Men skin

Losing compared to a woman in other areas related to medicine, a man wins when it comes to skin. Smooth, soft skin plays a small role in male sexual attractiveness, therefore, men save that vigorous and often useless energy that women spend in pursuit of eternal youth.

Men are more tolerant of some roughness of their skin, but they do not like wrinkles, peeling, acne and bumps of various kinds in the same way as women. All the described troubles are surprisingly preventable; skin care requires less effort than muscles, bones or the cardiovascular system.

An ordinary person believes that the skin is just the epidermis, i.e. outer layer. The upper of the two layers that make up the skin, the epidermis layer, marks the boundary between your body itself and the outside world. The main function of the epidermis is protective. Its thickness is 1.5 mm on the palms and soles, a few tenths of a millimeter on the face and only 0.1 mm on the eyelids.

The epidermis is formed from one layer of living cells that make up its base. Cells filled with coarse protein – keratin (which also forms nails and hair) – moving from the inside out, die, flatten, and finally reach the surface. Contact with the environment erases many of these cells, but even surfaces protected from contact also permanently lose them. The normal lifespan of a normal epidermal cell is from 4 to 6 weeks. The epidermis contains neither nerves nor blood vessels. All of his tissue, with the exception of the basal layer, is dead. Hair, sebum and sweat pass through it, but their source is glands and follicles located deeper.

Everything that happens with the epidermis, including inside it, is temporary. Injuries and burns heal without scars. Skin diseases leave no traces, and any bumps and other defects removed by the doctor will not reappear in the same place.

Under the epidermis lies a layer of the dermis, which is about 20-40 times thicker. Glands are located here and hair is nourished, fed by a rich flow of blood. The basis of the dermis is collagen – a fibrous protein that also forms ligaments and tendons. Collagen is also called connective tissue, because it combines most of the body’s structures and fills the gaps between them. Healthy connective tissue is loose and supple; aging, trauma, and sun radiation make it stiff and cause it to shrink. You will remember this when you read about wrinkles. Damage to the connective tissue is irreversible, and the healing process leads to scarring. Ointments, superficial curettage and other methods of treating the epidermis do not affect the dermis.


For unclear evolutionary reasons, the inhabitants of the East are distinguished by a faint body odor. They were always convinced that White smells strongly and badly. Representatives of the white race did not attach any importance to this until about the middle of the 19th century, when tap water became available everywhere. However, even after this, the “educated” people for some time maintained the cleanliness of their hands and face, but rather rarely washed their entire body.

In health matters, beliefs and practices usually go hand in hand. A century ago, bathing required several hours of intense preparatory work – it was necessary to chop wood, heat water over an open fire and fill it with a portable iron bath. This was a very tedious task, and if there weren’t many servants in the house, they usually all took turns washing in the same water.

Even at the end of the 19th century, Western doctors believed that bathing in a bath was harmful. Only the rich could afford regular bathing, and doctors have traditionally been convinced that everything the rich do is excesses and luxury that do not benefit health. Today, Americans wash themselves daily, which can not be said about many Europeans, shocking the sense of smell of North American tourists.

The fact that Americans wash themselves so often, without fear of damaging the skin, indicates its strength and roughness. Washing (with the exception of the foreskin) is of relatively little importance to men’s health. Washing the visible dirt, a man does not become much more attractive. Soap and water harm the skin far more than dirt.


Although a daily bath or shower with a hard washcloth is lethal to the surface of the skin, most men never feel the effects. Nevertheless, the skin requires care, so check out the following tips.

To avoid unacceptable (and unacceptable) odors in society, wash with soap and water only armpits, feet and crotch. Do not wash in the bath or shower for a long time. Dry your skin by patting it slightly with a towel. Women constantly use moisturizers after washing. Although it does not look like a man, it is worthwhile to follow their example, since with age the skin becomes drier and prone to itching and scratching. A 60-year-old man should be washed in a bath or shower once or twice a week, washing the areas mentioned above daily with soap and water.

We wash our children too often. Children’s skin is very tender and does not happen to be oily, because sebum does not stand out until the age of 8. Wash babies up to 6 months with soap once a week, wiping them with a wet sponge the rest of the days.


Sweat contains water, salts, glucose and several other simple chemical compounds – all odorless. The characteristic smell is caused by the action of bacteria living on the skin on sebum and dead surface cells, especially in warmer areas – under the armpits, in the perineum and on the feet.

Body odor is not inevitable. Many men who wash the mentioned areas and change their underwear daily do not experience any problems and do not need deodorants. To find out if you belong to this category, ask a person you trust about it. Nobody feels their own smell (like the smell of their own breath). Every doctor knows hundreds of patients with an unpleasant body odor or breathing. Such people are undoubtedly not concerned with hygiene. But dozens of other patients complain of a terrible smell or bad breath, although this is not so. The belief that it smells of you is a serious mania, if others do not confirm this.

