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What are the best skin cleansers for men with dry skin?

If you find that your body cleanser is gentle enough for your face, you can let it do double-duty. See more personal hygiene pictures.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

From an everyday vantage point, our skin might not seem that complicated. However, get a bit closer, and you'll see the truth. In just one square inch of skin, we have an estimated 60 hairs, 20 blood vessels, 600 sweat glands and 100 oil-secreting glands. It's no wonder it accounts for 16 percent of our weight [source: Men's Health Books]. It's also no wonder it is so susceptible to damage -- it has a lot going on. One of the most common skin challenges we confront is dry skin. This goes for everyone. So, men, you aren't immune to dry skin and its accompanying tightness, pain, flaking and itchiness. In this article, you'll learn the best skin cleansers to keep at hand to battle this condition.

But first you need to know whether you actually have dry skin to begin with. You may be ignoring the symptoms, want some actual proof of their existence or even be misdiagnosing yourself.

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So how do you tell if you have dry skin? One place you can check is your face. An hour after washing, if no oil comes off a tissue pressed against your face, or if it feels tight and is flaky, you have dry skin. That said, sensitive skin can often be confused for dry skin. If you have sensitive skin, the dryness will likely be accompanied by stinging during or after washing. It may also have broken blood vessels or be red [source: Oakley]. As you shop for cleansers, note that some products formulated specifically for sensitive skin may not include ingredients that your dry skin needs, as outlined on the next page of this article.

Speaking of cleansers, though, if you have dry skin, does that mean you shouldn't clean it? No, of course not. Cleaning helps to do the following:

  • Removes dirt and dead skin cells
  • Kicks excess impurities to the curb
  • Curtails odors
  • Prevents infection

However, even though you still need to clean dry skin, your tactics should vary from your friends with normal, oily or sensitive skin. That's because cleansing can further complicate your condition by removing essential natural oils and disrupting the delicate pH (acidic) balance of your skin.

So what's a man to do? Well, for starters, you can choose a cleanser that's right for you. There are a lot of options out there, such as gels, creams, mousses and foams. You can even go with bar soap in some instances, but you'll need to be extra careful in your selection because they can be especially tough on dry skin.

Head to the next page to learn how to narrow your search for the perfect cleanser.

 

No matter your cleanser choice, look for mild options with added oils and fats (also referred to as ceramides on labels). While looking for ingredients you want, avoid added scents, deodorants, antibacterial detergents, salicylic acid and alcohols.

Now that you know some skin cleanser basics, let's focus on the liquid variety, since that will be your best bet for managing dry skin. When it comes to liquids, you can outfit your shower stall with a different cleanser for every region: body, face and even hair. If this suits your daily regimen or if you feel different parts of your body need gentler care, have at it. However, also note that if your body cleanser proves gentle enough for your face, you can let it do double-duty. In that same vein, if while shopping, you find an all-in-one -- body, face and hair -- cleanser that does the trick for your skin, this could be the way to go to keep your shower footprint small.

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Don't think you need a padded wallet to purchase the dry skin cleanser that's perfect for you. Look for cost-effective options at your local drugstore. For example, the Aveeno and Cetaphil lines are both widely available and offer products that often come recommended for sensitive skin [sources: MedlinePlus, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics].

If you have to go with a bar no matter what, opt for a beauty bar formulated for sensitive skin. Basis, Dove and Neutrogena product lines offer options for this. Still look for varieties with added fats and oils [source: Mayo Clinic].

Other ingredients that may be helpful for your dry skin -- whether you're sticking to your guns and opting for a bar or going the liquid route -- are:

  • Lactic acid
  • Glycerin
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Natural oils, such as sweet almond oil, jojoba or argan oil

[sources: ConsumerSearch, Inc., Wright]

Now that you know how to navigate the skin cleanser aisle, you can get your skin in tip-top condition. Still curious about dry skin? There's lots more information on the next page.

