Even though you may not want to fuss with lots of skin care potions, there are a few handy aids that will take the sting out of shaving and keep your hands soft and smooth in winter. If your skin feels dry or tight after using skin care preparations, you're due for a change.
- Moisturizers - There are thousands of moisturizers on the market, and most of them will help rehydrate your skin. Look for varieties that include oil-based ingredients like lanolin, grape seed oil and vitamin E. You can pay a lot for moisturizers that make fantastic claims about their vital emollients and rare rejuvenating ingredients. Your best bet is to start with a less expensive dry skin moisturizer and test it for a few weeks to see if it works for you. One good bonus ingredient in a basic daily moisturizer is built-in sunscreen. Moisturizers that contain sunscreen (SPF15 or higher) will save you the trouble of remembering to apply sun protection every time you go out.
- Petroleum jelly - This petroleum-based product is a thick, moisturizing goo that has some surprising benefits. It may not feel as silky as an expensive moisturizer, but it's very effective at holding moisture in your skin. To treat your feet, apply petroleum jelly within a few minutes of getting out of the bath or shower, and then put on a thick pair of socks. It's like a mini spa treatment. This also works on your face (without the socks), elbows, knees and hands. If you think plain petroleum jelly is just too thick for your taste, look for a product that includes petroleum jelly as a secondary ingredient.
- Moisturizing bar or liquid soap -New generation soap blends have moisturizers built right in. They can clean and soften your skin at the same time. If you're a man on the go, using a soap that will give you two-for-one performance is an efficient and smart option. You may still need a secondary moisturizer for your face and hands, but incorporating moisturizing agents into your soap will give your skin protection when it's warm and wet, a time when it's particularly vulnerable.
- Shaving gel and cream - More than 90 percent of men over the age of 15 shave, and shaving can be hard on your skin. If you've ever felt the burn, you know what we mean. Put back what all that scraping takes away by using a shaving cream that replenishes your skin's moisture balance. Be sure to look for a brand that advertises that it moisturizes as it works and is formulated for dry skin -- oh, and be sure to use it consistently. Your whiskers will thank you.
- Use no-alcohol products - Even if you think you need the refreshing hit of an alcohol-based cleanser or after shave, it's contributing to your dry skin in a big way. Change your brand. Try a no-alcohol option with the same manly fragrance -- or better yet, no fragrance at all. You may even be able to stay with the same manufacturer and just change the line of products you're using. If you've been splashing, slathering or rolling on the same grooming products since you were in your teens, it may be time for a makeover anyway.
Dry skin feels uncomfortable. Besides making you look older, it stings, sloughs off in unappealing flakes, and can actually split and bleed. Change your routine by trying a few new products specifically designed to soften and moisturize. If the idea strikes you as a bit too girlie, think of it as preventive maintenance instead of pampering. Your birthday suit has to last a lifetime, so take good care of it.