Skincare For Men


The majority of patients I see every day are women. Really, the only time men come into the office is if they need a mole checked or removed, are curious about a rash, or just need to get an annual skin check. But skincare for men is just as important as it is for women, and I know of many men that would love to even their skin tone, brighten their complexion, and prevent wrinkles, they just don't know what to do or how to start.  

Women are used to washing their face twice a day and piling on products - moisturizer, sunscreen, foundation. I have been known to take an hour to perfect my face before going out. Men, on the other hand, in my experience, often do not even know they should be washing their face, rarely wear moisturizer, and do not realize sunscreen is an every day essential. I find men are often much less willing to have a multi-step regimen when it comes to skincare and they definitely do not want to feel like they are wearing anything at all.

The same rules of basic skincare apply to men as well: moisturize, apply sunscreen, use a retinoid. But, and I hope I'm not overgeneralizing, men typically do not want to go out of their way. So I'd recommend starting slow. In the morning, apply a sunscreen. Any kind you like that feels good and goes on easy. May I suggest one of these? Then, at night, after you brush your teeth, wash your face quickly with any face wash that looks manly! and then, just as quickly, put on a bit of moisturizer. That's it!

Of course, if you want to step things up a notch, read my other posts! Most things I talk about apply equally to men and women. And believe me, once you notice a difference in the texture and glow of your skin, you'll realize why women go through so much effort on a daily basis. Progress is the best motivator. 

Here are some additional things you can keep in mind if you're having a specific problem: 

For acne, I often try to find combination prescription medications for those patients who do not have much time to devote to their skincare but are still bothered by their acne. Topicals like Benzaclin (a combination Benzoyl Peroxide and Clindamycin) and Epiduo (Adapalene and Benzoyl Peroxide) offer a two-in-one treatment. I find gel-based medications are often more cosmetically elegant and feel less "heavy" on the skin, which men prefer. For body acne, shower washes like Panoxyl or Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash, found over the counter, are quick and easy. And since we have to use a body wash anyway it doesn't feel like an extra step.

For skin rejuvenation, I find men like chemical peels once they realize they don't have to look like a snake shedding their face. For anyone's first time getting a chemical peel I always start at a low level and we build up from there, doing deeper treatments at subsequent visits. Most of the time you don't even know someone has had a chemical peel, they just seem a little dry. Best done in a series, once a month for a few months, chemical peels help turn over dull, dead skin and reveal fresh, glowing skin, improving acne, skin texture, skin tone, and fine lines and wrinkles.

For wrinkles, men get Botox too! Typically everyone wants to look natural but men even more so. They are worried someone will find out they got neurotoxins and that their face will look like a Ken doll. Usually a few units injected in the glabella to fix the "11's" between the brows is enough to take away that constantly angry face for those that have etched in these lines. Cosmetic injectable filler companies like Radiesse are even marketing towards men specifically, a nice sign that the times may be changing and that men are taking their skincare more seriously. 

Common Skincare Mistakes


Skincare can be very confusing. There are so many creams, toners, lasers, and prescriptions that it is hard to keep track of what your options are, and not always easy to even know if what you're doing is helping or hurting. But as confusing as skincare can be, the most common mistakes I see every day are the simplest to fix, and require nothing more than paying a little attention.

