PAMPERING HIS SKIN
GENDER DOES ACCOUNT FOR DIFFERENCES IN SKIN CONDITIONS. HERE'S A GUIDE TO HOW MEN CAN TAKE BETTER CARE OF THEIR SKIN.
Besides the obvious, differences between men and women carry over to the skin as well.
COMMON SKIN PROBLEMS Here are some common skin problems faced by men in tropical Singapore:
Acne can affect not only the face but also the back and chest. Our humid climate worsens acne outbreaks, especially among those who spend lots of time outdoors. While both sexes can develop acne, men tend to have more severe and persistent attacks. This is because the sebaceous glands are hormone-dependent and there is significantly greater oil production in men throughout their life. This also makes their pores more dilated and their skin coarser.
Treatment: See a dermatologist if your condition worsens or lasts more than a few weeks even after using over-the-counter products. Early medical treatment prevents dark marks and lasting scars that are difficult to treat. It's best to continue the use of prescription topical agents such as retinoids (adapalene or tretinoin) even after your acne problem has cleared up to prevent a relapse. While these prescription medications have been the mainstay of acne treatment, there are newer topical medications that are non-antibiotic and therefore have less risk of treatment resistance, as well as MiXto fractional CO2 laser and intensepulsed light to combat acne marks and scars.
Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a condition that mainly affects the scalp. It causes red, scaly patches and leaves a trail of dandruff. It can also affect the oily areas of the body, such as the central part of the face, sides of the nose, eyebrows, ears, eyelids and chest. As it occurs more frequently in men, some researchers think male hormones may play a role.
Treatment: Men with seborrhoeic dermatitis on the scalp can use an over-thecounter shampoo containing ketoconazole, coal tar or salicylic acid, or a prescriptionstrength medicated shampoo. For the face and body, one should keep the affected areas clean by washing with a gentle cleanser every day. Treatment includes nonsteroidal cream such as SebclairTM, which is a specific anti-seborrhoeic dermatitis cream.
Fungal infections like jock itch are more common in men. These infections occur mainly because of moisture and irritation that promote fungal overgrowth. Using talcum power in the groin before sports may help prevent infection.
Treatment: Antifungal products are commonly prescribed. Although seemingly counterintuitive, men appear to have more sensitive skin compared to women. A study involving male and female mice highlighted that male skin cells carry fewer antioxidants than female skin cells, which makes them more sensitive to ultraviolet rays.
Treatment: See a dermatologist for a proper dermatological assessment. A dermatologist will then be able to advise you and prescribe the appropriate treatment and products to prevent worsening of your skin's condition.
SKINCARE TIPS
Prevention is better than cure, so taking good care of your skin will help prevent or minimise the above conditions. Most men tend to over-wash their face due to oiliness. Instead, they should use mild cleansers and follow up with moisturisers formulated for their skin type. For oily, acneprone skin, a non-comedogenic facial moisturiser that will not clog the pores is recommended, while a moisturiser with hyaluronic acid will help lock in moisture for those with dry skin. One should always use a sunscreen when outdoors.
CHOOSING A DERMATOLOGIST
Dermatologists specialise in skin and hair conditions, and are trained to evaluate and treat a range of such issues. If you are plagued by hair or skin problems, it is advisable to see a dermatologist rather than self-prescribing so that the appropriate treatment can be drawn up and the condition nipped in the bud.
Dr Cheong with colleagues Dr Neoh Ching Yin (left) and Dr Phay Ken-Lin.
DR CHEONG WAI KWONG | Dermatologist
MBBS(S'pore), MRCP(UK), FRCP(Edin), Dip Ven(London),
FAMS(Dermatology)
Specialist Skin Clinic
1 Grange Road #06-04.Orchard Building. Tel: 6734 1411
www.specialistskin.com.sg