8 Embarrassing Male Body Problems And How To Fix Them

If there’s one style ‘hack’ that never fails, it’s confidence. Whether it’s a cobalt blue suit or a Cuban heel, a healthy dose of self-belief gives even the most out-there looks a fair chance at success.

So the last thing any man needs is a niggling body issue putting up roadblocks. Sweaty palms and breath that pongs are public enemies number one and two when it comes to feeling good. So we consulted the experts to find out about the most common conditions plaguing men’s confidence, and what to do to beat them.

Jock Itch

What Is It?

Got an urge to scratch south of the border? Good news: it might not be crabs. Bad news: it might be jock itch.

Otherwise known as tinea cruris, this is a fungal infection of the skin around the groin. About as much fun as it sounds, it’s caused by dermatophytes – the same family of fungi that cause athlete’s foot – and has symptoms which include persistent itchiness, a burning sensation and flaking or cracked skin.

“Jock itch is caused when the normal fungus found on the skin overgrows,” says skincare specialist Debbie Thomas. “Although anyone can get it, it’s common in sportsmen who sweat a lot as the fungus loves a warm, damp environment.”

Man Suffering With Jock Itch

How Do I Beat It?

Don’t worry about accusatory stares from people who think you’re playing with yourself, rest assured you can cure jock itch within a couple of weeks.

“Wash the affected area with soap and water, and dry thoroughly, especially after exercising,” says Thomas. “Wear clean underwear and loose-fitting cotton clothes, and ask your chemist for an anti-fungal cream or powder.”

Jock itch is also very contagious so be careful of sharing towels, clothes and bedding until you’ve had it treated.

The best products for jock itch

Canesten Cream - click to buyDaktarin Intensiv - click to buySudocrem - click to buyDaktarin Aktiv Spray Powder - click to buy

Stretch Marks

What Is It?

They may be battle scars nobly earned for bodybuilders, but for the rest of us, stretch marks are an unsightly set of stripes that we can’t unbutton at the end of the day.

Often found on the abdomen, chest, upper arms, underarms, back and thighs, these marks are the result of the skin stretching due to sudden weight gain (whether fat or muscle) or a growth spurt.

“Stretch marks appear differently coloured because they’re actually tears in the skin that reveal a deeper skin layer,” explains Thomas. “Although initially red – due to tears in the dermis allowing blood vessels to show through – they eventually fade to a silvery colour once the blood vessels have contracted.”

Male Stretch Marks

How Can I Beat It?

Prevention is always better than cure. As well as avoiding rapid weight or muscle gain, look for products rich in vitamin E, which has been found to mitigate marks during body changes.

But if you’ve already been pulled like Stretch Armstrong, there is a way to minimise the appearance of lines. “Aloe vera, for example, is an anti-inflammatory ingredient that’s known to lighten scar tissue,” says Thomas.

In addition to topical products, check the bottle next time you’re shopping for a body moisturiser.

The best products for men's stretch marks

Clarins Stretch Mark Minimiser - click to buyBio-Oil - click to buyBarmon Stretchmark Cream - click to buyBulldog Skincare For Men Original Body Lotion - click to buy

Erectile Dysfunction

What Is It?

One of the most persistently annoying male body problems, erectile dysfunction (often simply referred to as ED) spoils fun like no other.

“Erectile dysfunction is caused by reduced blood flow to the penis,” says LloydsPharmacy online consultant Dr Tom Brett. “This reduced flow is caused by calcification of the blood vessels brought about by smoking, being overweight and medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.”

In younger men, however, the cause is often psychological rather than physical. Known as performance anxiety, this instance of ED is caused by a fear of not being up to the job, as it were, and isn’t to be confused with the physical inability to get an erection.

Couple Turned Away From Each Other In Bed

How Do I Beat It?

While many ED sufferers turn to medicines like Viagra, there are several lifestyle changes that can temporarily alleviate the issue, and tackle the cause. “Quitting smoking, improving your diet and increasing exercise, as well as getting screened for diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol are very important,” says Brett.

To stop performance anxiety shafting your love life, Brett recommends counselling and relationship therapy as the best options for unpicking the psychological reasons behind the condition.

In any case, it’s best to book some time with your GP, who may even suggest more extreme fixes such as penile injection therapy, vacuum pumps or a surgical re-routing of the blood flow.


What Is It?

Commonly known as bad breath, halitosis will win you no friends. At best, it’s mildly off-putting to your partner, at worst it’s the reason your colleagues give you a wide berth in the morning.

“Halitosis is caused when bacteria break down certain food substances in the mouth, resulting in the formation of foul-smelling gases,” says orthodontist Dr Patrick Grossmann. “The most common cause – as much as 90 per cent – is the collection of bacteria inside the mouth, particularly areas around the gum margins of the teeth and the surface of the tongue.”

To make matters worse, there are certain factors which could be aggravating your halitosis even further, says Grossmann. “Ill-fitting crowns, partially erupted wisdom teeth, root fragments and ill-fitting dentures are all associated with bacterial deposits.”

Man Checking His Breath

How Do I Beat It?

Nix the bacteria, nix the nose-wrinkling breath. “Maintain a meticulous oral hygiene regime including brushing your teeth, flossing and scraping the surface of your tongue with a scraper,” says Grossmann.

It’s also worth pinpointing what causes your halitosis as solving the problem could be as simple as subtracting something from your diet. Foods like onions, cheese, garlic and curry, as well as drinks like coffee and alcohol can all aggravate the issue.

Failing that, book in with your GP or dentist who will be able to investigate the problem further and identify the underlying cause.

