In my dermatology practice, I find that men are interested in skin health and skincare, but desire simple routines. The great news is that skincare does not have to be complicated to be effective. In fact, lots of us tend to overdo it, which can actually work against us. While there are more and more companies producing skincare products for men, there is a real lack of trustworthy skin care information targeting the concerns men have and helping them navigate the world of skincare. I hope to provide some guidance here to help you put together an easy routine for healthy skin.
Cleanse face twice per day. Use a gentle facial cleanser instead of bar soap, which can be too drying.
Moisturize daily. Keeping the skin hydrated keeps the skin barrier healthy and reduces the appearance of fine lines.
Protect the skin from sun exposure. To keep it simple, use a moisturizer that contains SPF daily on the face. For typical daily use, look for a product with minimum SPF 30, but bump it up to SPF 50 if you are going to be spending significant time outdoors. Staying in the shade, wearing a hat and sunglasses, and utilizing sun protective clothing are helpful additional measures.
Utilize antioxidants. There are many to choose from, but Vitamin C, for example, is a common antioxidant found in many products that helps to minimize sun damage and age related skin changes.
Consider a product that treats a problem at bedtime. If you tend to have acne or ingrown hairs due to shaving, consider a retinol containing moisturizer at bedtime. Retinol is also helpful if you are concerned about changes related to age and chronic sun exposure, such as fine lines and dark spots. There are so many other ingredients that can help ageing skin issues, and this is where a regimen can get much more advanced and it is easy to get overwhelmed. You may see ingredients like bakuchiol, growth factors, peptides or snail mucin, and often these ingredients are combined in various product lines. Keep it simple, choose a product that addresses your concern, you do not need to use all of them.
Take care of your body too. Wash immediately after workouts to minimize folliculitis (body acne). Consider using a moisturizer from the neck down daily, ideally on damp skin just after cleansing. If your skin is dry, use cooler water. Hot water is very drying to the skin.
If you tend to get ingrown hairs or razor bumps, consider switching to a single blade razor and shave in the direction of hair growth after applying shaving cream. Change blade after every 5 or so shaves.
So that was really the easy part. The hard part is that healthy skin requires more than just applying some products. It requires taking care of and nourishing our bodies from the inside out. What I like to refer to as the work of wellness. Focus on eating a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, and minimizing pro-inflammatory foods such as alcohol, sugar, meat, dairy and processed food. Get adequate sleep and exercise. Take care of your mental health by maintaining strong relationships with friends and family and practicing mindfulness.
Lastly, be sure to check your skin regularly and see a dermatologist if you notice any new spots or moles that itch, change colors or bleed. A dermatologist or aesthetician can also help you create a more personalized plan to address your skincare needs.