Monday, July 9, 2007

Anthony, my new hero!

So, I usually consult women on how to care for their skin; however, a male friend has asked me to put together a regime for him. In doing so, I’m finding that men’s products (& the philosophies behind them) are completely different from women’s lines.

1) Lines seem more image oriented over performance.
2) Anti-aging eye cream for men is next to impossible to find
3) Almost all products, including night time serums relate back to shaving
4) Active ingredients are not stressed in marketing
5) Prices are much lower than women’s products of same quality level.

I visited 3 men’s lines counters at Bloomingdales the other day. I asked each sales associate, “So, what makes this men's line special?” (I was trying to find each line’s niche). Each time I received a generic reply of, “They're good. Men like them, and they seem to work.” There were no performance claims as in, “ these are loaded with anti-oxidants & have AHA’s & salycilic acid to help them exfoliate & prevent ingrown hairs”, “they are anti-aging & use peptides” or “the line is designed for men with sensitive skin”…none of it. They were just ‘good’ & men like them. Men must be an easy sell ;). I am not so easy, however…ever ;-).

So, I popped over to Sephora. I was taken to Anthony Logistics for Men (known as Anthony) , where the SA (short for Sales Associate) stated it was her favorite. When I asked why, she stated that these products were made of high-quality, mostly natural ingredients & that her son & boyfriend love this line. She also said that even women come in and buy it for themselves, because the of the quality of the products (is this the reverse of men wanting to use our Secret deodorant, ladies?) .

I have to say, as I have researched this line & checked out the ingredients of Anthony’s products, compared with the men’s lines of some of the department store lines, I felt that these products were really suited towards the serious needs/ concerns of men, as opposed to the other lines just trying to cash in on a general ‘mens’ niche.

Anthony seems to be ‘real’ skin care for men.

It is one of the only lines I found which actually puts an SPF (15) in their moisturizer (why would other lines put SPF in their women’s moisturizers & not in their men’s I’m wondering?). This line uses proven ingredients such as glycolic acid, sea algae, anti-oxidants, green tea, shea butter, caffeine (by the way, in an article I read somewhere..can’t remember where…it stated that caffeine has been proven to improve men’s skin while it does nothing for women), aloe, etc.

Anthony also has anti-aging products in their line, which are almost impossible to find in men’s skin care. I still can’t understand this, as most men I know are just as concerned about wrinkles as the women I know. In fact, Anthony has one of the only anti-aging men’s eye creams I could find. Half of men’s lines don’t even have an eye cream , & most men’s eye creams on the market only address puffiness & dark circles. Are all you men out there not sleeping at night? And why aren’t you insisting on ingredients which help prevent (more) wrinkles from showing up? Grey hair is one thing, but wrinkles are the same on men and women…they just make us look older, not more sophisticated.

All Anthony products scored less than a 4 on the Skin Deep (see my post from 7/4/07) ‘danger’ scale as well. Bravo!

Oh, and did I mention that the company donates a portion of their profits to charity to help fight against prostrate cancer? Great work, Anthony! Even more incentive to purchase from companies that give back, folks!

And check out his Little Men product so that little boys can be just like Dad: . I'd love to see him add some kind of non-harmful, good for little boys' skin, shaving cream with a plastic, dull edge 'razor' so that little boys could 'shave' with Dad too :). Wouldn't that be a great father's day gift...a kit that had shave creams, razors , and after shave balm for both?? :-) ...maybe even a cleanser too, but I don't want to push anything ;).

Any of you men out there need more advice? I'm becoming a bonafied, self-proclaimed expert on the men's skin care industry as least all of the knowledgable sales associates at Sephora & Barneys think so. As for the SAs at Bloomies, well.... they didn't seem to like it when I showed to have more men's skin care knowledge than they did.

Anthony, I salute you for addressing the real skin needs of men! And, dude, I don't know how old you are, but in your picture on your website,, you look like you are 20. If you are anywhere near 40, I'll start using your products myself ;-).


Saule Cogneur said...

I recently discovered and rather enjoy your blog. I have a couple questions. If you have time and interest, I’d love to hear what you have to say. If not, no worries, keep up the good work.

My face is fairly oily, and I’ve been dealing with blackhead problems on my nose for years. I wash my face every morning and night and I’ve tried about every cleanser/scrub out there. A dermatologist even gave me Differen Gel which I used for a year and a half but to no avail. I’ve recently decided to try a more rigorous routine involving toner and moisturizer. Here are my questions:

1. What do you recommend for blackhead removal? I’ve never found the Biore strips to be thorough enough, but individually removing blackheads can be a bit rough on my skin.