The best products for bad breath and halitosis

Philips Sonicare HX9351/52 Black DiamondClean Electric Toothbrush - click to buyOral-B Pro-Expert Premium Floss - click to buyCB12 Mint-Menthol Mouthwash - click to buyTongue Cleaner - click to buy

Excessive Sweating

What Is It?

Although sweating is for many of us a mere seasonal annoyance, for around five per cent of men worldwide, it’s a seriously confidence-crushing problem.

“Hyperhidrosis is the excessive production of sweat in areas such as the head, hands, armpits, feet and occasionally the groin, back and chest,” says consultant vascular surgeon Professor Mark Whiteley of The Whiteley Clinic.

Although hyperhidrosis is controlled by the same automatic part of the nervous system as breathing rate and pupil size, it can also be influenced by external factors, “particularly psychological effects like embarrassment or fear, hormones, drugs and certain [spicy] foods,” adds Whiteley.

Man With Underarm Sweat Patch

How Do I Beat It?

While avoiding or minimising the effects of factors like heat and spicy foods can help, wearing fewer layers or skipping a curry will do little to stem the tide of severe hyperhidrosis.

“Speak with a hyperhidrosis expert, as it may be that you have a medical condition like hyperthyroidism or carcinoid syndrome,” says Whiteley.

Once those are ruled out, you can elect for treatments such as Botox injections, which block signals between the brain and sweat glands. Or, for an over-the-counter solution, a heavy-duty deodorant designed to turn the leaky tap off.

Best products for excess sweating

Perspirex Anti-Perspirant Roll On - click to buyDriclor - click to buyMitchum Advanced Men Clean Control 48HR Protection - click to buyOdaban Antiperspirant Spray - click to buy

Man Boobs

What Is It?

You know exactly what these are. Moobs. Boobs, but on a man. You might have them already, or could have soon in years to come, so it pays to be clued up.

According to Dr Dennis Wolf at The Private Clinic of Harley Street, a sudden swelling in the chest is the result of two different conditions: gynaecomastia and pseudogynecomastia.

“All males have some degree of breast tissue which can sometimes grow due to fluctuations in hormones (gynaecomastia) and weight (pseudogynecomastia).”

Man Boobs

How Do I Beat It?

The exact cause of your increased cup size will determine the treatment. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available for both.

For breasts caused by an increase in estrogen levels, Wolf explains that there is medication to address the balance as well as surgery ranging from liposuction and surgical excision to remove the tissue. Meanwhile, a ballooning bosom as the result of weight gain can be reduced by small lifestyle changes and regular exercise that focuses on heavy lifting.

In either case, it’s possible to disguise man boobs using clever style tactics such as wearing thicker materials, looking for details such as patch pockets and deploying pattern.

The best men's clothes for hiding man boobs

STÜSSY Checked Cotton-Flannel Zip-Up Overshirt - click to buyReiss FELIX SHORT SLEEVED SWEATSHIRT - click to buyH&M Oversized denim jacket - click to buyOxford shirt Regular fit - click to buy

Flaky Skin

What Is It?

Dry, cracked, crusty skin that flakes off. Some people get it on their hands and arms, others on their back or even their face. Either way, no one likes leaving little piles their own dead tissue all over the place.

Even if you’ve never suffered from flaky skin, it’s worth being aware of the cause and treatment, because it isn’t just about having a certain skin type.

“Dry and flaky skin can affect anyone,” says dermatologist Dr Anton Alexandroff. “The main causes are dermatitis – which can be either atopic (eczema) or seborrheic (fungal) – and psoriasis.”

Eczema On The Hands

How Do I Beat It?

Unlike generally dry, oily or combination skin, which is a part of an individual’s genetic makeup, it is possible to rid flaky skin. “If it’s atopic, it’s important to moisturise the skin frequently and avoid soaps and detergents,” says Alexandroff.

“If it’s seborrheic, anti-fungal shampoos can be very effective and are available over the counter. For more extreme cases [of psoriasis], medicated topical treatments with vitamin D are needed on prescription.”

In any case, avoid using harsh soaps or other products containing alcohol, which can strip the skin of its natural oils, while remembering to wash with and use moisturising products on a regular basis.

The best products for men's flaky skin and eczema

Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve - click to buyE45 Cream - click to buyElemis Men S.O.S. Survival Cream - click to buyLa Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+ - click to buy


What Is It?

Forever looking like you got caught in a snowstorm, even in July? Or spend your days trying to resist the urge to scratch your head? It’s probably time to sort out your scalp.

A fairly common (but no less embarrassing) complaint that affects around one in five, dandruff occurs when skin cells shed at a faster rate than normal, usually as a result of dry skin, sensitivity to hair products or an overgrowth of yeast.

“It can also be the result of seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis,” adds Alexandroff, making the telltale flakes able to appear on your beard as well as your bonce.

Man With Dandruff

How Do I Beat It?

Fortunately for most sufferers, simple over-the-counter shampoos packed with dandruff-fighting agents like zinc carbonate and other ingredients designed to cleanse and moisturise the skin are often enough.

“If these don’t work, there are scalp applications and shampoos available on prescription, and even powerful oral medications,” says Alexandroff.

In the meanwhile, avoid loading your hair up with styling products and swerve the black T-shirt rail until you get the problem under control.

The best products for men's dandruff

L'Oreal Paris Elvive Men Anti-Dandruff 2-in-1 - click to buyHead & Shoulders Shampoo Classic Clean - click to buyNeutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo Treatment - click to buyNizoral Shampoo - click to buy

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