Smooth Moves: Six Steps to a Sexy Shave

You’re a guy. A sports team gets your attention -- not your facial skin. But here’s a news flash: If you want to look good, you’ve got to deal with your skin.

Quiz: How Healthy Is Your Skin?

“If men want to keep skin youthful and healthy looking, they’ve got to make skin care a part of their daily regimen,” says Mathew Avram, MD, JD, director of the Dermatology, Laser and Cosmetic Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. He’s also a faculty member at Harvard Medical School.

Sun and smoking are your face’s worst enemies because both cause skin damage and wrinkling. “If you smoke, quit,” Avram tells WebMD. “Using a moisturizer with sunblock is a very effective way to prevent aging and wrinkling.”

Getting a great shave is also the key to healthy skin. Following these six steps will ensure you get a smooth, silky shave:

--Shave in a warm shower, or carefully put a hot, wet towel over your face for a few minutes before shaving.

--Massage shaving cream or gels into skin.

--Don’t shave too close. Use single-edged razors to protect skin from irritation. You’ll also reduce potential for ingrown hairs -- especially if your beard is curly.

--Shave only in one direction if you tend to get ingrown hairs. Shave in the direction of hair growth.

--Wash with plenty of water. Pat gently with a towel; don’t rub.

--Apply moisturizing cream (containing sunblock) to soothe and protect the skin.

For Men: How to Get a Close Shave

Though shaving is the extent of most men's skin care regimen, it's really only the beginning. Male skin can be prone to dryness and acne, and suffers the affects of the sun and aging, just as women's skin does, and therefore needs to be cared for as well. Here are some additional tips men can follow for healthy (manly) skin.

A Checklist for Great Guy Skin

Choosing skin products:

--Think “moisturizer” when buying soaps -- body and hand soaps, that is. -Buy a face moisturizer that contains sunblock or sunscreen. If you’ve got dry skin, buy a light moisturizing body lotion for summer. During winter months, buy heavier moisturizing creams or ointments. If dry skin is really a problem, thicker and greasier is better. Always use a good sunscreen outdoors (SPF 15 or higher).

--Preventing dry skin: Take lukewarm showers (instead of hot ones). Limit shower time to 5 or 10 minutes. Apply moisturizing lotion right after drying from the shower. Moisturize after washing hands.

--Controlling acne: Using a prescription retinol treatment like Retin-A, Renova, Tazorac, Avita, or Differin at night can make skin less prone to breakouts. Daily use of an antibiotic cream or benzoyl peroxide wash or gel can also help.

Skin Care for Acne-Prone Skin

By Jeanie Lerche Davis, reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD

SOURCES: Mathew Avram, MD, JD, director, Dermatology, Laser and Cosmetic Center, Massachusetts General Hospital; faculty member, Harvard Medical School. WebMD Medical Reference provided in collaboration with The Cleveland Clinic: "Cosmetic Procedures: Skin Care for Dry Skin." WebMD Daily Dose: "Soothe Dry Skin." WebMD Feature: “Getting a Close Shave.” WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise: "Topical Retinoid Medications for Acne." WebMD Medical Reference provided in collaboration with The Cleveland Clinic: "Protecting Your Skin." American Academy of Dermatology: “Causes of Aging Skin.”