Dude’s Skincare Glossary: Volume 1
A lot of skincare sites and products use all sorts of words, and they expect dudes to know what the f*ck they mean. To make it easier, I have compiled some of the most important ones you should know and why. Acne - This can occur when hair follicles and other glands in your skin get gunked up and become inflamed. Some of this you can fight by keeping your face clean and oil-free, but other factors are based on hormonal changes and that's tougher to combat. Anti-bacterial - Some soaps are classified as anti-bacterial, meaning ingredients have been added specifically to kill bacteria. This is important to dudes because depending on your skin type and physical activity level, you might benefit from using an anti-bacterial body wash if you are prone to rashes or irritation. Astringent - This is a liquid product used for removing oil from the skin on your face, typically in conjunction with a cotton ball. Might sound girly, but it's a good way to make your face feel cleaner without washing your face completely. Blackhead - This is simply a visible build-up of junk in your pores. Despite "black" being in the title, the color can vary. Keeping your face clean with cleansers and astringents can help prevent blackheads, but there are also products and strips made specifically to remove that crap. Cleanser - This is what you use to clean your face. Typically cleaners are in a gel or liquid form, there are some cream cleaners as well. There are many types of cleaners; your main concern should be finding one right for your skin type. Some will dry out your skin more than others. Dermatitis - Generic term for a skin inflammation. There are numerous types of dermatitis, so it's a pretty vague term when used alone. Eczema - A common form of dermatitis, characterized by some combination of persistent rash, redness, itching, crusting, etc. If you suspect you have eczema, you should consult a dermatologist to help you find the best products for you to use, be it Rx or over the counter. Emollient - An umbrella terms for ingredients often used in moisturizers. In general they are ingredients that keep the skin moist and slow the evaporation of water from the skin. Exfoliate - The removal of dead skin cells from the outer surface of your skin. Again, this might sound girly, but just think of it as wet-sanding. You can hose down the deck with some water... but that only does so much. Sometimes you need to get in there and really scrub it... this is where exfoliation comes in. There are two main types of exfoliation: manual (see scrub) and chemical (see peel). Manual means you use force to buff off dead skin with a scrub or textured sponge. Chemical exfoliation uses specific products to gently dissolve dead skin. There are pros and cons to each method. Facial - No, not that kind of facial... perv. A facial is just a sequence of skin treatments, the specifics of which are determined by what your skin needs. Many spas offer a type of facial aimed at men, often they just throw "sports" into the title to make it sound manly. "Sports manicure," "Sports facial," etc. Loofah - This is a textured body sponge for cleaning and exfoliating your body. Some are soft, some are very hard and rough. Mask - A general term for a skin treatment that you leave on for an extended period of time, 20 minutes for example. The most common uses for masks are: moisturizing, exfoliating, and minimize pores. Peel - A type of chemical exfoliation. You can go to the pharmacy and get a cheap at-home "peel" (tip: you don't actually see anything peel, it's just a term for removing/dissolving a layer of dead skin). Or, you can go to a dermatologist and get a professional-grade chemical peel. People typically do the latter to try to look younger. Pre-Shave Oil - This is the least used shaving product among men. The name is pretty self-explanatory. If you apply the oil to your damp face about a minute prior to having, it will help soften your skin and facial hair. Think of it as a little extra razor-lube. Rosacea - A common chronic skin condition, characterized by face redness with emphasis on the central face, nose, and forehead. The chest, ears, and scalp can also be impacted. If you suspect you have rosacea, you should consult a dermatologist to help you find the best products for you to use, be it Rx or over the counter. Salicylic Acid - An ingredient used is many many skin products, from astringents to creams to masks. Simply speaking, it causes your skin to shed more quickly, opens pores, kills bacteria, and helps your skin function more normally. That's the cliff notes version of what it is. Scrub - A method of "manual" exfoliation. Scrubs are available for both the face and body. Some can be quite harsh on the skin, especially some of the ones made specifically for men. So, if you are trying a new scrub, use some caution. Sebum - Oily crap that is secreted by your skin. Essentially this is the crap you want to remove with all the other products we talk about, because left alone it will seriously clog your handsome face. SPF (Sun Protection Factor) - This one is straightforward, this is sunscreen. Using a moisturizer that has a SPF, often 15, is a good idea. When you go out in the direct sun, like by the pool or on the beach, wearing sunscreen is essential. Getting skin cancer is easier than you think. Toner - Similar to astringent, and sometimes the labels are even mixed. Toners are typically a liquid applied to the face with a cotton ball to remove oil, soothe pores, moisturize, or just calm the skin. The main differentiating factor between an astringent and a toner, is that astringent is assumed to contain alcohol that will remove oil and dry your skin.