The use of deodorants and antiperspirants. A deodorant is a type of flavored liquid such as perfume or cologne. Such substances have been used for centuries to give the body a pleasant aroma. Sweat odor remover contains metal salts (usually aluminum chloride) that compress the pores of the skin and block sweat. When buying such funds, carefully read the label. The container, which says only “deodorant”, does not contain components that suppress sweat, so this tool will not prevent sweating.

If you prefer deodorants, use them only in the morning. A man who uses antiperspirants should wash sweating areas at night and apply it before bedtime. The armpits hardly sweat at night, so the chemical will have time to penetrate the skin. If this agent is applied in the morning when perspiration begins, then most of the chemical will be washed off later.

A good sweat remedy should eliminate odor for a long time without causing irritation that can cause a metal salt that gets on the skin for several years of use. Unfortunately, there is no such ideal product.

Increased sweating and heavy odors. For a man with increased sweating in the armpits, hands or feet, the doctor may prescribe a concentrated solution of aluminum chloride. If you sweat your feet, I would also recommend daily immersion of the feet in a formalin solution (one teaspoon of a standard formalin solution in 0.5 l of cold water).


The skin is dry from a lack of moisture, not fat (sebum). Dead epidermis contains water, which is formed by the evaporation of natural fats. Dry skin mainly affects the hands (palms), forearms and lower legs. The epidermis of the face is so thin that the water contained in the dermis can maintain its moisture. A man who notes that his face has become dry, is likely to suffer from seborrhea or suffered a sunburn.

Dry skin in most cases is caused by:

1. Age. Over the years, less sebum is produced, so moisture evaporates from the pores faster.

2. Wash. Soap and other detergents wash off the protective layer of fat.

3. Low humidity. Air conditioning and central heating reduce the humidity in the rooms so much that the skin dries even despite a sufficient amount of natural fat. Do not apply moisturizers to dry skin. First you need to compensate for the lost moisture and only then apply a protective coating. This is best done after washing, when the skin is still wet. Even bath oils work better if they are lubricated directly with the skin. If you pour them into the bath, then most of it will remain there.

The best protective coatings should be dense enough to completely prevent the evaporation of water. Lard (melted pork fat) and other animal fats in this regard have worked well for centuries. Fats such as petroleum jelly are also good (and do not smell), but many do not like them because of the feeling of oiliness. Pure fats or oils protect the skin best, but cause the same sensation.

Chemists working with emulsifying agents have discovered ways to mix oils with water to produce a lubricating fluid with a cream consistency that is much more pleasant to use. A suspension of water in oil is called a lotion, and all modern cosmetic “conditioners” for the skin are based on it.

If your skin is very dry,
never wash with water, but use a dehydrated cleanser: apply it on your face, rub it until it foams, and then remove the foam with a soft cloth.


A layer of fat (sebum) is always present on normal skin. If your main problem is the purely external effect of too oily skin, wash your face often. Soap washes away sebum. Avoid moisturizers, it is better to use astringents, usually containing alcohol. Apply them to the skin after washing – they remove fats and dehydrate the skin, sometimes temporarily tightening it. This causes a pleasant tingling or tingling, which then pass.


Unlike washing the skin of the body and face, vigorous shampooing is perfectly acceptable, as the scalp and hair become soiled very quickly. Wash your hair twice a week is enough, but even daily shampooing will not harm normal scalp.

Wash your hair with the same soap as your body. If your hair looks good after that, do not bother choosing and buying shampoo. Advertising warns us of a thin film covering the hair after washing with soap, making it dull and clammy. This is true: the soap reacts with the minerals of hard water, creating a film. However, it can always be washed off with an acid rinse, adding vinegar or citric acid to the water. If this is too difficult for you, try a detergent. Almost all shampoos are detergents. Buy any that you like, but do not forget that the features listed on the label are nothing more than an exaggeration. Even special shampoos for dry, normal or oily skin are not much different from each other. People who were asked which shampoo was better could not indicate any difference.


Shaving removes a thin layer of the epidermis with the bristles, but this does no harm, and the removed layer is quickly restored. A man can shave his whole life without harming the appearance and condition of the skin. On the other hand, a few minutes a day spent shaving, summing up throughout life, make up a significant amount of time that can be spent on more productive activities. A beard almost always adorns young men, and with the advent of gray hair it becomes even more attractive. Caring for it takes less than a minute – cutting the protruding hairs with scissors and quickly cutting borders to maintain a neat appearance.

