Men’s skin health and how we as women can help save our man’s skin and maybe even his life…
Welcome back to a mid summer edition of my skin blog Hello readers. Most of you have probably been on or are preparing to go on your summer holidays with your partners, friends or family where you will hopefully have the luxury of spending quality undisturbed time amidst your loved ones. I have often observed that most of my male patients visit me for their skin problems in particular changing moles after their summer holiday where their skin has been checked out by their loved ones and they have had the time to take notice! I often also find that most men will attend a skin clinic on advice from the women in their lives i.e. wives, partners, friends, sisters or even mothers…
This puts us women in a very responsible position of looking out for and most importantly looking after the men in our lives whether they are our boyfriends, husbands, brothers or our fathers as quite clearly they are instigated to take action on their skin conditions if we take the time to subtly point things out (or even resort to full blown nagging!). For this reason I would like to dedicate this months blog to men’s skin health and our power as women in helping our men look after their skin.
My top five men’s skin conditions, which require medical attention:
1. Changing moles
The back is often a site where most of us rely on someone else to look for any skin changes and it is often the upper shoulders and the back, which gets sunburned and therefore has an increased risk of melanoma. If you notice a mole on your man changing i.e. changing in shape, developing different colours or tones in it and growing in size over a short period of time i.e. a few weeks or months or even that the mole has bled or is itchy with no real reason such as trauma to that area, then please do ask him to go and see his General Practitioner who can in turn refer him to a Dermatologist if needed. The number of melanomas picked up in this manner is astounding and your noticing and asking him to take action may save your man’s life.
2. Scarring or severe acne
Most of us have suffered with acne at some point in our lives. It is increasingly common for adults in their 30’s and even 40’s to still get acne particularly with the fast paced and stress fuelled life we often lead. Scarring acne in particular requires treatment. Sometimes very severe acne can also be associated with certain cancers. If you notice your man is spottier than he was and/ or the spots are leaving scars behind then a visit to his Dermatologist is warranted.
3. Sun damage
It is very important to recognise sun damage as it is very common in men as they are often more outdoorsy than us women and can even be pre cancerous i.e. if left long enough can turn in to skin cancers. They often appear as pink –red scaly patches, which are rough to touch at sun- exposed sites such as the head, neck, chest, upper back including hands and feet. If you spot these on your man and they aren’t self-resolving in 3 months or more then please ask him to see his doctor.
4. Athlete’s foot
Now as women we are lucky that we have a range of footwear including open toed/ peep toed sandals or shoes at our disposal. Our men however have their feet draped in socks and shoes or trainers, which have little breathability. I often see sporty men (even not so sporty men) with athlete’s foot hence the name! This is a fungal infection of the web spaces of the feet i.e. in between the toes and can appear as a white scaly or pink scaly rash which may or may not be associated with white, yellow or green nail discolouration including thickening and deformity of the nail. This infection may spread to other areas of the body if left untreated. It is not usually painful though can be mildly itchy. It is simple to treat with creams if just the skin is involved or with antifungal tablets if the nail is involved. Your Doctor or Dermatologist can easily diagnose this and prescribe treatment for this.
Eczema is a pink-red, dry, itchy and flaky rash which is commonly present since childhood although can occur in later life especially when associated with allergic reactions to substances we come in to contact with such as perfumes, air borne plant allergens or even metal objects in belts, keys and pens etc.
Eczema can be controlled with steroid creams and regular moisturizing one’s skin however severe cases may require immunosuppressant drugs. It is important to recognise and treat eczema timely and appropriately as this can significantly improve your man’s ability to concentrate and be productive both at work and at home.
Psoriasis is also a common skin rash where well defined pink plaques appear on the knees and elbows commonly however the rest of the body, scalp and nails can also be affected. Psoriasis is often not as itchy as eczema however timely treatment can result in your man feeling less conscious of his skin and as this can be associated with joint swelling and arthritis appropriate treatment by a specialist may prevent permanent joint deformity.
I hope these tips help you to understand and recognise what to look out for on your man’s skin this summer… So ladies please start scrutinizing the skin of the men in your life and please point them in the direction of a specialist even if you’re not sure. Believe me he will thank you for saving his skin.
Until next month … stay skin aware