Male skin care. Perhaps one of the most overlooked protocols of maintaining good health.
Men generally care less about their skin than women. We moisturise less, put less sunscreen on and don’t buy as many products that promote skin care as women do.
But skin care for men is important.
Society places a greater emphasis on appearance these days regardless of whether you’re a man or woman. Having bad looking skin can impact your social status.
This is not the only reason men should take care of their skin, of course. Healthy looking male skin can help you look younger as it signifies vitality and vigour.
If you look healthy on the outside then you’ll be healthy on the inside. The skin is the largest organ on the human body. It’s a signifier of health.
This is not an anti-wrinkle article. Wrinkles are inevitable unless you go on botox for the rest of your life. In which case your face will lack emotion and unexpressed feeling.
This is an article on how men should take care of their skin and the best skin care tips you can use to ensure your skin stays healthy as you age.
You probably know your skin is important.
It accounts for around 15 percent of your total body weight, it’s two square metres in size and it replaces itself every 28 days.
The difference between men and women’s skin
There’s a difference in skin care for men than women. This is because men and women’s skin differ in three ways.
Testosterone = thicker skin
The first is a difference in the amount of the male hormone testosterone in the body.
Both men and women have testosterone it’s the primary male hormone so men have more.
Testosterone increases the thickness of the skin by around 25 percent which means men have thicker skin than women.
You could say men’s skin is more durable than women’s so can withstand more ‘abuse’ which is true but it doesn’t you still don’t have to take care of it.
The second reason men’s skin differs from women’s is to do with oil. Something called sebum which is created by oil glands in the skin.
Men generally have more sebum than women which can often cause acne if there is too much of it.
Finally, men have a greater concentration of collagen in their body and a lack of collagen is a sign of ageing. This basically means men have a headstart when it comes to collagen levels than women. It’s said that a woman’s skin is 15 years older than a man of the same age.
Skin care for men. Knowing your skin type
It’s important to understand what kind of skin you have. Some men have more oily skin whereas others have particularly dry skin.
Age and seasonal changes also affect the kind of skin you have. I have combination skin but in the winter it becomes drier.
Skin care for men requires a bespoke approach.
Understanding your skin type combined with your age will allow you to tailor your skin care regime. Most of the tips below are for any skin type but when it comes to choosing a serum and moisturiser try to find the most appropriate one for you.
The image below will help you determine your skin type.
10 skin care tips for men
So, what are the best ways for men to take care of their skin?
What male skin care products should you use? Should you use face moisture specifically made for men? Or is it what you eat that’s important for good skin?
Actually, it’s a combination of a lot of things. Like everything to do with health, there is no quick fix or magic pill. It usually requires a concerted effort and a change in habits. And good skin care for men is no different.
Clean your body with a dry skin brush
When people talk about skin care they are often only referring to facial skin.
Why? Because the face is the most visible and judged part of the body.
Facial features are likely to be the most concerning to us when it comes to appearance. Second to that is body shape.
Skin covers every part of your body. While most of it may not suffer the ravages of sunlight and pollutant exposure it’s important to take care of it.
This is where a dry skin brush comes in.
If you haven’t heard of it, dry skin brushing is exactly that. You use a specialised brush and you use it to brush your skin from feet to shoulders. No water, or anything else. Just brush your skin in a circular motion.
Dry skin brushing exfoliates your body to remove dead skin cells, unclogs your pores and gives your skin a healthier look.
There are a ton of other health benefits to dry skin brushing that goes beyond skin health such as it increases your blood circulation.
It takes a little getting used to as the brush is quite firm but I do it about three times a week before I get in the shower.
Dry skin brushes are worth their cost and they last forever.
- Professional Body Brush for wet or dry skin brushing
- Medium strength natural bristles
- Suitable for those with sensitive skin
I’ve been using a face scrub for years and it’s helped me maintain good face skin into my middle years. Using a face scrub your skin will feel softer and smoother especially just after using it.
A face scrub works by removing dead skin from the face. It’s a cream-like substance with gritty bits in it which you use all over your face.
The benefits of men using a face scrub are:
- It removes dead skin and opens your pores
- It helps clear up acne (a scrub usually contains salicylic acid which helps fight acne)
- You have a better shave after doing it
- It gives a shine to your skin
Men’s face scrubs are different to women’s as they are for a tougher kind of skin.
I exfoliate with the scrub first, wash my face and then I shave if I need to. Some say you should wash first then exfoliate. Doesn’t matter either way really.
