Acne, Sun Spots, More: Top 10 Men’s Skin Conditions
What are the most common skin conditions that affect men? At Janiga MDs, we see some common concerns among men visiting us for dermatology treatment. Below are the top ten conditions that men are concerned about and the common ways that we treat them.
- Acne is a very common skin condition that affects a large percentage of men and women during their lives, often during adolescence. Acne is a multifactorial skin disease, with inflammation, bacteria, oil production and hormones all playing roles in the development of these lesions. Androgens, which are male hormones, stimulate the growth and secretory function of oil glands, which can lead to pimples. Depending on the severity, there are a number of acne treatment options. The medications available are designed to target the overproduction of oil, the lack of sloughing of the skin, the growth of bacteria and the resulting inflammation. For patients who suffer from acne – whether moderate or severe – Janiga MDs will develop an individual treatment plan that includes the most efficacious treatment options.
- Scarring of the skin can leave unsightly permanent and distressing marks on the face. One of the common causes of scarring on the face is cystic acne. The good news is that the latest technology – ICON non-ablative lasers – are available at Janiga MDs. This laser stimulates collagen, the essential substance for skin integrity, and dramatically improves the appearance of the skin by smoothing out the scarring. We recommend the course of treatment for acne scarring begin with three laser treatments as well as the application of a retinol, a topical exfoliant medication, which also helps stimulate collagen and improve the skin tone.
- Pseudofolliculitis barbae is the medical term for what is better known as shaving bumps. It is relatively common in men and it results from the removal of facial hair with a razor. During shaving, with a blade or even an electric shaver, short hairs get trapped under the skin, triggering inflammation. The most effective treatment is, of course, to discontinue shaving for a period of time to allow the skin to heal. For men in jobs where being unshaven is not possible, other treatment options include applying topical steroids, topical antimicrobials and exfoliants such as topical retinoids.
- Brown spots, sun spots, or lentigos, are common concerns for men. The benign brown pigmented lesions of the skin, commonly called sunspots, are unsightly and occur in sun exposed areas. These are easily treated with an IPL laser which uses intense light energy to destroy the pigmented lesions. At Janiga MDs, we generally recommend three IPL laser treatments to start, along with the use of a skin lightening topical medication and sunscreen followed by yearly maintenance with the IPL treatments.
- Skin cancer is, of course, our greatest concern because it can be life-threatening. While skin cancers affect both men and women, some studies show that they are more common in men due to their greater proclivity for both outdoor jobs and outdoor leisure activities. The three main types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, with the first two being a direct result of cumulative sun exposure. While both basal and squamous cancers have to be surgically excised, and can result in scarring and can potentially reoccur, they are typically not considered dangerous because they usually do not metastasize or otherwise result in a terminal illness.Melanoma, however, is an extremely aggressive cancer and it is imperative that it is diagnosed and treated as early as possible to prevent it from spreading and becoming life threatening. Because melanoma can occur at any age and anywhere on the body, we recommend yearly skin exams by a dermatologist as well as regular, frequent self-exams for signs of new dark spots or moles or any change in the appearance of previously existing ones.
- Dry skin is very common for those living in the Reno-Tahoe area due to our low humidity. When dry skin goes untreated it can turn into a rash known as eczema. Not surprisingly, hydration, or more accurately, rehydration of the skin is paramount in the treatment and prevention of dry skin and eczema. Except in those severe cases where a prescription medication is needed to control the eczema flares, I have found that Cerave Cream and Aquaphor Healing Ointment, when applied daily, will do an excellent job of keeping the skin barrier hydrated and healthy.
- Wrinkles around the eyes. A common concern for men we see at our clinic are wrinkles around the eyes, commonly known as crow’s feet. A simple, relatively painless and effective treatment for this unwelcome sign of aging is of course, Botox. Treatments dramatically reduce eye wrinkles and offer a more youthful appearance, which lasts two to six months on average.
- Lines around the mouth. Another prominent sign of aging in men is nasolabial fold prominence, the linear crease between the nose and the corner of the mouth. Again, due largely to sun damage, as the skin in that area loses its plumpness, this crease becomes more severe. Juvaderm and Restylane are gels that can be injected into the crease to plump up and smooth out the skin, leading to a much more youthful appearance.
- Dark circles under the eyes occur in most men, particularly as they age, and the cause is multifold. If allergies are contributing, be sure to treat them with antihistamines or other remedies suggested by an allergist. Also, be sure also to get plenty of sleep and use a designated eye cream. My male patients report that they especially like Skin Medica Eye Repair, which is applied at bedtime and contains growth factor to stimulate the production of collagen which in turn leads to thickening of this thin fragile skin. A more immediate and dramatic improvement would be seen with the injection of the previously mentioned fillers such as Juvederm or Restylane into the tear trough to plump up the skin.
- Sagging skin. Men and women alike loose collagen as they age which results in laxity of the skin around the eyes, prominence of the jowl area, and contributes to an overall tired appearance. When there is significant laxity, we recommend our male patients see Dr. Timothy Janiga, our plastic surgeon here at Janiga MDs, for consideration of a face or eyelid lift.
Though not all skin conditions are caused by exposure to the sun, everyone – men included – should use sunscreen daily, even when not planning to be outside. Even small increments of UV radiation, such as that which occurs when simply driving to and from work, not only leads to destruction of collagen and the wrinkling and sagging of the skin, but can also lead to skin cancer. For sunscreens, we recommend those containing zinc or titanium, which provide optimum protection by reflecting and scattering the UV light over the full range of wavelengths. One such product is Elta MD, which has a variety of zinc containing sunscreens designed for everyday use and for every skin type.
And that is the skinny on skin conditions and skin care for men. If you have any concerns about your skin, please contact us for a consultation.