Face, the facts

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 March, 2011, 12:00am

AS THE MERCURY nudges upwards, and a few rays of sunlight start to poke tentatively through the skies, men's thoughts turn to a number of things -and one is sport. However, playing sports during the summer can play havoc with a man's complexion. A combination of mud, sweat, sun and in some cases wind and water, can cause as many stresses to a man's face and hair as a bruising on-field encounter can cause to his body. So, gentlemen: it's time to take action.

'The quest for perfect skin from morning to evening is more than a question of hygiene or attractiveness,' says Janice Lo, training manager for the cosmetics division of Giorgio Armani. 'It reflects a man's relationship with his personal image, his need to take time out for himself while retaining control of his capacity to succeed both socially and professionally. And there are a lot more men's products on the market now.'

Sport aside, men need to know a few basics. 'Most men are lazy at taking care of their skin and hair, always looking for an instant way to maximise results,' says Chester Tsung, head of make-up for Guerlain. 'A simple way to do so is a deep-face cleanser, a one-way step to purifying skin and deep washing of pores, plus toner to balance the skin's pH as well as to tone up and refresh skin.'

Then there's all that mud, sweat and tears. 'Men who play a lot of sport will have excessive sweating and their pores will be blocked by dirt easily,' says Cili Fan, lead make-up artist for Nars. 'It is important for sportsmen to have regular exfoliation to remove dead cells on the face and clear away dirt.

'Sporty guys need one or two more items to cater to the skin problems caused by environmental factors such as sun exposure, salt water and mud,' adds Edith Hoi, marketing and PR manager of Chantecaille. 'It's necessary to wear sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure to protect the skin from damage and premature ageing. Men must cleanse the skin thoroughly after exercise, and apply moisturiser afterwards to hydrate. If they have open pores and dark spots already, choose a moisturiser containing retinol to minimise the pores, diminish the spots and even out the skin tone.'

Esther Tong, manager of the Plateau Spa at the Grand Hyatt hotel, agrees sunblock is a must -but goes further when it comes to post-sport pampering. 'We advise gentlemen put on sun block lotion with SPF15 or above prior to any outdoor activities, and face cream prior to activities in cool, dry and windy places,' she says. 'After exposure to strong or long hours of sun, we suggest application of after-sun lotion and/or a facial mask to rehydrate the skin and soothe sunburn. Aloe is one of most the popular ways to cool down and heal damaged skin. Avoid steam, the sauna or any laser treatment after too much sun. Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration.'

Water of another sort is a potential enemy, however; swimming and water sports are a staple of the Hong Kong summer, and salt water, wind and reflected ultra-violet rays make those forms of exercise particularly abrasive on the skin -and the hair. 'UV rays will generate free radicals, breaking down hair protein and fading colour,' says Wing Wong, senior brand executive at Aveda. 'While salt and chlorine will dry, roughen and discolour hair.'

With all those products, it looks like it's time to get a bigger kitbag.