Before shaving, soften the hair as much as possible. Dampen the beard and apply shaving cream on it, better than usual, rather than in an aerosol package. Do this during daily washing, shaving last. Shave in the direction of hair growth and do not stretch the skin with your other hand. Using a good razor, you can shave clean without having to walk twice in the same place. Never forget the life of the blade. When shaving with a new blade, a simple touch of the skin already shaves the hair, in the future it is necessary to drive it on the skin with more and more pressure. Use the blade until it shaves off all the hair in the area in a single pass.

After shave lotion smells good, but it’s not necessary. The alcohol included in their composition does not disinfect the skin and does not prevent infections, and the burn obtained after consuming such a lotion means that you removed a too thick layer of the epidermis during shaving.

Electric razors serve well people with thin and fair hair, as well as those who have curly hair and after shaving tend to grow, digging into the skin and leading to the appearance of blackheads. You can try combing and straightening the residual bristles with a toothbrush after shaving, or straighten such hairs one at a time with a small hook. A radical solution to the problem is to let go of the beard.


These phenomena, like the heavy odor of the body and mouth, are considered very unattractive. Buy a small razor designed specifically for the ears and small scissors to trim the hair in the nostrils.

Acne and inflammation of the sebaceous glands

Together with a guarantee against baldness and an enlarged prostate, eunuchs also get a guarantee that they will not have acne – this disease does not occur in the absence of male hormones.

Almost all teenagers have acne, and heredity plays a role here. A child whose parents have suffered from acne has a 10 times greater risk than the child of people who are not exposed to it. Acne affects both sexes, but the worst cases are observed in men. After 20 years, acne mostly disappears, but sometimes remain in adulthood. Some men notice the first blackheads after 20 years, after which they are forced to fight them all their lives.

This disease is characteristic of developed Western society.
Residents of poor countries are much less likely to suffer from acne, but not because their food has fewer chemical additives, sugar, fat and other unhealthy components – they just often lack the food itself. Fasting suppresses the activity of sex hormones that contribute to the appearance of acne. That is why women with a lack of (loss) of appetite on a nervous basis always have smooth skin and no menstruation.


Acne is a disease of the hair follicles, containing, in addition to the hair root (bulb), the gland that produces sebum – a natural lubricant to the skin. You guessed it, they are on the face, neck, back, chest and shoulders.

Male hormones affect follicles. Boys secrete little sebum. With increasing levels of male hormones at the age of 8, the follicles increase, and the secretion of fat increases. Unfortunately, they are among the imperfect “details” of the human body. The weakest point is the channel leading the hair and sebum to the surface. It is lined with the same epidermis that covers the entire surface of the skin, and these dead cells exfoliate from time to time. In the usual case, the scales are carried out with sebum, but with age (starting from early adulthood), the canal walls swell and the dead cells get stuck and begin to accumulate in it. As a result, many pores become clogged. From here all troubles begin.

Three forms of acne

1. Acne itself (sebaceous plugs). A clogged season looks like a small bulge. This is eel. In everyday life, they are sometimes called “acne with a white head” (the medical term is milium) or “acne with a black head” (comedones) – depending on the color. Often, the follicles themselves are accidentally released from sebaceous plugs. In the past, a small tool was widely used – a sebum plug extractor, which sucked them from the pores. Today, some doctors open blackheads with the tip of a scalpel blade, but more often they prescribe ointments that do their job quite well. It is impossible to squeeze out eels. Sometimes this procedure succeeds, but more often the follicle is damaged, leading to the next, worst form of acne.

2. Papular and pustular acne. Sebum accumulates in the damaged follicle. As a result, the bacteria living here begin to multiply. This does no harm until the irritated or squeezed follicle bursts, releasing the accumulated bacterial material onto the surrounding epidermis and infecting it. A mild infection leads to the appearance of a protruding red (or cyanotic) bulge – the papule, but the most traditional red bulge with a white point of pus in the center is a papule with a pustule in the center. Typically, papules and pustules remain in the epidermis and heal without scarring for one to two weeks. Extruding pustules increases the risk of a wider spread of infection and the appearance of nodules and cysts.

3. Nodules, cysts, abscess and phlegmic acne. Some men suffer from too active sebaceous glands. Their damage leads to the formation of large nodules and cysts that grow together in abscesses, abscesses, boils, affecting the dermis. Abscessing acne is a large papular or papular-pustular acne softened and opened with the release of mucopurulent fluid. Phlegmonous acne is a soft flattened bright red painful formation with a diameter of up to 1 cm, at the opening of which a lot of pus is secreted. After all these varieties, scars remain.


After reviewing the facts, you will understand that non-compliance with hygiene rules can not cause acne. The pores are clogged from the inside, and not due to dirt covering the skin on the outside. The black dot at the top of the pimple is not dirt, but the result of chemical changes in the fat plug. Maintaining clean skin is undoubtedly necessary, but if you scrub it fiercely, it will only increase the likelihood of blackheads resulting from damage to hair follicles.

