The top 5 male grooming mishaps – and how to avoid them

legsInjuries caused by male grooming treatments are on the rise. So what are the most common and how can you avoid them? 

1. BBQ’d skin

According a new survey by first4lawyers a whopping 20% of male grooming related claims come from men who’ve had a tanning bed trauma. By far the most dangerous treatment, men are four times as likely to sustain an injury from using a sunbed than women.

How to stay safe: “Sunbeds emit radiation similar to that in midday summer sunlight, with the same effects, so you should avoid them altogether,” says consultant Dermatologist Professor John Hawk bluntly. If his advice doesn’t convince you then maybe this stat from Cancer Research UK will: if you’re under 35 and are using sunbeds regularly your risk developing malignant melanoma – the most dangerous form of skin cancer – increases by 75%. Scary.

2. Fake tan foul ups

According to the survey men are eight times as likely to suffer a tragedy after a spray tan than women, partly because of their unfamiliarity with the process. The injuries men reported from tanning treatments varied from allergic reactions and skin rashes to dermatitis caused by the chemicals used in spray tans.

How to stay safe: “Spray tans are remarkably safe these days and reactions to them are very rare,” says self-tanning expert James Read who bronzes the bodies of a host of top celebrities. “If you have sensitive skin or have had reactions before, though, ask for a patch test first on the skin behind your ear on your inner arm and come back 24 hours later you’re your tan if everything’s okay.”

3. Treacherous trims

Visit a good hairdressers and having your barnet trimmed is no more dangerous than a trip to the supermarket. Stumble into a salon staffed by an Edward Scissorhands, however, and you’ll be searching for a lawyer, not to mention the tip of your left ear. According to the survey 13% of grooming-gone-wrong claims by men are hairdresser related.

How to stay safe: According to Simon Shaw, European Artistic Director at Wahl UK, the easiest way to avoid accidents is to treat a visit to your stylist as you would an appointment with your doctor. “The most important thing to do when you’re getting your hair cut is to listen to your barber or stylist,” he says. “Do exactly what they ask of you, for example tilting your head either side, and don’t work against them.” Switching off your phone so there are no sudden distractions helps too.

If you’re thinking of having a dye job then visit your hair salon for a patch test 48 hours beforehand to make sure you aren’t allergic to the dyes it uses.

4. Eyebrow raising accidents

Eyebrow shaping treatments are increasingly popular with men but threading – an ancient technique using a cotton thread to remove hairs –  takes skill, talent and practice. “If it’s not done by a qualified and skilled practitioner you can be left with broken and ingrown hairs, unnecessary pain, infected follicles and thin, uneven eyebrows which will take months to grow back,” warns Maria Dinopoulos from Pulse Laser Clinic in London’s Mayfair who specialize in threading.

How to stay safe: Avoid informal threading kiosks and look for a professional salon or clinic that will offer you a more personalised service. “An experienced threader will also work quickly and will ask you to stretch the skin to minimize discomfort,” says Dinopoulos. “If tweezers, eyebrow scissors or brushes are used, these should be sterilised between clients to eliminate infection and a lotion with soothing/antibacterial properties should be offered after the service.”

5. Wax disasters

Remarkably, 1 in 10 claim-related male grooming accidents accidents are connected with leg waxing. “That’s probably because the leg is a large area and if hot wax is applied it can cause a burn or heat rash breakout. It’s very painful and common mistake with therapists,” says Sarah Louisa O’Looney, author of Fresh, Clean Men: Advice for Men and Beauty Therapists.

How to stay safe: “To prevent problems ask for a small amount of wax product be applied to the inside of your wrist so you can test the temperature,” says O’Looney. To minimise sensitivity issues afterwards she recommends avoiding hot showers and baths, fragrances, and work-outs that make you sweat for 24 hours after waxing.

James Read Gradual Tan: an instant success

Generally speaking I’m not a huge fan of self-tanners. This is because they’re sometimes difficult to use with facial hair and because I generally don’t like to smell of digestive biscuits. I do, however, recognise how useful they can be and how their popularity with men is growing.

The question is, which is the best? I’ve tried lots (with various and sometimes hilarious results) so it’s a delight to come across one that a. works brilliantly; b. doesn’t honk to high heaven and c. is an added-value product, providing skin with a raft of anti-ageing ingredients as well as a decent, natural-looking tan.

The product I’m talking about is the new Gradual Tan Face by the UK’s leading tanning expert James Read. Part of a James’ inventive new tanning range, I tried it out at the weekend and mightily impressed but the results. Not only is it fragrance-free (you won’t even smell of a Rich Tea let alone a Digestive), it gives a natural-looking bronze to the skin that you have total control over (it has a just a touch of self tan that develops over time, the intensity of which you can govern by applying more if you wish).

What’s especially good about this product is that it also contains anti-aging coenzyme Q10, hydrating hyaluronic acid and cell-renewing red algae too, perfectly capturing the zeitgeist for multi-functional products. Though it’s designed for the face I also tried it (after exfoliating) on my feet, to see if I could get them looking vaguely decent for Birkenstocks and it worked a treat – giving them just enough colour to prevent them from blinding small children. I used the medium version but if you’re a self-tan newbie and nervous about using them why not try the light version  to begin with? I think you’ll be impressed with the results.

James Read Gradual Tan Face £18.50. If you fancy trying James’ range QVC are offering a  great-value ‘discovery set’. For details click here.