Times are changing and men are really embracing skin care rituals, beard care and even things as extreme as chemical peels. There are a few common questions relating to men and acids, so I am going to take a few minutes to answer those today.
Usually when I am asked if “men” can use that (most often by a woman looking to get something for her husband) – I respond with OF COURSE he can! … we all have skin… why couldn’t a man use that? And I stand by that answer – but with peels, since men do have some extra attributes, we want to address those separately so he too can get the best results ever.
Chemical peels can help to reduce acne, visible signs of aging, pigmentation and uneven skin tones. Another big benefit to those with facial hair is the fact that acids can help to reduce the frequency of ingrown hairs.
So with all those benefits, what are the top concerns and questions when dealing with skin of the male persuasion?
- A big concern is an unfounded one. The question being “If I do a chemical peel on my face will my facial hair stop growing?
- Understandably this is something that you want to know beforehand – and you can rest assured that NO, chemical peels will not stop or slow the growth of your beard or eye brows. You can use acids without concern in that manner.
- Next question is regarding shaving. “Can I shave prior to a chemical peel?”.
- The answer here is no. Shaving itself is a method of exfoliation. If you were to shave and then get a peel, your peel will be far more irritating, and will go deeper than you anticipated. Make sure to do your shaving at least 24 hours in advance of your peel. And be extra gentle as you are preparing for your upcoming application.
- Now, what if you are shaving in preparation for a peel the next day and you nick yourself? What do you do then… put it off?
- Not necessarily. As long as the wound is closed you can simply apply a barrier ointment like Vaseline or bacitracin on top of the cut and just avoid that area entirely with the acid and everything will be fine.
- Can I get a chemical peel if I have a beard?
- Technically yes. As long as your hair is very short the acid will be able to get under the hairs pretty evenly. I would suggest this mostly for a hydroxy acid such as glycolic, mandelic, lactic or salicylic. A layering acid that requires even application such as TCA or Jessners would not be a good option. You can certainly apply those to the other areas of your face – but I would avoid the beard area entirely. The next time you go for a clean shave will be the perfect time for a layered peel.
- Can I shave after a peel?
- For the most part it would be best to just live with a 5 o’clock shadow for a few days. But, if you are one that must be clean shaven, then your next best option would be an electric shaver. If that’s a no-go for you, then apply copious amounts of a thick shaving cream and shave very, very gently.
- Can I shave during the flaking?
- If you are doing a mild hydroxy peel any flakes will be small and very easy to deal with. Go ahead and get your skin nice and wet, use a lot of shaving cream and then again… very gentle strokes. Don’t try to get the cleanest shave of your life here. Just passable is what your goal needs to be.
- If you did a TCA or Jessners peel and you have larger sections of flakes – or long connected flakes..
- Then you need to use an electric razer or skip shaving entirely. The last thing you want to do is accidentally rip of some flakes that weren’t ready to come off and end up with red spots. I suggest instead that you use your fingertips, gently scrub over your face, and remove some of the hanging flakes. Now hydrate and wait another day. Once most of your skin is off you will be safe to shave again and get that clean look.
- One last question. This one is related to a favorite past time of many men – the gym or sports!
- We need you to avoid heavy sweating for at least a few days after your peels. What can happen is that sweat can get trapped under the layers of dead skin that are sitting there. This leads to bubbles – filled with sweat on your chest – face - …. Basically anywhere you performed the peel.
We find that once the skin is actively flaking well – this isn’t such a big deal… as the skin is going to come off quickly anyways …. but if you get sweat trapped under the skin before it is ready to start flaking, you can cause not only gross bubbles of sweat, but you can encourage your skin to separate before it is ready to…. and this can lead – worst case scenario here – to redness or Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation that could last several weeks or months. So be safe and do something that doesn’t cause sweating instead.
Those are really the only differences we have to worry about with men and chemical peels. If you want further information on how to apply peels, just visit our website and click on the Videos tab. We have FAQ’s and step by step tutorials to help you.
If you have any other questions regarding men and peels, Just reach out to us – we’re here to help you! Have a great day!