2. Cleansers and toners often contain alpha or beta hydroxy acids, is one preferable to the other for keeping pores clean.

3. How often should I clean my face? It seems that too much cleaning could do more harm than good, but I don’t know for sure.

Thanks a lot - Mike

SkinWench said...

Hi, Mike!
Thanks for your post & for your compliment! I’m sure you love my lipstick & lipgloss posts huh? I hope if you enjoy my blog that you’ll tell your friends about it too. Promoting good skin care to as many people as possible is what I’m all about!(Especially to men who usually think, "rinsing my face with water is my version of skin care" :) )

Ok, you have a few questions, and I have a few answers; so let’s take this one step at a time… grab a beer (or a margarita, or, better for your skin, a glass of mineral water), sit back & take notes (or simply click on the printer icon ;) ):

1. First of all, adding toner & cleanser into your regime is a wonderful overall move & can never hurt. You just want to be sure you are using the right ones…otherwise, you could be adding oils to your skin that will worsen the problems.. and don’t forget eye cream (an essential no matter what your age..remember an ounce of prevention...).

2. What is a blackhead? (Just so you know, in case you didn’t, as I think to fix the problem, you have to understand what the problem is) Sebum is the material our bodies produce to keep our skin (& hair) moisturized. Blackheads are pores that have a wider than normal opening and get a buildup of sebum, toxins & dead skin inside them. This buildup then oxidizes & becomes black. (Whiteheads are the same thing, except that the pore opening is so small that not enough oxygen can get in for the oxidation process to occur, so it is still white.)

3. Re Cleansing---
a. yes, washing your skin too much can disrupt your skin more than help. (See my post on pH balance of the skin..I really wish I knew how to link to it for you). I recommend twice a day, once in the morning & once at night is appropriate for all skin types. (however, if you work out, I suggest washing after your workout so that sweat doesn’t aggrevate the problem….but still try to keep it to 2 times a day if possible.

b. You might want to try using a scrub in place of a cleanser once a day, but I’d suggest testing once a day vs. once every other day to see if it makes a difference. Scrubbing too much will affect oil production more than washing as it stimulates/aggrevates oil glands. However, testing the reaction of your skin to the difference in time between scrubbings can be important..we are all different & what might be right for one, might be wrong for the other..even when we have the same types of skin (which, by the way, my skin is T-zone, & I’m only ever oily in the summer)

c. for a deeper clean, you might try putting your cleanser on your face first thing in the shower, and leaving it on for a few minutes while you wash your hair, cleanse the rest of your body, etc. The usual 20-30 seconds (or less) we spend cleansing our faces usually isn’t enough to remove all debris

d. Facial mask—have you ever tried a mask? There are many great deep-cleansing masks out there. I’ve listed my favorite below under ‘What to use’. Masks should be used on cleansed/toned skin

e. Professional Facials---Have you ever had a professional facial? Estheticians can do extractions (removing the blackheads) as well as use professional strength treatments on your skin…not to mention they offer up loads of free advice. I still learn something new almost every time I go for a facial. I don’t know where you are, but men’s spas are popping up allover. Men are becoming a much larger percentage of the clientelle in regular day spas as well. I highly recommend professional facials on a regular basis for both men & women. They are well worth the money. Even if u can only afford to do it once a year.

4. Alpha vs. Beta Hydroxy Acids--- just so you know, neither of these are cleansers, they are exfoliants. Clearing dead skin is important, as it can sit on top of skin & clog pores.

a. AHAs are exfoliants derived from fruit & milk sugars… they are enzymatic exfoliants as opposed to a scrub. They help eliminate dead skin (which does help oil buildup from getting clogged beneath dead skin, but it does not help in oil production.

b. BHAs, such as salicylic acid, are exfoliants as well, but are oil based. If you go back to science class (or the last time you made salad dressing) water & oil (or vinegar & oil) don’t mix. Believe it or not to get into the pore & pull out what’s in there, you actually need an oil, not water. That sounds strange, right? Well, it’s true.. oil attracts oil, oil repels water. So,no matter how far water might go into your pore, it’s coming out by itself..leaving the oil still in there. When oil goes into you pore, it grabs on to what is in there (old dead skin/oil build up and pulls it out). Therefore, BHA’s are actually better for oil-prone skin.