  • Overdrying Using over the counter acne washes (with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid) before prescription topical acne medications can often be too drying. This results in additional sebum (oil) production and causes irritation and flakiness. Often times a patient will stop using the prescription topicals, thinking their skin cannot handle them. Instead, I suggest using a gentle wash like Cerave, Cetaphil, or Neutrogena non-foaming hydrating washes, and your skin will be able to tolerate the prescription topicals much better.
  • Overusing | I often see patients overuse topical medications, believing they will work better or faster. For most topical acne meds, including retinoids (which are also anti-aging), a pea-size amount dabbed to the forehead, chin, and each cheek, then spread out evenly (avoiding creases of nose, corners of lips, and eyes) is the perfect amount. Any more than a small dab for the entire face does not increase efficacy, it just increases your risk for irritation.
  • Touching | Picking at your skin causes inflammation, long term hyperpigmentation (dark spots), and even scarring. The number one rule with acne is do not touch it! Nothing good comes from attempting to pop a pimple. Just think everytime you want to touch it, you are likely pushing the pimple deeper, causing additional inflammation, and increasing your risk for scarring, dark stains, or even infection. That blemish will also go away much faster if you don't "help it out." Visit your dermatologist for a cortisone injection or use a spot treatment to decrease the inflammation if you really can't wait. Otherwise, leave it alone!
  • Misusing | I find people sometimes do not use prescription topical medications as prescribed. It is important to use your acne medications as your medical provider instructs - if they say a medication works best when used twice a day, this is how you should use it. If the instructions say the medication is best used only once or twice a week, trust their judgment.
  • Underwashing | Get into the habit of washing your face twice a day. The day's (or night's) sweat, dirt, and environmental pollution is sitting on your skin, just waiting to cause problems. Never skip this step, no matter how tired you may feel.
  • Undermoisturizing | The idea that some people do not apply moisturizer because they are "oily" sort of makes sense. Except if you understand what is really going on. Dry, dehydrated skin compensates by overproducing oil, leading to breakouts. Moisturizing twice daily, immediately after washing, will keep your oil production in check, and you may realize you do not have an oily skin type after all.
  • Over-exfoliating | Using a beaded, or exfoliating, face wash as a daily cleanser strips away the protective skin barrier and natural oils. One to two times a week is plenty to brighten skin and prevent build up of dead skin cells. 
  • Order Matters | Not applying products in the correct order is a common skincare mistake. Apply products in order of consistency, with gels or serums going first and thicker creams last. Products that need to be absorbed, like serums or chemical sunscreens should always go first. Moisturizer, make-up, and physical blocking sunscreens should be the last thing applied.

The Importance of Hydration


With Memorial Day and (hopefully) summer weather around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to talk about hydration. Our skin is an organ, a part of our body that is vital to our overall function and health. Skin is also our largest organ, and is responsible for protecting our body from the outside world. Our skin is made up of nearly 64% water, meaning that if it is not properly hydrated, it can't function properly.

We usually look at things like tight, flaky, dry skin, redness, peeling, and wrinkles, and view them through a cosmetic eye. Damaged skin is considered ugly, and we do a lot of things to prevent or fix it like using a variety of creams, moisturizers, and even makeup to hide it. But what we view as a cosmetic blemish, is actually our body telling us that it is damaged and needs repairing. 

When I don't drink enough water my head starts to hurt and I feel tired. This is because other vital organs, like our brain and heart, require water to function. Our skin is the same way, although the damage is not always immediately apparent. 

We can hydrate our skin by applying good moisturizers that contain ceramides, which are naturally existing lipids that provide the barrier property of our skin.  When our skin is dry these moisturizers can help replace the ceramides that are lost.

Another key component of our skin matrix is hyaluronic acid which helps our skin retain moisture and supports tissue repair. Although many creams contain hyaluronic acid, and the term is often used in marketing, the molecule is actually too large to be absorbed and help plump skin topically. Research shows that foods high in soy isoflavones, like soy nuts, may increase the production of hyaluronic acid. Additionally, most dermal injectable fillers are made of hyaluronic acid to directly replace what we have lost over time as we age.

Drinking Water
Drinking sufficient water throughout the day is very important. It is recommended that we consume about 60-80 ounces of water a day to help cleanse our body of toxins and keep us hydrated. Frankly, the research has been going back and forth for a while, with one camp saying it's vitally important and the other saying it's worthless. But anecdotally, I know that when I drink the proper amount of water I am less prone to breakouts and my skin looks more radiant and plump, with less pronounced under-eye bags. 

