Spots, Sweat & Back Hair: Experts Answer Your Most Embarrassing Male Grooming Questions
Male grooming may seem as though it’s been around forever but in reality, anything more advanced than brushing teeth or occasionally nipping down the barber’s for a five quid short back and sides is still relatively new territory.
In fact, a lot of blokes are still sheepish about admitting that they spend any time in front of the mirror at all, so it stands to reason that they’re not likely to be found screaming from the rooftops at the local waxing salon about their most intimate grooming conundrums.
But there’s no need to suffer in silence anymore. We’ve spoken to the experts and asked them the most embarrassing male grooming questions so that you get to retain your dignity.
Question: Why have I been cursed with ‘bacne’ and how can I banish it?
There’s only one thing worse than spots on your face and that’s spots on your back. Back acne is a cruel affliction affecting men of all ages, shapes and sizes. It’s unsightly and it can be painful. But on the plus side, it can be fixed.
Answer: “Cleanse your skin thoroughly in the shower every day…look for a shower gel or body wash containing the ingredient salicylic acid, glycolic acid or lactic acid,” says Dr. Justine Kluk, London’s go-to Consultant Dermatologist for acne and acne scarring.
“Use an exfoliating scrub in the shower 2 or 3 days a week to prevent dead skin cells from building up and blocking your pores and apply a moisturiser to soothe and repair your skin barrier, but make sure that any products you leave on your skin are labelled “non-comedogenic” meaning they won’t clog your pores.”
In addition, Dr. Kluk advises bacne sufferers to shower immediately after exercise, avoid picking at problem areas and, if issues persist, speak to a dermatologist.
Question: Why do I sweat so much?
When you’ve got an important interview/date/whatever, the last thing you want is for your seemingly calm, cool exterior to be shattered by a damp handshake or a sweaty forehead. Sadly though, this is something that sufferers of hyperhidrosis (or excess sweating to you and I) have to put up with on a daily basis. So what can you do when the dreaded sweat strikes?
Answer: “We sweat because our autonomic nervous system (ANS), which regulates key bodily processes, sends messages to the sweat glands to produce sweat,” explains Dr Adam Friedmann, consultant dermatologist at The Harley Street Dermatology Clinic.
“Thyroid disease, hormone problems and some drugs, such as antidepressants, can also cause hyperhidrosis.
“It can be treated with anticholinergic drugs or by paralysing sweat glands with botox injections. There is also a new machine available that uses microwave technology to permanently destroy armpit disease, although it is pricey. There are also topical antiperspirants that can be used.”
Question: Why is my face so shiny and how can I fix it?
It’s never a great look when your dial is so reflective it could give the mirror you’re staring into a run for its money. It’s a common problem that many men would rather quietly put up with than discuss with another living person, but there are things you can do to fix it.
Answer: “Our faces get shiny due to excess oil production from our sebaceous glands. It can seem to get worse as the day goes on,” explains a spokesperson for the British Association of Dermatologists. “This is usually because most people cleanse their face in the morning, and exercise and warm environments can make the problem worse.
“Re-cleansing through the day, and wearing non-greasy moisturisers or makeup can help reduce the shine.”
Question: Should I be doing anything to groom my eyebrows? If so, what?
As a man, you should take care to make sure you never overstep the mark with your eyebrow grooming routine, but if you’re cursed with brows so bushy they could put Tom Selleck’s moustache out of a job, it’s probably wise to give them some attention.
Answer: “Monobrows are a thing of the past,” explains Bora Esen, grooming expert and founder of Porters Barbers in London. “There are now many methods available for gents to maintain their eyebrows.
“At Porters Barbers we recommend threading (the process of using a thin cotton thread to roll over and pluck out unwanted hairs) as the most effective way. Once it’s done it should last about 4 weeks and the hair grows back finer. If you want to maintain them at home, just simply trim them down using a a small comb and trimmers to instantly reduce the bushy look, followed by plucking the middle.”
Question: Should I be shaving my nuts?
That seventies porn star look died the death for a reason. There’s a new climate now and massive, bushy pubes are not a part of it.
Answer: “It is now an expectation that at the very least men are neat ‘down there’,” says Bharat Parmar, owner of Genco Male Grooming in London. “How far to go is personal preference. For most, a trimmed and neat looking pubic area will suffice. It isn’t easy to do it yourself … more common is to have the area waxed and there has even been a call for Manzillians (no scrotal hair but a neat landing strip above) or Hollywood (no pubic hair at all).
“Using a razor yourself is not recommended as a safety razor will not pull the hair from the root. This leaves a small part of the hair beneath the skin which then increases the chances of bumps from in-growing hairs which will then result in razor bumps forming in areas where they really shouldn’t be seen.”
That, and you could end up with a nicked nutsack, which isn’t something anyone wants to have to explain to the A&E nurse.
Question: Is there a right way to pop a spot?
Waking up on the morning of an important event, only to look in the mirror and notice you’ve got a spot that resembles a conjoined twin on the end of your nose is far from ideal. When this happens it can be tempting to give it a squeeze and hope for the best, but doing that could just make a bad situation worse.
Answer: “Popping a spot is never advised as it increases the risk of scarring,” says a spokesperson from the British Association of Dermatologists. “So try to avoid the temptation.
“It is best to use a targeted acne treatment from a pharmacist or healthcare provider. If you need a quick fix then covering the spot using skin camouflage or makeup is best.”
Question: Why do I get razor bumps and is there an effective way to get rid of them/prevent them?
If you’re all about a clean shave you’ll no doubt be familiar with the issue of razor bumps. These little red spots can be painful, itchy and they really don’t look good. However, with a few alterations to your shaving routine, you can kiss them goodbye once and for all.
Answer: “Razor bumps are a type of skin irritation and commonly caused after dry shaving, at times resulting in ingrowing hairs,” Explains Esen of Porters Barbers. The best way prevent [them] and ingrown hair is to prep the skin properly before shaving. Make sure your first shave is always with the grain – if you do not suffer from irritation then you can do a second shave against the grain which results in a very close shave.
“Exfoliating the skin once a week with a non-abrasive scrub will help lift ingrowing hairs and prevent them turning into spots. Finally make sure you use a clean blade, single blades are always better and result in a closer shave.”
Question: Hairy back. What are my options?
“Why’s that man wearing a jumper on the bea…oh”. A hairy back is natural, but if corporations can tear down entire forests to manufacture throwaway product then you can go against nature too.
Answer: “The fashion today is definitely no hair at all, so waxing is more common,” explains Pauline Watton, head of waxing at Genco Male Grooming in London. “As we are dealing with large areas of coverage really strip wax is the best method. The treatment lasts for about 30 mins – 45 mins dependent on the amount of coverage and density of the hair, and the regrowth is about 4-6 weeks.
“The other option is laser hair reduction. This can be expensive as it will require numerous visits to get all the hair off the back, but once it is gone it is gone. However, new hair follicles can grow over a 1-3 year period which would need to be topped up with a few laser sessions to maintain the hair-free look.”