Kanebo has a great line that is designed around this premise

5. Diet—you might want to take a look at your diet. Believe it or not, we really are what we eat & so is our skin. If you eat a lot of fried or fatty foods, it comes out through your skin. (We excrete toxins through our skin). I even find that I break out a lot after intaking a lot of sugar. You might want to cut back on these & see if it makes a difference in your skin. I think you will see it does.

6. What to use:

A. Lush ( --- Have you ever tried Lush? These are mostly natural, all hand-made products. The company started in the U.K., but the products for North America are made in Canada. They have stores allover Canada & the U.S. & are constantly adding more. These are fresh products, and do not have long shelf lives… it will probably last you no more than a few months (longer if you keep all or part of it in the fridge) but are well worth the purchase. They are also much more reasonable in price than many skin care products.

1 ) Mask of Magnaminty—this takes ALL of my blackheads away. It does the best job of anything I’ve ever found. Now, note that my blackheads are minor, but are definitely visible to me on my chin, nose & forehead… after this mask, I couldn’t find even 1.

2) Herbalism is a deep-cleansing kaolin clay based cleanser & is fantastic for oily skin. (I use Angels on Bare Skin (a milder version), which is the most my skin can take.) They tried to discontinue this once, but so many people swear by it, that there was an uproar & it was brought back.

3) Ocean Salt is a salt scrub for face (I use it on my body as well)—this shouldn’t be used more than once a day.

4) Enzymion Moisturizer is also supposed to be great on oily skin. Lush makes some high quality moisturizers, and this one should be no different.

B. Dermatologica Pre-Cleanse ---is one of those oil-based cleansers we discussed, but when cleansing with an oil-based cleanser, you always want to follow with another cleanser afterwards (making cleansing a 2 step process, but it will help get the oil out).

C. Men’s Science, ---This is a new line of men’s products which are made with high quality (pharmaceutical grade) active ingredients & are known as androceuticals (andro meaning for men). While I’m not a man & haven’t tried these myself, I can say that after reviewing their product ingredients, I’m very impressed with them & think Men’s Science & Anthony are the 2 best lines out there as far as quality & ingredients. Their Microfine Face Scrub & their Acne Therapy Lotion sound like winners to me.The company also offers a 90-day, money-back, guarantee. They are only available online or at Barney’s in New York City. (If you pay me enough, I might be able to go get you samples ;-) ).

D. Facial Blotting Papers--- If you need to clear away oil during the day, try the blotting papers which are now available by the roll, so you can tear off any size you need. I use these from Nurturing Force, You can keep them in your desk, gym bag and car..or even in a coat pocket if necessary.

7. What not to do--- ok, do as I say, and not as I do…. Do NOT squeeze your blackheads yourself. This will not only aggrevate your skin & leave you temporary bright pink spots wherever you have squeezed, but it is damaging to the can even develop little ‘scars’ from doing this too much…especially if you use your nails (which is the all time no-not I must say that I grew up watching my mother sit on my father’s lap & lovingly pick/squeeze his blackheads….which is the reason for my biggest skin care guilt/ secret: my great love of squeezing my own & other’s (not strangers’) blackheads to see how much gook (my very scientific name for it) will come out. Any man who’s ever been involved with me knows that I derive great pleasure from & can spend hours pouring (no pun intended) over his back on a ‘search & destroy’ mission for blackheads…and God forbid he have a big one anywhere on his face, I cannot let it go. I must squeeze. My girlfriends all think I’m whacked! Oh how sad is this illness of mine?? And it’s not good for the skin! So, despite all desires, use self control & do not pick or squeeze! Oh the joys of abstinence! LOL! (Now if only I could follow my own advice!)

Ok, I think I’ve answered all of your questions.

So, Mike, I’m interested what products you have tried & didn’t work. I’m also curious what has worked best for you up until now.

Also, as for the product your doctor gave you that worked for 1 ½ years… our skin needs a change every once in awhile. Sometimes, we use something for so long, our skin gets used to it (almost like it builds up a tolerance to the products). We need shake things up every so often & introduce new products/ingredients. Switching back & forth (every few months or every year, etc) can keep skin behaving better.

Ok, I’ve now written a book for you should have been through a couple of beers by now…or have nodded off to sleep (hopefully having cleaned & moisturized your face first).

Let me know if there’s anything else I can answer for you. And let me know if you try any of the above products, & if they work for you or not.