This all makes sense because water is what the structures supporting our collagen (which is what keeps our skin looking firm and elastic, and is what makes up 75% of our skin) require. By drinking water, we are also keeping oil production on our skin at bay and preventing acne formation. If you're not a big drinker and your skin seems dry, I would absolutely recommend you start by drinking enough water and seeing if that helps. A trick to determine how much water you should be drinking daily is to drink half an ounce for every pound you weigh. 

Contributing Factors
But what if you drink plenty of water and use the right moisturizers but your skin is still dry? Things that contribute to dehydrated skin are long, hot showers, alcohol, caffeine, and smoking, and environmental factors like exposure to the sun, cold, and wind. Anything that makes you sweat and lose fluids causes dehydration too so you need to drink even more water to compensate if you are sweating in the sun or exercising.

Water is the best hydrating drink that you can consume, better than so-called sports drinks with fancy electrolytes that contain as many calories and sugar as soda. If you have a hard time drinking plain water like me, try adding fresh lemon juice or steeping some tea bags. Keep a refillable water bottle at your desk like my Nalgene to make it easy to grab and keep track of how much you're drinking. You probably won't see a dramatic difference overnight, but increasing your water intake to the recommended amount for a few weeks can show you how hydration affects your skin, and you'll be better for it!

What I Use - La Roche Posay Mineral Tinted


I've covered how I keep my body evenly tan without having to bake in the sun, and now it only makes sense to go over what I use for my face. I constantly preach the advantages of getting your daily SPF in your makeup and moisturizer, but up until now I haven't found anything that I love that is also tinted. And what if you're like me and don't like wearing too much makeup, therefore needing a solution for your face to match your (newly) gorgeously bronze body? 

My new favorite daily sunscreen is La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 50 Mineral Tinted which gives me the SPF, tint, and ant-aging properties I need, and the matte finish I love. This particular sunscreen has universal tint to match almost any skin color, and it's also water resistant, fragrance and paraben free, has antioxidants built in, and protects against UVA and UVB.

I love La Roche Posay sunscreens as it is, but the addition of the tint puts it over the top, making this my absolute go-to. You don't need to lie in the sun to get color, nor do you need to cake on makeup to hide pale skin!

What I Use - Xen-Tan Moroccan Weekly Tan


Some girls look amazing with pale, porcelain skin, but I've always felt like I looked best tan. And before working in dermatology, before I knew the risks associated with tanning, I would do it all the time. Summer days were spent laying out for hours on end, and winters were spent in tanning beds. I know better now, and I take every precaution I can to avoid overexposing my skin to UV radiation. I still like looking tan, though, which presents a pretty big problem. 

Sunless tanners have been around for a while and I've tried just about every one of them, so I can give firsthand testimony that my skin often ends up more streaked orange than evenly tan. And I have to make the compromise of either looking like a carrot or looking like I don't know what the outside is.

A few weeks ago a patient came into the office looking gorgeously tan and glowing, and just as I was beginning to tell her that she shouldn't be laying out in the sun, she told me that it was a sunless tanner! As soon as I got home I followed her recommendation and ordered a bottle of Xen-Tan Moroccan Weekly Tan, and a application mitt, and am now obsessed with it.


Every compromise I had to make in the past, whether that was a product that was too orange, too hard to apply, or too streaky, I don't have to make with the Xen-Tan. The only problem with it is that it's extremely quick drying, so you only want to apply a very small amount on the mitt and then immediately work it into one part of your body. If you let it sit for more than 5-10 seconds it will absorb and leave dark spots. If you're doing it at night, sleep in long pants and a shirt and then wash it off in the morning, although I haven't had any problem with stained clothing or sheets. What will be left is even, glowing skin. 

