Gone are the days when “skin care” for men meant little more than learning to shave, gritting their teeth against aftershave, turning the faucet for a wash, and maybe follow it up with soaping up their face in the shower.
Over the years, men have become more interested in products that take better care of their skin and have become more aware of the importance of their skin health and sun protection. Men’s magazines and grooming lines have picked up on this trend, and the number of products and services targeted towards masculine clients has been growing steadily each and every year.
Younger men have grown up with more options to apply and less stigma around spending extra time on their appearances, but sometimes even they are still “borrowing” products from their girlfriends, wives, sisters, and moms on the sly to wash with. Other men are intrigued by skin care or know that it is something they should be doing, but are stuck on the idea that these products are time-consuming to apply and hard to get right.
If you are hoping to encourage the men in your life to start better skin care habits each day before his sleep, or they are looking to you for help getting started, here are some easy expert tips to get them going on the right track.
Men’s skin vs. women’s skin: What is the difference? How do they compare?
In the past, it has been said that there are very few differences between men’s skin and women’s skin. But years of research has proven otherwise.
There are five main differences between men’s and women’s skin. Thickness, collagen, sebum, texture, and facial hair:
First difference? Thickness. Male skin is approximately 25 percent thicker than that of a woman’s skin due to testosterone. Studies have also shown that skin thickness varies based on the age and location of the person. With age, a man’s skin will thin, whereas for women, the thickness remains steady until menopause. Then, her skin will significantly thin as she continues to age.
Collagen is another. Men have higher collagen density than women. Though not proven, researchers firmly believe the higher collagen density is the reason women tend to age at a faster rate than men. Studies have shown both men and women lose about one percent of collagen a year after their 30th birthday (yikes!). For women, this notably increases during the first five or so years after menopause and then slows down to about two percent per year.
Sebum production. Breakouts, clogged pores, acne, and blackheads tend to last longer in male skin due to higher sebum levels after puberty. This is why men have longer-lasting acne and also why redness, pores, swelling of the skin on the nose, or rhinophyma, is mainly seen in males. For women, sebum production will decrease with age, whereas for male skin, sebum production will remain the same throughout their life.
Texture is rougher. This is due to Stratum Corneum being thicker which is also the reason for the difference between facial wrinkling that develops. This is why men are susceptible to develop deeper facial wrinkles.
Facial Hair. Shaving in the morning is a daily grooming routine for men and stresses male skin. This may and does lead to sensitive and irritated skin. Different risks include cuts, razor burns and ingrown hairs. Other risks include the potential to expose the skin to other risks due to a weakened skin barrier.
4 easy steps for getting great skin at a moment’s notice
The biggest obstacle for most men who have not done much skin care before is getting started on a daily regimen. Show him that he does not have to commit to an hour a day to apply in the bathroom throughout the week—all he needs in order to move in the right direction is a simple three-step process:
- Cleansing each day is obviously key! Help him choose a face cleanser that works for his skin type and needs, whether it is a very gentle gel for his dry skin, or an AHA/BHA exfoliating cleanser like SkinMedica’s AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser to get rid of dead skin cells and unclog pores before shaving. A scrub like SkinCeuticals’ Micro-Exfoliating Scrub is a great choice for a once or twice per week deep cleaning. Remind him to use tepid water and to wash his face for at least 60 seconds and, of course, rinse thoroughly!
- Toner is an essential step to apply in any skin care routine. Toners can help give the appearance of smaller pores, restore the skin’s pH balance which is thrown off during cleansing, add a layer of protection while also reducing the penetration of impurities and contaminants into the skin, moisturize and hydrate the skin, refresh skin, and for men, it has the potential to reduce ingrown hairs. SkinCeuticals’ Conditioning Toner is a wonderful toner that works to refresh, clarifies, and brighten normal to oily skin. Hide those pores to look great!
