These days, men are expected to be more sensitive than ever. But while sensitivity of the heart and mind are desirable, sensitive skin is just a pain in the … well, skin.
Sensitive skin, in the context of this article, refers to skin that's prone to irritation. This can manifest as redness, burning, itching or dryness in reaction to changes in temperature and weather conditions, new skin-care or household products, stress or diet. Sometimes, these reactions can be a sign of a treatable dermatological condition and should be checked by a doctor. Eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and contact dermatitis are some of these conditions.
Sensitive skin can affect all parts of the body, but facial skin gets the most exposure to the elements, skin products and razor blades. Of all the skin on the body, facial skin also gets the most action as we push and pull it into expressions of amusement, curiosity, disappointment, surprise and sadness -- sometimes within the space of a few minutes. On the other hand, the skin on the rest of the body has to endure constant friction from clothing (unless you live in a particularly warm climate or are of the nudist persuasion), especially at the wrist, neck and waist, where clothing is the tightest, or where it rubs most, like at the elbows and knees.
Men's skin problems aren't very different from women's -- dry skin, acne and hives can happen to anybody -- but their skin is different in some ways. Men's skin is thicker (perhaps explaining their unwarranted reputation for being insensitive), tends to have larger pores and produces more oil [source: Goldman; Goins]. Ironically, producing more oil doesn't protect men from dry skin, which is more common in men than women [source: Goldman].
Despite these differences, pampering sensitive skin is the same for both sexes. Read on to find out what you can do to soothe and protect your sensitive skin.