Movember: Men and Depression

Sad Icelandic sculpture

Based on the explosion of reality TV shows, you might think that anyone would feel comfortable sharing their problems in the privacy of a doctor’s office. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.

When it comes to depression women are three times more likely to seek help. And though more women attempt suicide, more men actually commit suicide. Indeed, some 5 million men experience depression each year. And those are only the ones we know about.

Men often forget that psychological pain is as legitimate as physical pain. If you had a broken arm, you’d go to your doctor to fix it. Right?

Although both men and women suffering from depression experience feelings of loneliness and helplessness, there are some characteristic differences in men: Depressed men are more likely to exhibit aggression and engage in addictive behaviors, like alcohol abuse and risky behaviors, like unsafe sex.

Here are some common signs of depression in men:

Fatigue: Despite sleeping 10-12 hours a night, you still feel exhausted and depleted of energy.

Chronic Pain: Backaches, headaches, and stomach pain that won’t go away can also be signs of depression.

Anger and Irritability: Rather than sadness, men suffering from depression tend to show signs of irritability and anger, which often masks that there’s a deeper problem. Are you blowing up at people over minor problems? Are you itching for a fight? Are you unable to tolerate everyday tasks and activities without losing your cool?

Difficulty Concentrating: Are you having trouble getting your work done? Is your mind wandering during important tasks? Are you forgetful?

Isolation: Are you pulling away from your relationships? It’s not uncommon for depressed men to push away loved ones; it’s a defense mechanism.

Sexual Dysfunction: Are you having difficulty becoming aroused or experiencing orgasm? Are you less satisfied with sex than you used to be? Are you suddenly craving or engaging in unsafe sex? These are common in men suffering from depression. No matter how embarrassing, your best bet is to discuss it with your doctor. He’s there to help you, not judge you.

Men are less likely than women to seek help. Why? Is it just that we’re too proud? Sometimes. But, there are many more important reasons why men don’t seek help for depression, including:

  • Men often mischaracterize signs of depression such as fatigue and irritability as something other than depression.
  • They think it’s just something temporary that will go away.
  • They’re more likely to blame an issue or person such as their marriage or boss as the source of their problem.
  • Men are more concerned about the social stigma surrounding depression and fear of looking weak or less masculine.

If you or a man in your life is exhibiting signs of depression, then contact a doctor as soon as possible. This is a health issue that shouldn’t be ignored.

Photo credit: FCC, WorldIslandInfo.com

The Truth About Men and Dandruff

First Snowfall of Winter

It’s happened to the best of us. You’ve had a greet meeting with your boss or just given a killer presentation. You go out to celebrate with your buddies. As you remove your navy sport coat, you notice, to your horror, white flakes on the shoulders. And it’s not snowing outside.

Don’t beat yourself up. Dandruff is normal. Everyone has it to some degree and nearly everyone experiences a full-blown case of it at least once in his or her lifetime. Unfortunately, men get dandruff more than women.

Skin cells (including those on your scalp) are constantly sloughing off and being replaced with new ones. For people with dandruff, this skin cell turnover goes into overdrive resulting in more dead skin being shed. The result— tiny white flakes in your hair. In addition to your scalp, you can get dandruff on your eyebrows, eyelashes, beard, and inside your ears, and some unlikely few will get it on their chest hair.

Before you buy anti-dandruff shampoo, determine whether or not the flakes are actually dandruff. In many instances, it’s simply hair product that has dried and begun to flake. Notice, do you get flakes only in the afternoon or evening after the product has had time to dry out? If so, it’s likely not dandruff. In general, hair gels are more prone to drying out and flaking whereas creamy pomades are less likely.

Though unsightly, dandruff is not dangerous. It won’t make you sick. It’s not contagious. And it won’t cause balding. Nevertheless, I’ve never met anyone who wants to keep his dandruff.

So, here’s how to treat dandruff and stay flake-free:

1. Try OTC medicated shampoos specially formulated for dandruff with ingredients such as ketoconazole (Nizoral shampoo), selenium sulfide (Selson Blue and Head and Shoulders), pyrithione zinc 1% (Clear Men Scalp Therapy), and tar (Neutrogena T/Gel). Yes, coal tar. It reduces both inflammation and flaking. If you don’t like the medicinal smell of these shampoos, try Clear Men Scalp Therapy which has a much more pleasant, fresh fragrance.