- Moisturizing is important even if he has oily skin—this step locks in hydration after washing his face and lends support to his complexion’s natural barrier. Obagi’s CLENZIderm M.D. Therapeutic Moisturizer is a perfect all-around solution, with a combination of humectants to moisturize and emollients to soften skin while strengthening its defenses. It is non-comedogenic, so it will not clog pores or worsen blemishes.
- Applying sunscreen is the final must-have step in his daily routine. A broad-spectrum, high-SPF sun protection product like SkinMedica’s Total Defense + Repair SPF 50+ will guard him against not just UV light, but infrared rays and environmental aggressors, while antioxidants fight off ozone and free radicals. Everyone needs sunscreen every day, no matter the season—and he should reapply it every two hours he has been outside.
What can he use in his skin care and shaving routine?
Many men get curious about skin care when they notice that the skin around their jawline always looks so much better than the rest of their face. This is due to the cleansing and exfoliation during their shave. For other men, their lower face is its own struggle, with razor burn and irritation dogging their days.
Good skin care habits can help make shaving less of an ordeal. Washing thoroughly each day with very warm (but not hot) water and a good exfoliating cleanser not only softens the hairs but clears away dead skin that can make a shave uneven. Moisturizing afterward soothes the skin and prevents the irritation that harsh aftershaves can cause. Lingering redness? Introduce him to SkinMedica’s Redness Relief CalmPlex which uses niacinamide to reduce redness and inflammation.
Is he ready to take it to the next level?
Once he has gotten into the swing of things in the morning with a solid daily regimen, he might be curious about what else he can apply to maintain a great complexion process for life. Here are a few tips:
- Many men respond well to retinol for a smooth, even skin tone and texture. Ease him into it with SkinMedica’s Retinol Complex 0.25, used one to three times a week, always at night, about 20 minutes after moisturizing.
- We recommend introducing serums to his skin care routine. As they contain the highest concentration of active ingredients you can obtain without a prescription, serums are all “killer and no filler.” Serums are designed to deliver results and make sure the active ingredients in the formula penetrates past the outer layer of the skin and make a true difference in his skin. Another benefit? Serums are water-based, instead of oil-based meaning, they absorb without breakout residue left on the skin. To sum it up, once you apply, you will actually get results. Whether you are looking to brighten your skin for a fresh-faced look, reduce fine lines, work to achieve an even skin tone or get rid of the stubborn dark spots, serums will help make that happen! A popular one that is raved about is SkinMedica’s TNS Essential Serum. A “potent mixture of antioxidants, peptides, and other innovative anti-aging ingredients, these products work synergistically to transform and regenerate your skin for a more youthful appearance.”
- He can skip the sunscreen before bed, obviously, but that leaves time for another third step. A serum or cream that boosts collagen production, replenishes antioxidants, or nourishes the skin with vitamins. This step will increase the benefits his skin gets from a good night’s sleep. SkinCeuticals’ Resveratrol B E is formulated for nighttime use to smooth and protect skin.
- If he has oily skin and is prone to breakouts, adding a pore-clearing toner like Obagi’s CLENZIderm M.D. Pore Therapy can prevent clogging and help keep blemishes under control.
- Where does he work? Occupational skin disorders are caused by workplace factors that include everything from working outdoors, to temperature extremes, to dirt or grease in the air, to the need for repeated hand-washing. His skin care regimen might need to include some solutions like SkinMedica’s TNS Ceramide Treatment Cream to soothe rashes, itchiness, or dry skin caused by his work environment.
Make sure he knows that skin care is a marathon, not a sprint. It is important for him to know how long skincare takes. He will probably notice that his skin is starting to feel great right away, but let him know that it takes three to four months of regular care for the full effect of any skin care regimen to really be seen and felt. That applies to every new product he adds into his routine later, too.
It does not take much to make a difference in maintaining a process for healthy, radiant skin, so even if he starts small, the benefits he will get will be huge in the long run!