Related Articles

Sources

  • AgingSkinNet. "Dermatologists'' Top 10 Tips for Relieving Dry skin." (Jan. 4, 2011) http://www.skincarephysicians.com/agingskinnet/winter_skin.html
  • American Academy of Dermatology. "Cosmeceutical Facts and Your Skin." 2009. (Jan. 4, 2011) http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/general_cosmeceutical.html
  • American Academy of Dermatology. "Saving Face 101: How to Customize Your Skin Care Routine With Your Skin Type." Nov. 10, 2009. (Jan. 4, 2011) http://www.aad.org/media/background/news/Releases/Saving_Face_101_How_to_Customize_Your_Skin_Care_Ro/
  • ConsumerReports.org. "Facial cleansers." Sept. 2007. (Jan. 4, 2011) http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/home-garden/beauty-personal-care/skincare/facial-cleansers-9-07/overview/0709_cleanser_ov.htm
  • ConsumerSearch, Inc. "Facial Cleansers: Full Report." July 2010. (Jan. 6, 2011) http://www.consumersearch.com/facial-cleansers/cleansers-for-sensitive-skin
  • Fordyce, Moira, MB ChB, MD, FRCPE, AGSF. "Patient Education Forum. Dry skin." The AGS Foundation for Health in Aging." (Jan. 4, 2011) http://www.healthinaging.org/public_education/pef/dry_skin.php
  • KidsHealth. "Taking Care of Your Skin." Sept. 2007. (Jan. 4, 2011) http://kidshealth.org/kid/stay_healthy/body/skin_care.html
  • Mayo Clinic. "Dry skin. Lifestyle and home remedies." Nov. 23, 2010. (Jan. 4, 2011) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dry-skin/DS00560/DSECTION=lifestyle-and-home-remedies
  • MedlinePlus. "Dry skin." Aug. 8, 2009. (Jan. 4, 2010) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003250.htm
  • Men's Health Books. "The Complete Book of Men's Health: The Definitive, Illustrated Guide to Health Living, Exercise, and Sex." 2000. (Jan. 4, 2011) http://books.google.com/books?id=RZ39Lrw_4GQC&pg=PA24&dq=male+skin+cleansers&hl=en&ei=8mciTZqBAsOblgeT0_m9DA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CE4Q6AEwBg#v=onepage&q&f=false
  • Monte, Tom. "The complete guide to natural healing." 1997. (Jan. 4, 2011) http://books.google.com/books?id=aQOupA1tR3kC&pg=PA574&dq=male+skin+cleansers&hl=en&ei=8mciTZqBAsOblgeT0_m9DA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CF4Q6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=male%20skin%20cleansers&f=false
  • Oakley, Amanda. "Soaps & cleansers." DermNet NZ. Sept. 2010. (Jan. 4, 2011) http://www.dermnetnz.org/treatments/cleansers.html
  • RealAge. "Go Cheap on Skin Care." Sept. 26, 2008. (Jan. 4, 2011) http://www.realage.com/tips/go-cheap-on-skin-care
  • RealAge. "Skin Care Products -- Cleanser." July 2009. (Jan. 4, 2011) http://www.realage.com/look-young-stay-sharp/simply-beautiful-skin/skin-care-products-choosing-a-good-cleanser
  • University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. "Winter Dry skin." 2005. (Jan. 4, 2011) http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/skinhealth/winterskin.html
  • Vann, Madeline, MPH. "Body Wash, Shower Gel, or Bar Soap?" Everyday Health. Oct. 5, 2010. (Jan. 4, 2011) http://www.everydayhealth.com/skin-and-beauty/which-way-to-wash.aspx
  • WebMD. "Fighting Back Against Dry skin." Sept. 9, 20201. (Jan. 4, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/dry-skin-10/slideshow-cleaning-dry-skin
  • Wright, Suzanne. "Beyond First Blush: An Up-Close Look at Natural Skin Products." March 17, 2009. (Jan. 4, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/features/beyond-first-blush-an-upclose-look-at-natural-skin-care-products

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