Research suggests that men suffer from skin conditions just as much as women. They often will not seek help from a dermatologist because of insecurities, time constraints or just an “I’ll deal with it” attitude. But men do not need to suffer in silence.
Although there are key differences between men and women’s skin — for example, men’s skin is thicker than women’s — the basic elements of effective medical and cosmetic skin care plans remain the same. Below are some of the most common medical skin conditions in men, as well as some tips to achieve healthier-looking skin.
Skin cancer is a major issue for men, especially melanoma. This potentially deadly form of skin cancer is the 7th most common cancer of all types in men. Men between the age of 15 and 39 are 55% more likely to die of melanoma than women of the same age. An average of 1 in 34 men will develop melanoma sometime in their life. If detected and treated early, the prognosis is very good and will not affect lifespan. However, when melanoma is not detected early it can metastasize and lead to premature death. Dr. Cohn suggests that her male patients get in a habit of using a moisturizer with at least SPF 30 sunscreen every morning.
Men can particularly be affected by razor burn. It is a good idea to always wash your face with warm water before shaving, use a shaving gel or cream, and shave in the direction of hair growth. Pseudofolliculitis barbae, or “razor bumps,” is commonly seen in men with coarse hair. This appears as pimples and inflamed bumps around hair follicles in the beard distribution. The use of prescription strength topical antibiotic and topical anti-inflammatory medications can relieve the discomfort.
Eczema and its symptoms are different for everyone. If your dry skin looks red or patchy, or feels dry or itchy, it could be more than just dry skin. For many men, the itch of eczema can range from mild to moderate. But in some cases, it can become much worse and a patient may develop extremely inflamed skin. Sometimes the itch gets so bad that people scratch it until it bleeds, which can make eczema worse. Eczema—also known as atopic dermatitis—is an itchy skin condition that often shows up where your skin folds, like your elbows and knees. A family history of asthma or seasonal allergies can make men more at risk. Outbreaks can come and go depending on outside factors like stress, or contact with irritants or allergens. Dr. Cohn recommends using skin products marked as hypoallergenic and showering in luke-warm instead of hot water and minimizing time spent in the shower or bath.
If you’re starting to see a receding hairline or thinning at the crown, you might be surprised to hear that there are some great, minimally invasive options to help restore your lost hair. Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy, can be quite beneficial for age-related hair loss particularly when combined with other treatments like finasteride (brand name Propecia) or Rogaine. Hair loss can be complicated. While genetic hair loss is the most common cause of thinning in men, there are other potential triggers. For that reason, It is always a good idea to get a baseline examination from Dr. Cohn before trying any over the counter remedies.
Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a fungal infection that usually begins between the toes. It commonly occurs in people whose feet have become very sweaty while confined within tightfitting shoes. Signs and symptoms of athlete’s foot include a scaly rash that usually causes itching, stinging and burning. Athlete’s foot is contagious and can be spread via contaminated floors, towels or clothing. Athlete’s foot is closely related to other fungal infections such as ringworm and jock itch. It can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal medications, but the infection often recurs. Prescription medications also are available.
If you’re ever in pain or your skin health affects your daily life, it’s time to visit a dermatologist. Dr. Cohn recommends you schedule an appointment if you fit any of the following descriptions:
- You have been exposed to lots of sun in your life (work or leisure) with or without sun protection, a baseline skin check is always a good idea.
- You have itchy, red, flaky skin and over-the-counter creams and lotions just are not working. You may think that the cause of your dry skin is the weather, sensitivity to skincare products, or even genetics.
- You want to take a proactive approach to your skin health. It is always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to your health. If you notice anything out of the ordinary with your skin, hair or nails, contact Dr. Monique S. Cohn at Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Center at 330-425-7600 to set up an appointment in Twinsburg.