Tips for addressing men’s chief appearance-oriented complaints
As I approach middle age (I am two years and ~180 days away from 40, but who’s counting??), it seems like the amount of ads I’m served on Instagram for hair growth supplements grows exponentially (no pun intended). But male pattern baldness isn’t the only cosmetic or health concern men have as we age. It just happens to be the one people talk about the most because society has normalized it as a concern.
The truth is men and women share many of the same insecurities, and some of those insecurities are even more pervasive with men — perhaps because they fester when not being talked about. Of course, the most important way to address your insecurities is to embrace self-acceptance! Working on self-confidence is a great way to feel and look great. Below is a list of four complaints men have about their appearance and some tips on how to address them.
1. Crow's feet
Fine lines can be sexy, the sign of a life lived, but not when they are aging you prematurely. The best tip to prevent any type of wrinkle is to apply SPF religiously (even on days when you don’t plan to spend much time outside). The trick to protecting your skin is to use an SPF of at least 30 and to reapply every few hours if you’re spending considerable time outdoors; future you will thank you. If some damage has been done, don’t worry. There are a couple of easy treatments for crow's feet. You can pick up some eye cream to address the existing crow's feet. Ingredients to look for include retinol, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and potentially caffeine (which can also help with eye bags). Botox is an easy (but less affordable) option if you're looking for something more powerful.
2. Defined jawline
Like one of the other insecurities on this list, the first step in addressing your less-than-ideal jawline is to accept that genetics play a huge factor in your facial structure. You may never have the cut jawline of a Hollywood leading man…and that’s okay! A couple of times, I was served an Instagram ad for a mouth guard type device that purports to exercise your jaw to make it more defined. A little Googling (merely out of research) showed that devices such as that can do a number on your teeth and bite; avoid them! Something that sounds almost as wacky and actually works? Facial exercises. Massaging your face and strengthening certain facial muscles can lead to a more defined jawline. Check out Face Gym for exercise recs. And fear not: if you don’t want to invest the time or effort, just like Botox can help with crow’s feet, dermal fillers are an option for the appearance of a more defined jaw.
3. Ingrown hairs
One of the great things about being a guy is the versatility that facial hair brings to your appearance. A beard for the winter? Hot (literally). A mustache for Movember? Sure. And, of course, a clean-shaven summer look to show off your tan. But with shaving comes more than the analysis paralysis around razor and shaving cream type: the nightmare that is ingrown hairs. Not only are ingrown hairs unsightly, but they can also be downright painful. If I shave too quickly and don’t use my preferred products, my skin can look like it did when I was fifteen. Fortunately, there are a couple of ways this can be addressed. First is your routine. Wash your face with warm (never hot!) water and a gentle cleanser; apply shaving cream that works with your skin type and leave it on a bit to soften the hair; then shave with a single-blade razor (or safety razor) in the direction of the skin. If that doesn’t work and facial hair and shaving aren’t worth the constant headache, laser hair removal on the face is highly effective for eliminating hair growth and preventing ingrown hairs. Oh, and these tips are good for hair everywhere, not just on the face.
4. Love handles (and other stubborn pockets of fat)
Sure, the Instagram era has made it easier than ever to plan your next vacation, but it’s also led to a lot of body dysmorphia. Just like the aforementioned perfect jawlines, the abs you see on Instagram are likely unattainable - the result of intense diet and exercise and winning the genetics lottery. That said, stubborn pockets of fat can be really demotivating, especially if they don’t go away with regular exercise. Just like women experience this in the thigh or bra area, men often have trouble with their flanks (love handles). The best approach is to supplement your regular exercise with a healthy and sustainable approach to dieting - such as intermittent fasting or counting your macros in order to understand how much fat you’re consuming and keep it to a healthy level. If that doesn’t work, CoolSculpting is a non-invasive procedure that’s very popular for addressing love handles. And the fat-freezing procedure is permanent, too.
Want to learn more about Botox, CoolSculpting, dermal fillers, laser hair removal, and more? Check out LaserAway, the nation's leading provider of aesthetic dermatological services, where all treatments are performed by registered nurses, nurse practitioners, or physician associates.
Khalid El Khatib is a Brooklyn-based writer and marketer who tweets too much.