According to figures from research organisation IBISWorld, last financial year the men's grooming industry (excluding shaving products and deodorant) was worth between $150 and $200 million — and it’s expected to continue growing, with more visible marketing campaigns and continuing product development.
Brands such as Clinique, Nivea and L’Oréal have cashed in on today’s image-conscious male by releasing their own face-care ranges for men.
Anti-fatigue moisturisers, eye creams, exfoliants and even men’s make-up have appeared in department stores, with promises to deliver man-friendly results such as, "fit skin" and "skin that's in top shape".
Chris is a 26-year-old cabinet maker living in Sydney, and, like an increasing number of Australian men, he’s not ashamed to admit he has a daily grooming routine. "Every couple of days I use a face scrub, and I use a face wash pretty much morning and night; then I moisturise at least once a day," he says.
"Instead of men looking like backyard slobs, there are now a lot of men out there who want to look good," explains Chris. "We look good with a nice suit and shoes, and a nicely-moisturised face!"
Our sebaceous glands secrete sebum (an oily mixture of fats that maintains skin’s moisture), but sebum production slows as we age, which leads to dryer skin. A number of environmental factors, such as soaps, air conditioning, exposure to sunlight and hot showers can also lead to moisture loss.
Moisturising creams help restore the skin’s fat and moisture balance, working in the outer layer only by plumping up the dry cells with water and/or fats and slowing down the loss of moisture, so the skin looks soft and smooth.
Moisturisers can also reduce the appearance of wrinkles due to this plumping action, but they won’t slow the ageing process or penetrate the outer layer of the skin — no matter how impressive the claims on the bottle.
The most common cause of wrinkles is UV radiation from the sun’s rays. These break down the skin’s collagen and elastin, resulting in wrinkles. So applying a 30+ sunscreen to your face daily is the best defence against premature aging.
As far as men’s and women’s skin are concerned, there’s essentially no difference between them except for the fact that men have larger sebaceous glands. Men could quite happily use women’s moisturisers with no adverse effects — the fact is, they probably wouldn’t want to because of the smell, the packaging and the 'feel'.
When choosing a moisturiser, select one that's best for your skin. If you have an oily skin problem, use a product that doesn’t contain heavy oils or clog the pores, and for sensitive skin use a moisturiser that’s designed specifically for it, and that’s free of ingredients that can irritate, such as alcohol, lanolin and parabens.