2. Wash hair with medicated shampoo daily. It’s a myth that shampooing makes dandruff worse. Dandruff is not dry scalp. The more frequently you wash, the more yeast you remove, leading to less dandruff.

3. You can use medicated shampoo anywhere you get dandruff including your beard, eyebrows, and chest. Just be careful when you wash around your eyes.

4. For redness and itching try hydrocortisone cream 1%, readily available at drug stores.

5. For those looking for all-natural treatments, try this: Mix 1 part white vinegar to 3 to 4 parts water and massage into your scalp while you’re in the shower. You can do this 1 to 3 times a day. You can also massage it into your scalp and leave on overnight  (that is, if the smell doesn’t make your partner run from the room). Having said that, vinegar, however natural, isn’t as effective as medicated shampoos.

In severe cases where your dandruff doesn’t respond to any treatments, see your dermatologist. You may have psoriasis, or another condition that warrants medical attention.

For more information about raising awareness of men’s health issues, check out my post on Movember and becoming a member. And please consider donating to this cause.

Here’s another Movember post you might enjoy reading: Why More Men Are Dying From Skin Cancer.

Photo credit: FCC, martinak15

Guys, A Shower Shortcut You Can’t Afford

44/365 better late than never

Your mornings are hectic — eat breakfast, watch Sports Center, take the dog out for a walk, watch more Sports Center. I get it. And I get that you want your grooming routine to be fast. But if you’re using shampoo for both your hair and body wash just to save a few seconds in the shower, I’m telling you, it’s not worth it.

Shampoos are designed to get oils off your hair, so when you use them on your body, you actually strip needed oils off your skin, leading to dry, damaged skin. Always wash with a moisturizing soap that helps lock moisture in, such as Dove Men + Care Body and Face washes.

For the record, ladies, this goes for you too. But I figured you already knew that.

Photo credit: FCC, ~Twon~.

I am a medical adviser for Unilever, the company that makes Dove Men + Care products.

3 Reasons Men Should Take a Break from Shaving

stubble

If you’re a guy who prides himself on his close shave, then think about taking a break once in a while. Here’s why:

1. Allowing your hair to grow can help unclog pores and reduce ingrown hairs in just a few days. Longer, trapped hairs are easier to pluck free than short ones. Once free, be sure to shave it gently and not too close to the skin so it doesn’t start to grow inward again. Don’t pluck it. Plucking can lead to a new ingrown hair when that follicle starts to grow hair again.

2. Shaving is a form of exfoliating, which is good for sloughing off dead skin cells. However, too much exfoliation can sometimes to lead to irritation in the form of razor bumps and redness. Exfoliation exposes tender skin underneath. Taking some time off gives your skin a chance to heal.

3. It’s easier to soften your beard when the hairs are longer. Short, just shaved hairs are pinchy. As the hair grows it becomes softer. Apply warm water and warm shaving cream to your beard and let sit for 3 minutes before you shave again.

Bonus: Periodic displays of facial hair demonstrates to your potential mate that you’re a healthy male who’s capable of siring children for her someday.

Photo credit, FCC, mymostofme // metamorphograph

Can Men Get Cellulite?

Men and women are different. Everyone with estrogen has some cellulite. Everyone without estrogen has no cellulite. Men, er, manly men, should have no estrogen and therefore no cellulite.

However, excess fat can create estrogen, even in guys. That’s why some overweight men develop man boobs — they’re making estrogen. They can also rarely have cellulite; though not as rarely as having periods.

How To Grow A Mustache Like Wes Welker

I’ve has a sudden deluge of e-mail asking me how to grow a mustache like Wes Welker from the New England Patriots. Well, just as you might not be able to put up yards-after-carry like Wes does, you might not be able to grow a mustache like he does. It takes time and testosterone. My advice? Get started soon. In this video I’ll tell you how fast (er, slowly) a mustache grows for most men.

What’s the Difference Between an Antiperspirant and a Deodorant?

Are you using an antiperspirant or a deodorant? Do you even know? We have two types of sweat glands and two types of deodorant. In this video I’ll explain the difference and how to choose the product best for you. Please note that I’m a lifelong fan of Dove products and that I’m a consultant to Unilever, the company that makes Dove Men +Care.