it needs to, with 1 in 5 Americans developing skin cancer by age 70. A daily sunscreen is a great way to protect your skin from future damage, accelerated aging, and an increased risk of skin cancer.
All of that means that the best sunscreen for men in general is the one you will use, but if you have sensitive skin, your best option to avoid irritation is go with a safe, all mineral based sunblock with broad spectrum coverage of at least SPF 30, like The Daily by GetMr., a sunscreen designed with men in mind.
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