Friday, July 6, 2012

Hair Removal for Guys

Can you imagine getting a bikini wax alongside your woman? Neither can we. However, men have come a long way since the days of showing up to work in an unbuttoned button-down that revealed an army of hair fighting its way past the nape of their necks -- haven't they? While you likely won't go the Brazilian route, you might be surprised (or not) to hear that men are taking it off -- their body hair, that is.

Is it weather-related? Is she hinting at it? Or, have you been curious about how you would look with less hair? Whatever the motivation, men have already arrived at this point.  Between waxing, shaving, electrolysis, tweezing, trimming, and laser hair removal, men of all ages, sizes, sexual orientations, ethnic backgrounds, and professions are getting rid of excess body hair.

We're not advocating waxed legs or arms -- jeez, a dude should look like, well, a dude -- but we do advocate taking the time to do your homework to figure out what's best for you.

Waxing and sugaring

What is it? Waxing is a hair removal trend for men that involves spreading hot wax on to the desired area, and then applying a strip of cloth or muslin onto the wax, rubbing it, and ripping off the strip in one fell swoop -- wax, hair, root, and all.  Sugaring is similar to waxing, only it uses sugar paste (which usually consists of a mixture of sugar, lemon, water, and even citric acid and gum arabic) instead of wax and is a method of hair removal that goes as far back as ancient Egypt.

Since some men might be embarrassed about getting waxed at a salon, there are at-home aestheticians who can perform this at home. There are even do-it-yourself waxing kits -- but unless you're a glutton for punishment, it's pretty hard to put yourself through such torture and it can get very messy.

If you opt for waxing, go to a professional.   If you choose to get your genital area waxed , keep in mind that most spas and aestheticians simply wax the areas surrounding your crown jewels -- so only the regions around and above the base of the penis get the royal treatment.

Men are also booking appointments at salons or spas for eyebrow waxes. With guys like David Beckham boasting nicely shaped brows, it seems men aren't settling for less. According to the spa director at Esthetique, in Hamden, Connecticut, 86% of his male clientele get their eyebrows waxed.

Guys, this really isn't about becoming a pretty boy -- it's about not walking around with a unibrow. Makes sense. Don't aim for a perfectly arched eyebrow, but waxing is a good way to get rid of eyebrows that are out of control.

Ideal parts to wax: Eyebrows (unibrow), back of neck, back, chest, toes, and knuckles
Pain factor: 8/10
Bottom line: With repeated use, hair gradually becomes thinner because the roots are weakened, but the hair will grow back, albeit at longer intervals. So, if you want to lessen the hair that grows on your toes or chest without permanently abolishing it, this would be the ideal way to go.

What is it? With the help of a trusty pair of tweezers (the sharper, the better), pluck away at the hairs you want to eliminate.

Unless you have lots of time on your hands and can take the constant pinching sensation, save the tweezing for those smaller regions that are covered with excess hair (or for ingrown hairs). Of course, this method is far from permanent.

Ideal parts to pluck: Eyebrows (unibrow), nape of neck
Pain factor: 4/10
Bottom line: Spending more for high-quality tweezers is worth the price. Don't forget to keep up with regular maintenance.
What are they? When it comes to body hair that you'd like to keep short, electric trimmers can do the trick with no pain, fuss or mess.

Ideal parts to trim: Ear hair, nose hair, nape of neck, pubic hair, arms, legs, the possibilities are endless.
Pain factor: 1/10
Bottom line: A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. There are so many electric and nonelectric trimmers out there for a guy to choose from, so go for it.
hair today...
Between the various hair removal trends for men, there is no reason for a guy to let his pubic area grow out of control or his unibrow to attract attention. You could always stick to shaving, but there are some areas that require more care and shaving can cause irritation and razor burn.

Try the method that best suits your needs and your budget.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sunburn 101

How many of you have ever experienced a sunburn? I’m guessing that almost all of us have, with an embarrassing blush! Yes, we know it’s wrong and we kick ourselves when we are wincing with pain as we try to dress. But maybe if we truly understood what is happening to our skins as we nonchalantly lay in the sun for that extra 10 minutes, we wouldn’t be so lax.

A sunburn is the skin’s response to extreme ultraviolet (UV) exposure and indicates severe damage. In as little as 10 minutes of intense UV exposure, the skin sets into motion a system of defense against this enemy. The first indication of damage is redness. This is the body’s inflammatory response in situations requiring repair and is a result of dilating blood vessels. The skin will then start to lose moisture and hydration, which will be apparent with a feeling of tightness. Slowly, skin cells will start to thicken and melanin pigment will be produced (tanning) in an attempt to stop the UV rays from penetrating through to the deeper layers and damaging the DNA of the cells. When the skin is exposed to high levels of sunlight this may result in hypo or hyperpigmentation which appears as irregular light or dark patches. The body is excellent at coping with minimal amounts of damage, but if exposure is greater than the body’s ability to repair and mop up, more serious consequences may result. If DNA is damaged and its repair mechanisms are inhibited, skin cancer may occur.

Why Does the Skin Peel?
Peeling after a sunburn is your body’s way of getting rid of the damaged cells that are at risk of “losing control” and becoming cancerous. Due to this danger, all damaged cells are instructed to commit suicide by repair mechanisms within these cells. This mass suicide of cells results in whole layers of damaged skin peeling off, to be replaced by other cells underneath those layers.

I Have a Sunburn, What Should I Do Now?
First of all, you should take care of the cause of your problem: get out of the sun immediately. Drink plenty of water as you may be dehydrated. If skin is severely blistered, seek help from a medical practitioner. Otherwise it is important to take down the inflammation and try to reduce damage to the deeper layers of your skin.

Take a cool bath (no products added) and then blot skin dry. Avoid greasy creams, which prevent the skin from cooling and may make the situation worse. Rather, apply generously a soothing after-sun gel to red areas and then stay out of the sun and the heat. Look for ingredients such as Clove, Liquorice, Lavender, Cucumber and Yucca to reduce irritation, pain and redness. Also look out for an incredible ingredient called Japanese Alder to accelerate the repair of UV induced DNA damage. Couple this with ingredients such as Algae and Hyaluronic Acid to rehydrate the skin and you should be well on your way to a calmer skin.

And no, it is not then ok to go out into the sun the next day for another blast! Remember, your skin is still trying to heal and so must be kept out of direct sunlight for a good few days. Keep in mind, the skin is a great record keeper and even with a great after-sun product, irreparable damage may have occurred in the form of premature aging or skin cancer that may only reveal itself later. Think twice next time you decide “just another ten minutes;” your immune system is listening!

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