You shouldn’t exfoliate with a men’s face scrub every day. Instead do it around two or three times a week. Your face will feel smooth the day after you’ve given it a scrub so you won’t need to use it the following day.
When it comes to men’s face scrubs there are lots of offer and prices vary.
An inexpensive but good one I use and have done for years is Nivea for Men’s face scrub which you can buy on Amazon.
Dermaplane with your regular razor
Ever heard of dermaplaning?
Neither had I until a couple of months ago but since discovering it, I do it regularly.
What is dermaplaning you ask?
In a nutshell, dermaplaning is the clinical name for shaving.
But you shave already, right? But you don’t shave your brow, crow’s feet or the top of your cheeks because no hair grows there.
Dermaplaning is shaving your face on the parts where hair doesn’t grow. When you’re in the shower put a little soap on the parts of your face where there is no stubble and glide the razor along.
Your skin will feel a little sensitive after because you have taken the top layer of it off. What you are feeling is mild inflammation but your skin will feel so smooth afterwards.
I usually dermaplane when I use the face scrub too. Vogue UK has a good primer on it. it’s catered to women but it’s still relevant.
Want a bonus tip?
Dermaplane your nose too.
Another reason why skin care for men requires a different approach. Our skin is thicker, especially on our noses.
Gillette Fusion ProGlides are my razor for dermaplaning and you can buy them from Amazon.
- Health and Beauty
Use men’s face serums
If you can only use a serum or a face moisturiser then go with the serum.
Why? Men’s face serums are highly potent and get deep into your skin with healthy ingredients that are good for it.
This article on the Huffington Post recommends to look for a serum which contains the following:
Antioxidants like pomegranate extract, vitamin C and grape seed extract help protect against possible sun damage and fight the damaging free radicals responsible for much of what we perceive as skin ageing, including fine lines.
Anti-inflammatories, including zinc, arnica, aloe vera and goldenseal, neutralize redness and prevent inflammatory cell damage.
Hydrators such as ceramides, amino acids and essential fatty acids strengthen the skin’s barrier and help build strong cell membranes.
I use TruSkin Natural Vitamin C serum which you can buy on Amazon.
I use it in conjunction with a regular men’s face moisturiser. Apply it lightly, then apply the moisturiser to it and you’re set.
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A daily moisturising routine will keep your skin moist which will help prevent wrinkles from appearing.
Not that wrinkles are bad. As you age, they will undeniably appear, particularly on your brow and crow’s feet.
The latter, crow’s feet, are more like laughter lines. The more times someone has laughed in their life, the deeper the crow’s feet.
When choosing a moisturiser you should know your skin type.
- Dry skin – use a moisturiser that is oil based provided you don’t have acne issues
- Oily skin – either use a moisturiser that is oil free or just use a serum
- Combination skin – use a mid-range moisturiser that’s not too oily. Experiment and see what works for you
- Sensitive skin – use a moisturiser that is free of alcohol, fragrances and preservatives
There are many men’s skin care lines when it comes to buying a moisturiser but always choose one that protects against UV damage.
The leading cause of skin damage is not wearing sunscreen so it’s important to get into the habit of applying a UV protecting moisturiser each day before you leave home.
I’ve used Clinique For Men moisturising cream for years as it’s good quality and it’s SPF21 so protects you from UV light.
- Clinique For Men Broad Spectrum SPF 21 Moisturizer
- Needed hydration plus daily UVA/UVB protection. Improves skin's condition. Lightweight, oil-free formula absorbs quickly.
- 3.4 oz / 100 ml All skin types
Intermittent fasting for clearer skin
Intermittent fasting for me is a wonder protocol. I do it and talk about it a lot because the benefits of intermittent fasting that I get are phenomenal.
For me, it slows the ageing process down in a few ways. I notice the quality of my skin is better when I’m fasting. It feels better when I touch it and it has a glow to it. No joke.
I don’t know what the exact science behind it is but I’m not the first person to say fasting helps their skin look better. It’s because during a fast your body is cleaning out toxins which in turn removes impurities from the skin.
Whether this is the exact science behind it or not, fasting helps you skin look better.
There is also evidence to suggest that fasting is good for people with certain skin conditions such as contact dermatitis, hives, acne and eczema.
If you haven’t tried intermittent fasting give it a go and see how your skin reacts to it.
Dark chocolate for UV protection
Eating dark chocolate is also good for the skin and contains antioxidants that promote blood flow and help protect against UV damage.
