Traditionally, the month of November has offered Americans the opportunity to count their blessings and give thanks for what they have. In more recent years, a new tradition has sprouted from the month of November, encouraging men and women to ditch their razors in recognition of men’s health. Originally founded in 2009, the month long event is now sponsored in partnership with the American Cancer society.
Often referred to as “Movember” (a portmanteau of the Australian-English diminutive word for moustache, “mo” and November), this annual event involves growing of facial hair during the month of November to raise awareness of health issues affecting men, from prostate cancer, to testicular cancer,and even extending to men’s mental health. The change in appearance sparks conversations in social circles and opens the dialogue about men’s health. The challenge is meant as a fun initiative that also recognizes the devastating cost of hair loss that cancer patients endure as a result of treatment.
How to Get Started The “rules” of Movember generally recommend that participants begin with a clean-shaven face on November 1st and then ditch the razor until December 1st, including any touch up of any sort. Of course, those who work in strict corporate settings will need to adhere to their company policy and so “trimming” is generally only deemed acceptable if it interferes with your workplace policies. SmartGraft physician, Dr. Gary Mendese believes that November is a great month to shine awareness on a variety of men’s health topics from depression and suicide, to prostate and testicular cancer and notes that while men don’t like to talk about these things, they are real and should not be ignored. As we celebrate Movember and men step away from the razor for four (or more!) weeks, Dr. Mendese of DermSkinHealth offers a couple of pointers for those growing out facial hair for the first time: “First, ignore what people say. People WILL say things like, “Uhh, did you forget to shave?” or “Are you on vacation or something?” Ignore it! You made this choice, it is for a great cause, and you’re going to look great. It just takes time. The first week consists of minor stubble. Week two can start to look a little “messy” and sometimes even “patchy” but that’s normal. Everyone is different. Keep it going! More importantly, the ITCH of week 2 can be pretty annoying. Use a couple of drops of beard oil once a day and it can make a world of difference. You can find dozens of brands on Amazon and they can be unscented, have the scent of aftershave, or can even be musky/oaky. Whatever you like. The itch goes away by week 4 so resist the urge to shave it off. Keep it growing, shave your neckline to look clean and by the end of Movember, you’ll have yourself the beginnings of a genuine beard. Who knows…you might even want to keep it!”
All For a Good Cause Participants of the Movember challenge are encouraged to consider their monthly costs of personal grooming and donate their shaving savings during the month of November to charities that promote education, prevention, and research of men’s health organizations. The money that would have been spent on razors, razor blades, grooming–whether that means a few dollars or several hundred—can add valuable research funds to finding a cure. As the season of Thanksgiving kicks off, we encourage you to “let it grow” and to raise awareness for Men’s Health! Happy Growing!