Oily skin also does not affect the formation of blackheads, although many are convinced of the opposite. While sebum unhindered comes to the surface, there will be no blackheads. Fat on the surface of the skin does not cause harm, so washing it off with water or other means will not protect against acne. Superficial alcohol-based dryers do not reduce the secretion of fat. Dermatologists insist that patients do not use creams and moisturizing ointments for the face, but this is suggested by ordinary common sense; There is no convincing evidence that cosmetic emollients contribute to acne. Men working with lubricants are more likely to suffer from acne, but this is more the result of exposure to the irritating substances that make up industrial oils than the oils themselves.


Medicine successfully copes with acne, and many men, with moderate efforts, may not have them at all. If you have common acne, start treatment with benzoyl peroxide 5% – a powerful antibacterial agent that
kills bacteria in the follicle. Available in the form of ointment or gel for several decades.

Wash with ordinary soap, then dry the skin and apply the ointment to the affected areas. Do it twice a day. If irritation occurs, apply the ointment once a day; if irritation persists, lubricate the skin without washing, or try a 2.5% ointment. The action of benzoyl peroxide is aimed at suppressing bacteria, and not at destroying existing acne, so do not expect large visible changes in appearance. Look closely at acne before starting treatment and forget about them for six weeks, and then again take a closer look at the affected skin. If the result does not satisfy you, ask your doctor for a prescription for another drug, such as tretinoin (retinic acid, Retin-A). It is a derivative of vitamin A, the best drug to prevent clogging of the follicles. An ointment (or gel) thins the epidermis layer, accelerates peeling and reduces the possibility of stuck dead surface cells in the channel. As a result, the release of fat from the pores is enhanced and the plugs in the form of white or black dots are pushed out.

When applied to the skin at night, Retin-A can cause inflammation of healthy skin. Some men can tolerate it only when consumed every other day, and sometimes (there are not enough of them) can not use it at all. Acne disappears after several weeks of treatment, in individual patients after 2 months. The skin treated with Retin-A becomes more sensitive to the sun, so wear visors or wear a hat with wide brim.

Antibiotics. Oral antibiotics can be an excellent means of controlling bacteria in the follicles, so with strong forms of papulopustular acne it is better to start with them. Drugs are often prescribed in mild forms, as both patients and doctors themselves are convinced that tablets work better than ointments. In addition, some patients do not want to treat the face with ointment twice a day.

Treatment begins with large doses of an antibiotic, usually tetracycline, the most popular treatment for acne. The medicine does not affect existing rashes, so it takes several weeks to improve. Then the dose is gradually reduced. Therapy in small doses is quite lengthy, but side effects are rare.

Topical antibiotics – usually erythromycin or clindamycin in the form of an ointment – are weaker, but in combination with Retin-A, applied at night and keeping the follicles open, they can be applied in the morning with most forms of acne. In this case, tablets are not needed.

Isotretinoin (“Accutane”). Until the 80s, all acne treatments suppressed their occurrence only at the time of admission. As another vitamin A derivative (which doctors sometimes prescribed for acne in super-large, toxic doses), Accutane poisons the sebaceous glands. They shrink forever, which leads to a decrease in sebum secretion.

“Accutane” usually works wonders in the worst form of acne – cystic. A four-month course slowly destroys disgusting cysts and nodules, and improvement often continues even after treatment is discontinued. Approximately 30% of patients need a second course. Accutane is also used to treat persistent extensive papulopustular acne.

It is not worth using Accutane for mild forms of the disease, because by drying and compressing the sebaceous glands, it drains the entire surface of the body. Almost every patient receiving his lips cracked, the skin begins to peel and itch, eyes watery, sometimes nosebleeds and hair loss are observed. Side effects at the end of treatment disappear, and most patients agree to such discomfort, since the end result exceeds all their expectations.

Other treatments In the past, dietary restrictions helped the patient allegedly control the disease, and doctors were given a suitable reason for accusations if the treatment did not work. There is no convincing evidence that the appearance of blackheads depends on the food consumed. Researchers searching for new treatments will be grateful to anyone who can prove such a connection.

Many over-the-counter medicines at any pharmacy have a detrimental effect on the skin: they cause dryness, peeling, itching, etc. Their ingredients include alcohol, sulfur, resorcinol, salicylic acid, and various powerful cleansers. According to popular theory, such aggressive effects on the skin should unlock clogged pores, but sebaceous plugs are likely to break out by themselves, and not as a result of using these agents.

Artificial ultraviolet radiation enhances rashes, like natural sunlight, and also contributes to skin cancer, so it is now used much less often than before.

event_note June 30, 2020

account_box Dr. Peter B Milburn

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