Flavanols found in dark chocolate from the cacao bean are a kind of antioxidant that a study has found help protect the skin from UV light.
As a rule of thumb, I only eat dark chocolate with 85 percent cacao or more.
Green & Black’s dark chocolate has a smoother taste whereas Lindt’s dark chocolate is richer in flavour.
- Made with Trinitario cocoa beans.
- 100% organic.
- absolute finest organic quality.
Eating avocados for healthier skin
Eating avocados regularly can help your skin in a number of ways.
Avocados are a good source of the antioxidant carotenoids such as alpha-carotene and beta-carotene which are known to help protect the skin from environmental damage
A diet high in these carotenoids have been shown to help improve skin density, thickness and overall appearance.
Vitamin C and E
Avocados also contain both vitamin C and E both of which contain antioxidants.
Vitamin C is needed for the creation of elastin and collagen, which bind your skin cells together and maintain their firmness and structure.
Vitamin E has been shown to reduce the effects of UVA and UVB radiation from sun exposure on your skin.
Vitamin E is much better for you and your skin when it’s obtained from natural sources like avocados.
Monounsaturated fatty acids
Avocados also contain the monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid which helps keep your skin soft and hydrated.
Oleic acid is an omega-9 fatty acid which is also involved in regenerating damaged skin cells.
The Mexicans knew what they were doing when they invented guacamole.
Fish oil to reduce inflammation
Fish oil contains essential Omega-3 fatty acids and without them will leave your skin thin and dull. Omega-3s support a healthy looking skin through their ability to reduce inflammation which can cause lots of problems for the skin.
Fatty acids can also act as natural moisturisers too.
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Juice with skin-enhancing nutrients
Juicing is one of the best ways to get a lot of nutrients inside you without consuming large unsustainable quantities of foods.
Drink juices with carrots, kale, beets, parsley, ginger, watercress, lemons and hydrolyzed collagen.
Not only are they full of healthy skin producing properties such as beta-carotene and vitamins C and E but also contain tons of other vitamins, minerals and nutrients required for a healthy body.
Skin care for men in the winter
If you live in a country where winters are harsh you’ll know that the cold weather isn’t good for your skin. Particularly the skin on your face and hands.
The freezing weather can make your face dry, red and sensitive. If you’re like me your lips will probably dry up and crack also.
It’s winter. It’s to be expected so don’t think you can completely get away from it. Unless you decide to leave for a sunnier climate that is.
You can mitigate the effects of the cold winter on your skin by doing the following.
- Wear gloves. A no-brainer but wearing gloves will protect your hands from becoming cracked
- Put dry hand cream on. I have dry hands in the winter from my building site days so I use E45 hand cream which works wonders
- Wear dry skin cream. If your face is feeling the full force of the freeze then try a dry face skin cream. Again, I sometimes use E45 moisturising lotion which is suitable for the face if I particularly feeling the wrath of the cold
Skin care for men in the summer
Skin care for men in the summer is about protecting your skin from the sun and ensuring it’s adequately moisturised.
Regardless of whether it’s sunny or not you still have to protect your skin from UV light, therefore, it’s always important to wear protection.
In the sunshine, particularly when temperatures are high, you have to prevent your skin from being burnt.
To help your skin in the summer do the following:
- Wash more regularly to remove sweat and build up of bacteria
- Wear protective clothing like a hat to shade your face
- Apply sunblock of SPF 30 or higher when going out in the sunshine. Neutrogena UltraSheer is good.
- Use an after-sun with aloe vera
- 3-fluid ounce bottle of sunscreen lotion
- Broad Spectrum SPF 30 helps prevent sunburn
- Helioplex Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB protection
Skin care for men is a bespoke area as it depends on different criteria. The type of skin you have, where you live and not to mention what your budget is as men’s skin care products can vary in price.
The key thing to remember is it’s all about consistency. Every man’s skin deteriorates as he ages but you can slow down the process provided you get into a skin care routine.
You want to make it so your skin care routine becomes second nature just like brushing your teeth is.
It’s a long game too.
If you’re in your early 20s and have a good skin care routine in place now your greatest benefits are going to come when you’re in your 30s and 40s as people will comment on how good your skin looks for your age.
If you’re in your 40s and haven’t taken much care of your skin over the years, you’re more doing damage limitation more than anything else.
Regardless of your age the best time to start taking care of your skin was ten years ago. The second best time is right now.