Beauty is skin deep, so goes the old adage. While we’re not sure if that’s accurate or not, we do know that your skin’s health plays a huge part in your physical attractiveness. Soft, smooth and radiant skin is not only pleasing to the eyes – it also subliminally tells women that you’re in good health and would make a good biological partner.
When we’re younger, men can put almost no effort into maintaining good skin and it wouldn’t matter. Proper hygiene and regular facial washes are usually enough for most Pinoys to maintain a decent glow. As we grow older, aging, exposure to the elements and unhealthy lifestyle choices start taking their respective tolls. Before you know it, you’re not looking as sharp as you’re left to wonder why the ladies no longer come on to you like they once did.
If you can’t put a finger on what’s causing the drop-off in your looks, take a good look at your skin next time you’re in front of a mirror. It could be one or more of these conditions that are making you look less guwapo than you actually are:
1. Flat Warts
Flat warts are small, flat and flesh-colored growths that usually appear on the face, neck and chest. While they don’t look quite as awful as big warts that grow on hands or feet, they tend to grow in much larger numbers. This means that they may not be very noticeable individually but they can diminish your overall skin quality if they’re left unchecked.
Flat warts are caused by the human papillomavirus. They’re believed by pathologists to enter the human body through damaged skin, finding their way to various parts as they multiply. Fortunately, the wart virus poses no serious health risks and does not produce other symptoms.
In large numbers, flat warts can make the facial skin look rough and uneven. Dermatologists use a variety of medications to treat this condition. A common one is through salicylic acid and keratolytic chemicals which peel away dead skin, taking the flat warts along with it.
Another common flat wart treatment that many dermatologists in the Philippines recommend is cauterization. This is the incineration of the flat wart at the base to remove it and discourage re-growth for long periods of time. The incineration involves electricity applied precisely in the warts while patient discomfort is minimized by topical anesthetics. At the hands of a qualified professional, the procedure will cause some short term scarring but you should be able to heal in a matter of days and regain most, if not all, of the smoothness of your facial skin.
2. Dry Skin (dermatitis)
Dry skin is among the most common skin conditions which can cause significant discomfort while eroding your skin’s natural beauty. Characterized by reddening, darkening, flaking or scaling, it has many different causes. In severe cases, dry skin can even result in the cracking of skin and the appearance of fine lines. If left untreated, dry skin can make you look a decade older than you actually are.
For most people, skin can dry up due to dry weather or exposure to certain chemicals. Some people have naturally dry skin which produces little oil while others experience the drying of skin precisely because of excessive oil production. In rarer cases, allergic reactions can also trigger spells of dermatitis.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to treat and prevent dry skin. These include:
- Applying Moisturizer. Safe, affordable and easy to apply, moisturizer is one of the greatest skin care products science has ever gifted us with. Simply apply ample amounts to your face and other affected areas after washing with gentle, upward massaging motions and your dry skin should be relieved within hours or days.
- Use Mild Soaps. Some soaps contain chemicals that may dry your skin. If you’re using moisturizer regularly but are still experiencing skin dryness, there could be something you’re using that’s triggering it. If you suspect that it might be your soap, switch temporarily to a gentler one and see if it makes a difference.
- Use Ointments. A lot of people use lotion on their arms and legs to address drying and scaling. While this may be effective to some, other folks may not be as fortunate. If lotion isn’t doing the job for you, try ointments for dry skin. Dermatologists recommend going this route thanks to its higher success rate compared to most commonly used lotion brands.
- Avoid Strong Detergents for Your Clothes. You may not realize it, but the detergent you use in washing your clothes may contain strong chemicals that can inflict dry spells on your skin. If you’re already using moisturizer and you’ve made the switch to gentler soaps and the desired results haven’t been achieved, it might be time to do the same to the detergent that you use.
- Get Tested for Fabric Allergies. Allergic reactions can also result in the reddening and drying of skin. Some people may not be aware of it, but the type of fabric on the clothes they use might be the culprit. Since cloths are made of a variety of plant-derived fibers, there’s a chance that the raw materials used might be irritating your skin. Try to think back to the days when your dry skin flares up and see if there’s something in common with the clothes you wore that day. If something seems suspicious, consult your doctor on possible allergy tests for fabrics.
- Use Area Humidifiers. The air in your home or workplace might be too dry due to your air conditioning system blowing air with low levels of humidity. This robs you of ambient water vapor, leaving your skin dry and flaky after extended periods of time.
Some AC systems have a setting where the machine automatically humidifies the air it releases. If that feature isn’t available, you may want to get an indoor humidifier to deal with the issue.
If none of these simple fixes and treatments work, the next step is to consult your dermatologist.
Acne is a skin condition that results in the appearance of red pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and even pus-filled bumps in large numbers across the face, neck and back. While it’s common to deal with acne during adolescence, some people’s acne woes can persist throughout the rest of their lives.
The condition stems from the blockage of hair follicles with oil and dead cells. When this happens, bumps for, dirt may accumulate and bacterial infections may even set in. The result is usually not pretty as having acne makes you look less clean and healthy than you actually are.
