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A Simple Skin Care Routine for Men in 4 Steps

Mar 3 2021
5 min read
A man putting lotion on his face while looking into his bathroom mirror

When it comes to caring for their skin, most men like to keep a low-maintenance routine...

...A quick shave-splash-and-dash that happens in a matter of minutes. We’re not here to convince you to spend an hour on your skin care if you don’t want to. What we do think is important to clear up, though, is that everyone’s complexion needs daily TLC—not just a woman’s. An ideal regimen for a man can take just 10 minutes and involve fewer than five items.

Don’t care about fine lines or a glowing complexion? Fair enough. But daily exposure to pollutants, wind and sunlight can cause a number of issues, from clogged pores, ingrown hairs and acne to excessive dryness, irritation and even skin cancer—all motivation to do a bit more than what you may be doing to care for your skin today.

Aside from keeping your skin healthy, remember that your face is the first thing people look at when they meet and interact with you—your calling card, if you will. It’s also what you first see when you look in the mirror every morning. Do what you can to help it best reflect you and your commitment to total wellness.

Practice this simple, smart daily routine:

Step No. 1: Exfoliate

Good news: You’re likely already doing this pretty well, since shaving helps slough off dead skin cells to reveal new skin underneath. Without this, they can build up, leading to clogged pores, an overproduction of oil, acne and dry, flaky skin.

Make sure your whole face gets this benefit by using an exfoliating cleanser (or even an exfoliating face brush specifically designed for this purpose) on your forehead, nose and cheeks twice a week. While this isn’t crucial, it can be especially helpful if you’re prone to breakouts.

Step No. 2: Cleanse

If you’re one of the many men who turn to that trusty bar of soap to wash everything, remember that the skin on your face is more delicate than that

If you’re one of the many men who turn to that trusty bar of soap to wash everything, remember that the skin on your face is more delicate than that on the rest of your body. Most bar soaps include deodorants, lye (sodium hydroxide) or other ingredients that—while fine for your lower half—can cause dryness and irritate facial skin. Facial cleansers are formulated to be gentle yet tackle everyday dirt and pollutants that can get lodged in your pores, clogging them and causing breakouts and dullness.

Look for a product that matches your skin type. If you’re prone to dryness (or live at a high altitude), opt for a hydrating cleanser; if acne is an issue for you or your skin tends to be on the oily side, choose an exfoliating one. There are also options specially formulated for men’s skin, which tends to be a bit thicker and less sensitive than a woman’s.

Step No. 3: Hydrate

Everyone’s skin loses moisture each day, particularly in cold, dry weather. While drinking plenty of liquids will go a long way toward keeping your skin moist, a hydrating lotion or facial oil will help skin feel soft and look plump and firm. Dehydrated skin loses elasticity (contributing to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles) and can also become flaky, itchy and red.

If you find most lotions or creams too heavy/greasy, opt for one of the new, lighter formulas. There are even moisturizing gels, which absorb quickly and don’t leave skin shiny. To lock in moisture, apply your moisturizer within a couple minutes of washing your face or getting out of the shower, when your skin is still damp.

Step No. 4: Protect

The research is clear that using a broad-spectrum sunscreen not only prevents photo-aging (read: wrinkles) but also protects against skin-damaging UVA and UVB rays, which cause sunburn and skin cancer. Though you may not be hitting the beach year-round, it’s still wise to apply sunscreen every day.

To keep your skin care routine minimal, look for a moisturizing lotion with SPF 15 or higher for a double-duty product that’ll keep your complexion hydrated and protected. It’s also a good idea to stash a small bottle of sunscreen in the glove compartment of your car or your golf bag, so you’re prepared if you’re about to spend hours outside unexpectedly.