Illustration for article titled How Soap, Sun, and Showers Can Stress Your Skin (and How to Fight Back)

While some men are under the impression that body lotion is part of a high-maintenance beauty routine, every human with skin needs lotion to protect themselves from the elements. Studio@Gawker enlisted Nick Burns, men's grooming expert and co-author of The Bearded Gentleman: The Style Guide to Shaving Face, to drop some knowledge on the importance of a proper skincare routine.


If your skincare regimen consists of splashing some water on your face in the morning and heading out the door, it's time to rethink your routine and start showing your skin some love. It's not enough to just moisturize your face after shaving while ignoring the fact that the rest of your body also happens to be covered in skin. Luckily, small tweaks to your routine and simple products like Vaseline Men Fast Absorbing Spray Lotion make it easy to give your skin the TLC it needs. Here are the elements that pose a threat to your skin — and how you can combat them.

Skin-Stripping Hot Showers

After a tough workout, a hot shower or soak might sound like a great way to relax and recover. After all, soaking in water is about as hydrating as you can get, right? Wrong. Hot water washes away more than your muscle aches and sweat. It can strip the oily lipids from you skin that help it retain its moisture. The longer your shower, the more moisture you'll wash away.


How to protect your skin: Each time you shower, don't dial up the heat — especially in the winter. Instead, choose a warm temperature and keep it short — about five to 10 minutes. Pat yourself dry with a towel (don't rub) and use a moisturizing lotion on your entire body — while your skin is still moist — to lock in the moisture from the shower. Vaseline Men Fast Absorbing Spray Lotion contains humectant glycerin, which attracts water from the environment and the deeper layers of your skin to hydrate its outer layers. It's also fast to apply and absorbs in 10 seconds or less (with a few rubs), without leaving you feeling sticky or greasy.

Dehydrating Summer Heat

How your skin reacts to spring and summer heat is probably not a mystery to you: it pumps out sweat and oil. While warm air is more humid than cold air, don't be fooled. Your skin can still be dehydrated. The sun's ultraviolet rays are stripping your skin of moisture in the outermost layer of your skin, the stratum corneum. Sunburned skin is particularly parched. Even if you don't get a sunburn, frequent sun exposure can cause discoloration, rough patches, broken capillaries and skin cancer.


How to protect your skin: Wear sunscreen every day and replace lost moisture with a soothing, non-greasy moisturizer — especially if you're sunburned. Choose a formula that contains ingredients that soothe your skin, like Vaseline Men Fast Cooling Spray Lotion. It contains refreshing menthol to help cool down overheated skin, while glycerin helps draw moisture to parched outer layers. If you want to take the sting out of a sunburn, pop a dose of anti-inflammatory ibuprofen.

Harsh Antibacterial Soaps

The world is a filthy place, which is why we rely on soap so heavily. But as important as soaps can be, they can also dehydrate the skin, weakening the skin barrier that helps your skin seal in moisture. Some soaps can also disrupt the protective acid mantle — a thin layer of fluid on the skin's surface. Made from a cocktail of your body's natural oils, sweat, and some friendly bacteria (Staphylococcus epidermis), the acid mantle maintains a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. Meanwhile, traditional soaps have an alkaline pH (9-10). Disruption of the skin's natural barriers can leave your skin vulnerable to aggressors, resulting in dryness, flaking and roughness.


How to protect your skin: Consider using a body wash that is pH-neutral or closer to the pH of your skin. If your skin is dry, you may want to avoid abrasive sponges and loofahs that can further irritate your skin and scrub away good oils. After every shower, use a gentle moisturizer to help heal any dryness.

Moisture-Sucking Cold Weather

If you thought your skin would get a break once the weather cools down, think again. Whether you're stuck in a polar vortex, snowboarding in the mountains, or just commuting to the office on a particularly miserable day, your skin is no match for the cold — and your clothes don't provide total protection either. When humidity drops below 30% and the temperatures dip, the dry and icy air can strip the natural lipids that form the permeable barrier between your body and the outside world. This barrier helps your body regulate levels of moisture and electrolytes. Without protection from layers of both clothing and lotion, the dry air is free to sap the moisture right out of your skin. Even your home's heater is an enemy to hydration. The result? Your skin becomes dry, itchy, cracked and prone to irritation.


How to protect your skin: Moisturize your skin before heading outdoors with a lotion like Vaseline Men Extra Strength Lotion. For added protection, use a humidifier at home to put moisture back into the air when you get in from the cold.

For more on the science of skin, check out Vaseline on Kinja or visit Vaseline on Facebook.

Nick Burns is a men's grooming writer and co-author of The Bearded Gentleman: The Style Guide to Shaving Face. He has a red beard (like a pirate) and lives in San Francisco.


This post is a sponsored collaboration between Vaseline and Studio@Gawker.

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