Contrary to popular belief, dirty skin isn’t really correlated with the occurrence of acne. In fact, overdoing your facial cleaning regiment may actually expose you to greater acne risks. Dermatologists say that the overproduction of oil, high androgen activity and other risk factors such as stress, genetics and exposure to oily substances.
Common treatments include topical medications such including retinols, Salicylic acid, dapsone and even antibiotics in the event that the acne involves bacterial growth. Although not as common as topical remedies, doctors may also prescribe oral medications such as anti-androgen agents, antibiotics, Isotretinoin and more. A host of therapies may also be recommended including the use of steroid injections.
Also known as atopic dermatitis, Eczema is a skin condition where patches of skin redden, swell, crack or even blister. Not only does the condition cause serious discomfort, it’s also rather unsightly. Skin tends to lose its natural color and it makes you look to other people like you’ve got a serious illness even if you’re in good health.
Like acne, Eczema isn’t caused by poor hygiene or infections. It’s mostly a result of genetics and the abnormal workings of your immune system. Environmental factors and stress may also increase risks of outbreaks but the main culprit is always how your body is wired.
Eczema symptoms may be relieved by common skin care products such as moisturizers and corticosteroids which are ointments that fight inflammation. In more persistent cases, antihistamines and pimecrolimus may also be prescribed.
5. Razor Burn
A lot of Pinoy men know exactly what razor burn is without being aware that it has a name. This condition is the hot and tender sensation you get after shaving your facial hair. In some cases, it can redden the areas where you shaved. Small, red bumps may also appear, making your facial skin less than perfect-looking.
Fortunately, razor burns are relatively easy to treat. The discomfort can be soothed with avocado oil which has a cooling effect. If dryness occurs, moisturizers and aftershave will certainly help. If you experience any inflammation or small bumps, creams with hydrocortisone will do the trick.
When shaving, it’s important to put just the right amount of pressure on the skin. Using quality shaving equipment as well as shaving cream will also reduce the chances of getting razor burns.
The Philippines is a tropical country (duh) and even when you’re out on the beach during the summer months, you can still get sunburns after prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. As you probably know by now, sunburnt skin doesn’t have a glow to it, making you look less than fresh in the eyes of other people.
Sunburns can cause reddening, discomfort and even blisters in extreme cases. Putting on sunscreen is always a good idea. If getting sunburned can’t be helped, you can soothe the discomfort by applying lotions that contain aloe vera oils. Applying moisturizer also helps minimize flaking and scaling.
Avoid scratching your skin when the burns start to heal and flake. You should also drink plenty of water and natural fruit juices to make sure your skin is properly hydrated.
7. Dark Under-Eye Circles
Very few skin conditions can make a guy look haggard the way that dark under eye circles can. These appear when tissue and blood vessels in the skin right below the eye sockets are emphasized, adopting a darker tone than the rest of the facial skin. When you have dark under eye circles, the best you’ll look to other people is fatigued. At worst, it can make you look like you’re ready to be an extra in the next zombie apocalypse movie.
Preventing dark circles from appearing under your eyes is as easy as it is intuitive: get sufficient, high-quality sleep. This prevents the buildup of the hormone cortisol in your body and allows the under eye tissues and muscles to relax. This helps normalize the position of the blood vessels, making them less obvious than they would when you’re sleep-deprived.
If good sleep doesn’t get you the desired results, you can take the next step and use topical eye creams. These products are especially formulated to address hyperpigmentation under the eyes. Just make sure your skin isn’t too sensitive to ingredients such as retinoids, alpha hydroxyl acids, and vitamin C which may irritate and dry the skin.
Under eye patches and masks are also available and require no prescriptions. Simply place them over your eyes while you sleep and you should wake up looking better and feeling rejuvenated. Additionally, make it a habit to apply moisturizer under your eyes to maintain skin’s health and radiance in that area.
Of all the possible skin conditions adult Filipinos can have, wrinkles are the most closely linked to aging. In our youth, lines only appear when we make certain expressions and our face muscles contort. As we grow older, ridges, creases and fine lines start to become more abundant and omnipresent. In bad cases, people in their mid-20’s can start seeing facial lines that don’t seem to go away, making them look up to a decade older than their biological ages.
While it’s perfectly normal to get wrinkles as we advance in age, there are plenty of risk factors that can hasten and amplify its effects. These include heavy exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, constant mental and emotional stress, smoking, and other unhealthy lifestyle choices. Studies have shown that people who are constantly exposed to one or more of these risk factors tend to show signs of premature aging than the average person.
While we can’t fend off wrinkling forever, we can do a lot to slow it down and minimize its aesthetic effects. People who take good care of themselves have been proven to maintain their youthful appearances well into their 50’s. Regular use of sunscreen, habitual moisturizer application, getting enough sleep, eating healthy food and not smoking are all essential steps in wrinkle prevention.
And these are the eight most common skin conditions that make Filipino men less guwapo than they actually are. Keep in mind that a little awareness and some personal care habits can go a long way. Taking care of yourself shouldn’t be confused with vanity. Doing this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re metrosexual or less of an alpha male mthan what you fancy yourself to be. It only means that you’re well-informed and you care enough about how you present yourself to other people.