Another sunless option that I know people love is getting a spray tan, but the cost is often prohibitive and it's definitely not as convenient as just being able to do it at home yourself. I've had good luck with L'Oreal Sublime Bronze Tinted Tanning Lotion, which is a cheaper option than the Xen-Tan, but I don't find the results nearly as convincing. 

Good sunless tanners do exist. Xen-Tan works for me but I wouldn't be surprised if there are other products that offer great results. The one thing that you don't want to do is lay out in the sun to get the look, and now you don't have to! Let me know if there are any others I should check out!


Seasonal Allergies


Sometimes I wonder how much prettier spring would be without allergies. You know, being able to actually see and smell flowers without the interference of watery eyes and constant sneezing attacks. Unfortunately, across the U.S. so far this spring, pollen levels have been near, at, or above the highest ever recorded. Chicago, for example, just set a new Midwest record of 2,300 spores per cubic meter, topping a previously held record of 2,000 also set this season. To put that in perspective, for pollen levels to count as high they need to exceed only 200 spores per cubic meter!

I've personally had terrible seasonal allergies for as long as I can remember, so I'm well aware how bad this season has been. Many people, however, may be experiencing symptoms related to allergies but automatically assume that they are sick. It's estimated that upwards of 40 million people across the U.S. suffer from seasonal allergies but what many people don't realize is that you can develop allergies at any point in your life. I constantly hear from friends and colleagues that they "don't have allergies," yet their eyes are red, their throat is sore, and they can't stop sneezing. 

Seasonal allergies share many symptoms with the common cold, most notably red, watery, itchy eyes and nose, sore throat, sneezing, and even coughing. If you start experiencing these symptoms, but don't feel the aches, lethargy, and general crumminess that goes along with a cold, chances are you have allergies! Welcome to the club!


Those with allergies typically develop these symptoms around springtime or fall, but pollen counts remain high throughout the summer for varying types of pollen, whether that is tree, grass, or weed pollen. People with allergies also tend to have more itchiness-of the eyes, nose and throat than people with colds, and often rub their nose in an upward motion. 

Allergic reactions occur when our body identifies foreign bodies (like pollen) as harmful and creates IgE antibodies against them. The IgE attaches itself to the cells and releases histamine, causing inflammation and the allergy symptoms we experience. 

You may be thinking, "Danielle, this is Beauty + Bourbon, what does this have to do with my skin?!" Well, people that suffer from seasonal environmental allergies often have puffy, red eyes with more pronounced under-eye bags. You can also develop urticaria, or hives. Dying to itch? The skin around your eyes is the thinnest on your body, and is easily stretched and bruised by contact. Weeks of scratching and pulling will increase your chances of developing wrinkles, and itching anywhere on your body can cause or exacerbate already irritated skin, and lead to rashes and unsightly marks. 


The most effective thing that you can do is take an antihistamine, which will combat the symptoms of seasonal allergies and suppress hives. I personally use Zyrtec, which has come highly recommended to me by several physicians. Benadryl or prescription strength Hydroxyzine also works well, but these tend to cause drowsiness so I'd only recommend taking them at night.

You can also apply a topical cortisone cream which will help with inflammation and itchiness on your body. For your eyes, something as simple as artificial tears may provide relief but if your eyes are particularly bad you can find allergy-specific drops like Zaditor. Like with a cold, decongestants and nasal sprays can help with stuffy nose and sneezing. If your allergies are severe enough, weekly allergy shots can be a life saver during the high pollen seasons. 

General things to keep in mind include washing your hands immediately after being outside, and washing your face and eyes to help minimize the time the pollen sits on your skin. For red, puffy eyes, cool compresses can help bring down inflammation. And a common natural remedy is to swallow a spoonful of local honey every day, although I have yet to try it myself.  Close your windows whenever possible, and as unfortunate as it sounds, limit your exposure to the outside. 

Keep an eye on pollen counts to predict when you need to prepare for the worst and don't skip your antihistamine. Ultimately, though, it's SPRING, don't let your allergies ruin the best time of the year!