This is but one installment of 37 Things a Man's Gotta Do This Summer, our annual compendium of everything worth seeing, doing, eating, drinking and generally making time for in your neck of the woods between now and September. Stay tuned all month for more.
Aging skin is a reality we have to live with year-round.
But it feels especially lousy in 85-degree weather with nothing but a bottle of decade-old Sportscreen on hand. Add in the gritty particulars of your chemistry, diet, environment … and let’s just say things can pop up when, and where, we least expect them.
Fortunately, skincare is neither fake science (for now) nor an impenetrable, pleasantly scented mystery. It is, however, a saturated and weirdly gendered marketplace, so a little guidance will go a long way when it comes to finding your godsends.
Your jumping off-point for getting things right: our fixes for 10 common summertime skin problems, from conspicuous crow's feet to bug bites to a dewy undercarriage. With this in hand, you’ll be ready to march bravely down the aisle of toners, masques, oils, scrubs, powders and … snail mucus.
It’s surprisingly refreshing.
The problem: My crow’s feet and laugh lines suddenly look more pronounced. What gives?
The solution: You can tell yourself that you’re just squinting more because the sun’s out, but the truth is collagen replenishment begins to diminish in your 20s, and diet and vices affect your complexion. For starters, “wear SPF everyday” should be the 11th Commandment. Second, try a masque. Grown Alchemist Age-Repair Gel Masque ($79) is a nice cooling masque to use either first thing in the morning (with the added bonus of calming puffy eyes) or as you wind down at night. Supplement with Farmacy Hydrating Anti-Wrinkle Coconut Gel Masques ($15) on nights spent on the couch or weekend afternoons — sheet masques are easiest to use while loafing around (which makes them airplane-friendly, too).
The problem: I have sensitive skin and my complexion/texture isn’t what it used to be
The solution: My beautifully complected dermatologist at one point advised to lean more towards “medicinal” treatments rather than “beautifying” ones. Translation: be sure to look for a product’s nutritive properties. Called the “Rolls-Royce of clay masks” by Alexia Inge, the co-founder of Cult Beauty, the Immunocologie Vital Clay ($150) masque is a nutrient-rich treatment that targets fine lines and impurities with minerals like copper, magnesium, calcium and zinc. Another one of the best summer skincare hacks I ever learned was to keep a bottle of skin mist in the fridge for a refreshing at-will treatment. The Linné Fresh Mist ($36) or this less costly Rosewater Glycerin Lotion ($9) both calm aggravated skin.
The problem: I live in a dry climate, and when the mercury rises, I turn into a snake.
The solutions: First of all, drink water. It takes about two hours for water to work through your body, so consider that when planning warm-weather workouts.
Skin: If you don’t exfoliate, you only have yourself to blame. For two reasons: to remove sweat and dead cells and to create a receptive palette for the moisturizing products you’ve invested in. Picture painting a chipped board without scraping and sanding first, and you’ve got the idea. As for the product you need: cult favorite Benton Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream ($16), an ultra-moisturizing and nourishing cream for dry days.
Lips: Grown Alchemist Lip Balm Antioxidant+3 Complex ($29), or just a tube of ye olde Burt’s Bees in the pocket.
Hair and beard: Another cult favorite, some beauty editors replaced their shampoo and conditioner with the Sachajuan Hair Repair ($33). Maapilim All-Purpose Oil ($24) is great for freshly washed hair to lock in moisture, and also smells like campfire smoke in a wet forest.
The problem: Humidity makes my acne break out. I am not a teen. This has to stop. Help.
Solution: The biggest lie ever told was that acne ends when your age stops being the name of a magazine. For bacne, the tried-and-true Truly Clear soap is effective, but it can be too harsh for the face, especially if you are dry and sensitive at all. Don’t be scared by the words “chemical exfoliant,” in the fine print of Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid ($29) — it basically has the consistency of a toner but does its work invisibly, evening tone and texture with regular use. For precision-targeting blemishes, a beauty editor favorite for price and efficacy is the CosRX Acne Pimple Master Patch ($7). Leave them on overnight, wake up to discover visible improvement. Also don’t underestimate first-aid staple Bacitracin Antibiotic Ointment ($5) or Neosporin, which in a pinch will work as acne treatment.
The problem: I am sweating everywhere all the time, especially in mine undercarriage.
The solution: Baby powder and talc are officially off-limits, but still your grandparents were on to something … hippie-approved Nutribiotic Body and Foot Powder ($9) is a godsend for absorbing moisture from everywhere from greasy hair to tennis shoes to — yes, your undercarriage.
The problem: I have unsightly mosquito bites in various stages of healing, or other discoloration/scarring that I want to minimize.
The solution: Obviously follow best First Aid practices regarding open wounds, but for any spots you want to disappear, Pro-EMU AEA Certified Emu Oil ($8) is a sleeper miracle product. Yes it’s derived from emus, but FWIW I had a dark scar that responded so well to this years ago that I’ve kept some on hand for all kinds of bumps and knicks. Vitamin E is also widely used as a scar-reducer and anti-aging treatment.
The problem: I could stand to smell fresher.
The solution: Let’s get you there, head to toe, starting with your face: Maapilim Beard Wash ($32). For not smelling like Old Spice this summer: Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant Cedarwood and Juniper ($9). For a quick post-workout sweat-killer: ShowerPill Athletic Body Wipes ($10).
The problem: My skin, like the rest of me, is aging, and I feel paranoid every time I go to the derm that he’ll tell me I have skin cancer.
The solution: It’s a possibility, but as long as you’re keeping a routine and going to the dermatologist now and again, you’re being responsible. Your SPF can also pull double-duty to improve texture or acne as well: dermatologist-approved Elta MD UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 ($27) has transparent zinc-oxide and hyaluronic acid to minimize fine lines.
The problem: I'm going on a 3-day vacation and can't pack my secret drawer full of skin products.
The solution: No problem, just gotta get yourself a multitasker. As mentioned above, sheet masques are great for traveling, so throwing one in your carry-on for mid-flight use can combat some of the harsh effects of travel on the face. For when you land: if you have oily and mature skin: PLANT Apothecary Superfacial ($56). If you are normal/non-sensitive: Ssanai Face Optimizer All-in-One Lotion ($20). Sensitive skin: Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial ($80).
The problem: I have dry feet and heels and I know it is wrong to subject friends and family to them poolside or in sandals, period.
The solution: You get a cookie for acknowledging your role in the chronic overexposure of men’s feet. Women aren’t just born with soft, pedicured toes; rather, they use all kinds of sneaky, incredible and effective products to get feet sandal-ready. The best among them: Baby Feet, which will indeed restore your dogs to a youthful, butter soft version of themselves. The catch: a really, really weird peeling phase that happens a week after use.