It's a common misconception that men don't care about hygiene products. While you may not want to smell like a rose, no one wants bad breath or body odor. In fact, the market for men's skin care and hygiene products -- which was valued at approximately $20 billion worldwide in 2009 -- is rapidly growing, and predicted to reach $28 billion by 2014 [source: Packaged Facts].
From grooming to skin care to oral hygiene, here are five products that've got you covered. First, let's talk skin type.
Body Wash for Your Skin Type
Instead of relying on your old standby, choose a skin cleanser based on your skin. First, narrow down whether your go-to bar of soap or liquid cleanser is right for your skin type:
If you have oily skin, look for cleansers that are water-based and soap-free. People with dry skin should choose gentle cleansers that are rich in ingredients that soothe and soften the skin, such as glycerin, urea, mineral or plant-based oils, and petrolatum (petroleum-based ingredients). And if you suffer from sensitive skin, choose soap-free cleansers that are also fragrance free. If you can avoid preservatives such as parabens, which may cause allergic reactions, even better.
Good oral hygiene will not only give you a healthy smile and fresh breath; it may reduce your chances of heart disease. Surprised? Studies have found that people who have periodontal disease -- gingivitis and periodontitis -- have double the risk of a condition called atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of arteries. Flossing, in particular, will remove more than just stray poppy seeds; it also removes plaque that causes gum disease, inflammation and tooth decay.
Oral health care providers recommend we floss at least once a day, yet almost half of Americans don't -- in fact, 10 percent don't floss at all [source: Freeman]. For spot-on technique, floss up and down between all teeth, making a C on the side of every tooth. Be sure you get below the gumline where plaque can hide.
It may seem OK to substitute your face soap or body wash for shaving cream, but trust us: Shaving cream will make your skin happy.
Shaving cream, gel or lotion creates a layer of protection between your skin and the razor blade. That protective layer reduces the drag of the blade, in turn reducing the irritation you have from shaving, such as shaving bumps and razor burn. Choose a thick gel or cream with hydrating ingredients, and let it sit on your skin for a few minutes to soften hairs before shaving.
Also, take note. Anything with alcohol-based ingredients will only dry out skin, and menthol can cause allergic reactions.
Antiperspirant or Deodorant
Americans spend more than $1 billion every year on products to stop sweat and body odor [source: Grossman]. It's big business and a big job -- the body has about 2.6 million sweat glands, and a person can produce 1 to 3 liters of sweat in just an hour in a hot climate [source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram]. To combat odor, wetness or both, you'll want to have an antiperspirant or deodorant (or a combination) in your arsenal. Antiperspirants work by temporarily plugging up your pores, making it impossible for the sweat to escape. Deodorants won't stop your sweat. Instead, they mask body odor with fragrance and by reducing the number of odor-causing bacteria on our skin.
Just as you'd consider your skin type when searching for the right body wash, you should consider your particular skin needs when buying a moisturizer. If you have normal skin, the world of moisturizers is wide open to you. If you don't have normal skin, and many of us don't, you'll need to be a little pickier.
First, let's clear up a common misconception. If you have skin that's oily or acne-prone, you still need a moisturizer. Look for products that are water-based and noncomedogenic -- that means they won't add oils to your skin-care routine, and they won't clog your pores.
Dry skin sufferers need a product that's thicker -- look for moisturizers that are oil-based or contain hydrating ingredients such as glycerin or petrolatum. If your skin is sensitive, choose a moisturizer that's gentle, without chemicals that promise to reduce wrinkles, for example. You should also look for a fragrance-free moisturizer because fragrance is a common cause of skin irritation and allergic reactions.
Use a moisturizer after showering and hand washing, preferably while skin is still damp. As an added benefit, try a moisturizer that doubles as a sunscreen.
Want to learn more about great hygiene products? Check out the links on the next page.
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- American Academy of Dermatology. "Cosmeceutical Facts and Your Skin." 2009. (Feb. 20, 2011)http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/general_cosmeceutical.html
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Dry Skin & Keratosis Pilaris." 2009. (Feb. 20, 2011) http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/skin_dry.html
- American Academy of Periodontology. "Study Drives Home the Importance of Tooth Brushing and Dental Flossing." Aug. 1, 2006. (Feb. 20, 2011) http://www.drgums.com/blog/study-importance-tooth-brushing-dental-flossing/
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Hot Stuff: Facts and tidbits about sweat." (Feb. 20, 2011) http://www.roanoke.com/entertainment/pdf/extra_0710_sweat.pdf
- Freeman, David. "Flossing Teeth for Dummies: No More Excuses!" WebMD. 2010. (Feb. 20, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/healthy-teeth-10/flossing-floss-sticks
- Grossman, Anna Jane. "Cast Aside Underarm Protection, if You Dare." The New York Times. Nov. 8, 2007.
- Hoffman, Laura et al. "Benefits of an emollient body wash for patients with chronic winter dry skin." Dermatologic Therapy. Oct. 6, 2008. (Feb. 20, 2011) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1529-8019.2008.00225.x/full
- Kramer, S.M. "Fact or Fiction?: Antiperspirants Do More Than Block Sweat."Scientific American. Aug. 9, 2007. (Feb. 20, 2011) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fact-or-fiction-antiperspants-do-more-than-block-sweat
- Mayo Clinic. "Moisturizers: Options for softer skin." Dec. 16, 2010. (Feb. 20, 2011) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/moisturizers/SN00042
- Packaged Facts. "Men's Grooming Products: A Global Analysis." Nov. 1, 2009. (Feb. 20, 2011) http://www.packagedfacts.com/Men-Personal-Care-2293646/
- University of Maryland Medical Center. "Oral Health: Flossing." May 22, 2009. (Feb. 20, 2011)http://www.umm.edu/oralhealth/flossing.htm
- UPI. "Dental floss may lower heart disease risk." Dec. 17, 2008. (Feb. 20, 2011)http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2008/12/17/Dental-floss-may-lower-heart-disease-risk/UPI-81571229574870/
- WebMD. "Periodontal Disease and Heart Health." (Feb. 20, 2011)http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/features/periodontal-disease-heart-health