Skin care is for everyone — but skin care products are often marketed by gender.
This can make it confusing to know which products to buy and how to build your routine. The truth? Everyone faces similar skin care issues, regardless of gender.
So what’s the best men’s skin care routine? Whether you’re starting from scratch or want to refresh your products, here are our top picks for men’s skin care.
ON THE BLOG: Everything You Need to Know About Men’s Skin Care >
How is men’s skin care different?
While all skin contains the same components, there are specific issues to address in those with male hormonal makeups.
Men tend to have physically thicker skin (which some researchers say may be due to a higher amount of collagen), and increased testosterone levels can lead to larger, more visible pores. With larger pores also comes a higher amount of sebum (natural oil), which can make the skin appear oily and shiny.
The best men’s skin care routine takes those factors into account instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s never too late to take care of your skin, so knowing the right products to use in your skin care regimen is key.
What should be in a man’s skin care routine?
Ok, let’s talk products — what do you need to include in your routine? The right combination of products and ingredients can make a huge difference in your skin’s health and appearance.
Each product performs a different but equally important role, so here are the products that you shouldn’t skip.
Washing your face is the foundation of a good skin care routine. Our skin is constantly exposed to air pollution, UV exposure and changing humidity levels, while impurities like sweat and sebum build up throughout the day. This build-up can result in clogged pores, increasing the risk of breakouts and leading to a less radiant appearance.
Facial cleansers can help remove that build-up, not just from the skin’s surface but also from the pores. It’s important for men to use a cleanser in the mornings and evenings because their skin tends to have more oil than those with female hormones.
Look for cleansers that contain salicylic acid. This ingredient can help break down oil buildup and help your skin feel softer and smoother. After cleansing, your skin is prepped and ready to soak up other skin care products.
There are many serums on the market to choose from that address a variety of skin care needs — whether that's dry skin, excess oil, dark circles or blemishes.
One of the most popular active ingredients in serums is retinol, an exfoliating agent that can help remove dead skin cells from the skin’s surface. Removing those skin cells can help keep the pores clear, reducing the risk of breakouts and minimizing visible signs of aging.
One of the side effects of retinol can be skin irritation, but other active ingredients like niacinamide can help soothe it.
Vitamin C serums are also popular, as their antioxidant properties can support the protective ability of sunscreen while also helping the skin look more radiant and beautiful.
Don’t feel like you have to pick just one, though. Most serums can be combined as long as you pay attention to the active ingredients and stagger them throughout the day.
Hydration is crucial for strong, healthy skin, and this depends on the skin’s topmost layer: the moisture barrier.
The moisture barrier (also known as your stratum corneum) locks hydration inside the skin while also working hard to protect against outside stressors, like toxins, pollutants and UV rays.
The type of moisturizer you use should depend on your unique skin concerns, but ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides are a good place to start. These ingredients are also a natural part of the moisture barrier, so they can help to keep it strong and intact.
Follow your moisturizer with an eye cream to help add targeted moisture to your undereye area. While you’re at it, don’t forget to add lotion to your body care routine. The skin on your body deserves as much love as the skin on your face!
Even oily skin types need hydration — so don’t skip out on the moisturizer.
Using SPF is non-negotiable. The right sunscreen can protect the skin from immediate sun damage, like sunburns, and the long-term effects that can occur when that damage builds up.
Skin care experts credit sunscreen for helping to prevent sun damage while also preventing side effects of chronic sun exposure, like dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles.
When choosing a sunscreen, look for one with SPF 30 (or more), broad-spectrum protection from UVA and UVB radiation and water resistance. If you’re looking for a good place to start, check out our Clear Defense SPF.
If you shave your facial hair, choosing the right shaving cream is also vital. Shaving creams with moisturizing and soothing ingredients can help support the skin as you shave while reducing the risk of developing ingrown hairs after the fact. Just make sure to rinse your face thoroughly so that you don’t clog your pores!
Here are some other tips to help you get the best shave:
Wash your face with warm (not hot) water to open the pores before shaving.
Let your shaving cream sit on the skin for a few minutes prior to shaving.
Use only sharp blades and change them frequently.
Don’t hold your skin taut while you shave.
Always shave in the direction of hair growth.
Rinse your razor after every stroke.
Gently press a cool, wet washcloth on your skin for five minutes once you’re done shaving, then use an after-shave product to remove any leftover dead skin cells.
The final word...
The best men’s skin care routine takes the essential components of skin care and focuses them on the common issues that people with male hormones deal with.