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Health, Beauty & Fashion

Booming men's grooming market

Singapore men are more open to taking care of their skin and are lapping up beauty products, including those for eye care.
The Straits Times - October 12, 2012
By: Imran Jalal
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Booming men's grooming market

Like their American counterparts, Singapore men are also concerned about how their eyes look.

A scan of male grooming counters here shows myriad eye-care products, such as balms, lifting gels, serums and de-puffers.

They are all part of the booming men's grooming market in Singapore which was worth $68.3 million last year, based on figures from research market firm Euromonitor International.

The company expects the men's grooming market - which includes skincare and personal care products such as deodorants and shampoos - to grow at a constant rate of 5 per cent over the next four years.

The men's skincare market registered the fastest growth in sales last year across the overall beauty and personal care market, which includes women's cosmetics and perfumes. Sales for men's skincare rose 14 per cent to $13.3 million from $11.7million in 2010.

Although there are no official figures on sales of eye creams and eye-care products in Singapore, Ms Sharon Liew, a research analyst at Euromonitor International, says demand is increasing, based on checks with skincare brands, distributors and retailers.

Mr Tan Seng Hwee, general manager of men's grooming specialist chain WhatHeWants, says the company sells about 200 units of eye products a month today, compared with just about 20 when it started in 2007.

Singapore men are also open these days to more detailed grooming regimens - such as erasing crow's feet around the eyes - due to the influence of well-manicured South Korean pop icons, observes Ms Liew.

"As Singapore men see their Korean male idols use beauty products, such as BB creams and make-up, they have also become more open to trying new beauty products, including anti-ageing ones," she adds.

Dermatologists and skincare retailers say there is no difference in the formulation of eye creams for men and women, but the textures vary.

"Guys generally prefer products that do not feel heavy or oily on their skin," says Ms Fanny Mak, the director of online cosmeceutical skincare retailer Skin Bar.

Ms Eliz Tan, Kiehl's marketing manager, adds that ingredients such as menthol and lemon extracts are commonly added to men's products as they prefer the cooling and refreshing sensation.

In the past two years, at least five new men's products have been launched in the market that cater to skin problems around the eyes. These include the Power Brightening Eye Balm DR4 and Max LS Eye Lift by American men's skincare label Lab Series, as well as the Precision Cycle 3-in-1 Eye Fluid by 66°30, an organic men's skincare brand from France.

Dr Lim Kar Seng, consultant dermatologist at The Dermatology Practice, says while face creams can be used around the eyes, they are not as effective and can be harsher than creams developed specifically for use around the eye area.

Ms Leona Low, training and customer care manager of Clarins, says: "The eye area is more sensitive and the skin is thinner. Applying face moisturisers which are not formulated for the delicate eye area can cause the formation of milia seeds." Milia seeds are small white or yellowish white growths often seen on the eyelids or temple.

Dr Lim adds that some face creams - anti-ageing formulas, in particular - can cause a mild stinging sensation because of ingredients such as retinol, tretinoin and retinyl, which stimulate skin renewal.

"In such cases, it would be good to use a separate eye cream as the skin on the eyelid is much thinner," advises Dr Lim.

For men whose concerns include tackling wrinkles and pigmentation, Dr Raymond Kwah, a consultant dermatologist from the Raffles Aesthetics and Skin Centre, suggests eye creams that contain retinol and sunscreen.

Retinol helps rebuild collagen while antioxidants such as vitamins C and E can improve the appearance of skin over time.

"Retinol can, however, cause some initial irritation in the form of dryness and flaking," notes Dr Kwah.

"The skin does adapt over time and the irritation usually fades. Start by using just once every two to three nights to help improve comfort levels ."

FIVE EYE PRODUCTS TO CONSIDER

Medik8 Retinol Eye TR Professional Strength Under-eye Night Serum, $123 for 10ml, from Skinbar.com.sg

This night serum does not leave a sticky feeling and helps to minimise the appearance of fine lines.

Unlike regular retinol products which may irritate, it is gentle on the skin due to its time-release formulation, which is said to release the retinol slowly over several hours.

Facial Fuel Eye De-Puffer, $45 for 15ml, from all Kiehl's outlets

Glide this compact stick, which leaves a cooling sensation, around the eyes. It contains caffeine, which is said to reduce puffiness, as well as a hibiscus extract which keeps the skin hydrated.

Max LS Instant Eye Lift, $85 for 50ml, from Lab Series counters

This cream contains wheat protein and sweet almond seed extract, which are said to tighten the skin.

Manceuticals Dark Circle Eye Treatment, $105 for 15ml, from WhatHeWants

This eye gel claims to improve blood circulation and reduce water retention to erase puffy eyes and dark rings.

Anti Fatigue Eye Serum, $65 for 20ml, from Clarins counters and Clarins Skin Spas

Gingko biloba extract in this serum promises to help reduce dark circles and puffiness, while oat sugar extract keeps the skin firm.

EYE PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS

PUFFY EYES

Cause: Fluid retention. This is commonly seen in the morning as fluids build up while you sleep. The appearance is more pronounced among those with sinus problems or allergies.

Solution: Sleep on your back with your head elevated to facilitate drainage of the eye area overnight. You can also gently massage your eyes by tapping your fingers across the lower edge of the eyes from the inner to the outer corners.

Cold compresses, refrigerated gels and cooling masks can be effective in relieving morning puffiness. Reducing salt and alcohol consumption also helps. Using an eye cream that contains caffeine is said to work.

EYE BAGS

Cause: Accumulated fat around the eye area. As you age, the walls surrounding the eyeball socket weaken, causing the outer layer of fat within the socket to bulge, resulting in eye bags.

Solution: Improving the skin tone can help minimise the appearance of eye bags. Eye cream with retinol can also help. However, surgery to remove the eye bags, called blepharoplasty, is still the most effective treatment.

CROW’S FEET

Cause: Fine lines at the outer corner of the eyes appear because the area contains fewer oil glands than the rest of the face. As such, it is more prone to dryness and wrinkles. Smoking, excessive sun exposure, ageing and genetics also play a role.

Solution: Avoid sun exposure, which reduces the elasticity of your skin; and reduce or stop smoking. Excessive squinting can also cause permanent wrinkles to develop over time.

Creams and moisturisers can help improve fine lines but they do not erase them. Hydrating the skin cells causes them to plump up to give a smoother appearance.

DARK CIRCLES

Causes: Fatigue and stress are not the only causes of dark rings under the eyes. They could also be shadows cast by puffy eyelids or hollows under the eyes that develop as part of the ageing process.

Nasal congestion can be another factor too, as the veins that run from the eyes to the nose dilate and darken. Thinning skin and loss of fat and collagen due to ageing can also make the reddish-blue blood vessels under the eyes more obvious.

Solution: For mild cases of dark circles, use a cold compress or a chilled teaspoon wrapped in a soft cloth to temporarily reduce dilated and discoloured blood vessels. Raise your head with two or more pillows when you sleep to prevent puffiness that develops when fluid pools in your lower eyelids.

Laser therapy, chemical peels and prescription creams are helpful for extreme cases of dark circles.

Sources: Dr Raymond Kwah, a consultant dermatologist from the Raffles Aesthetics and Skin Centre; Mayoclinic.com

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