My hubby Patrick made his first visit to the dermatologist last week. A brown spot on the back of his neck had him worried about skin cancer. But the doctor relieved his fears. "It's a liver spot," Patrick reported as he returned. "It's harmless. But the doctor recommended I use sunscreen every day anyway."
"A liver spot, that sounds cool," I heckled him. Until that brown spot appeared on his neck, Patrick had never worried about skin cancer. Though his father has had some small spots of skin cancer, Patrick inherited the dark skin of his mother and tans easily. So he rarely uses sunscreen. But after a stern lecture from the dermatologist about using sun protection, and a suggestion to get the protection in the form of a daily moisturizer, he agreed to try some. For Patrick, however, an aisle of skin moisturizers is as confusing as a jigsaw puzzle, so I offered to go buy it for him. But first, a little research.
Because my sister-in-law Margaret is a woman with an opinion on most subjects, she's often the first person I call. "Well I try everything," she answered, "because I am on the quest for the fountain of youth. I have noticed that my husband gravitates toward the Nivea products that I bring home. Of course he just uses my moisturizers, he won't buy his own," she laughed. "One product I do know works very well is Clinique Exceptionally Soothing Cream for Upset Skin [$32.50 for 1.7 ounces at Macy's]. I gave some to a friend before his wedding. He was suffering from rashy skin, and it cleared it all up."
I thanked her for her tips and started calling some professionals.
"Exceptionally Soothing Cream for Upset Skin has sea whip extract," Clinique saleslady Karen offered, "which is an all-natural ingredient and is good for rosacea."
She also suggested their moisturizer M Product SPF 21 ($20 for 3.4 ounces at Macy's). "This is a new product and is a big seller. We recommend a three-step program to promote healthy skin. The components of healthy skin are a healthy cell turnover, an intact moisture barrier, and a strong support structure, that is, the collagen in the skin hasn't been broken down. So we recommend cleansing with our facial soap, which is allergy tested, then exfoliating with our clarifying lotion followed by moisturizing. We sell a lotion for drier skin and a gel for oilier skin-M Gel Lotion [$48 for 3.4 ounces at Macy's]."
"For the man, we try to make it a bit more simple," explained the Macy's Clarins saleslady. "Men aren't necessarily like us women who do a skincare regime for a half an hour in the morning. Our man's cleanser is not only for the face, but it is for the body and the hair, so they can do a one-stop hair, body, and face, they are done, out the door [Clarinsmen Active Face Wash -- $17 for 4.4ounces at Macy's]. We have a Clarinsmen Moisture Balm [$25.50 for 1.7 ounces], which is our most popular. It's a bit more lightweight than a moisturizing cream. Men seem to like more of a gel, so this is more like an after shave gel but it also helps with wrinkles and lines and prematuring aging as well as sunscreen."
How often should they moisturize?
"If you can get them to use it twice daily, that is what we want," she replied. "Use it in the morning after they cleanse and use it at night before they go to bed. It's the same product, we don't have two separate ones for day and night.
"Men's skin is thicker than a woman's; it has a rougher texture," she continued. "The products for men usually are a bit more active. Bison grass is what we make all of our men's products with. It is a natural grass, and it has a fragrance that is more aromatheraputic for men. It is very soothing for the skin for shaving."
Any ingredients you should look for when buying moisturizer?
"I tell people to check the ingredients and just watch out for mineral oil. You don't want mineral oil in your top three ingredients. It's going to dehydrate the skin so it actually makes you more dependent on a product. Mineral oil sucks your natural moisture to the surface of your skin, so your skin feels really moist, emollient and healthy. But as soon as you rinse off your face, and you wash off that product, your skin is left dehydrated because the mineral oil has stripped it of its natural moisture."
Another Macy's saleslady recommended Zirh. "It is one of our best sellers," she touted. "The Zirh Defend has SPF 15 [$28.50 for 3.4 ounces] and the Zirh Protect has SPF of 8 [$26 for 3.4 ounces]."
"Most men have more oily skin," the Sephora saleswoman said, "so men's moisturizers are usually lighter weight and they also often have a menthol or a peppermint in them, something soothing for after shaving. Malin + Goetz Face Moisturizer [$45 for 4 ounces at Sephora] sells really well. It is for all skin types. Anthony Logistics Moisturizer also sells well, it is a SPF 15 and it is for all skin types [$30 for 2.5 ounces at Sephora]."
She added, "You don't want to put moisturizer above your optical bone because they're usually a little too heavy. Since you don't have any pores around the eyes, the moisturizer doesn't absorb in, and it can cause a build up around your eyes or sensitivity. So, some men choose to use an eye cream along with a moisturizer."