Skincare for Men: Everything You Need to Know to Start a Skin-Care Routine

Gone are the days when skincare was only associated with women. More and more men are now using face creams, moisturizer, scrubs and other beauty products for good skin. The growing demand has also led to special products designed keeping in mind the different skin types of men. Additionally, one cannot deny the fact that men also require skincare as they go through harsh weather conditions. As the festive season is approaching, both men and women would want their skin to radiate.

Maintaining natural glow and protection from the sun are some of the basic things we all need for a good skin.

You’re Starting With the Man in the Mirror

There’s no single universal best skin-care routine, because everyone’s skin is different. Instead, there are two important concepts when it comes to figuring out the right routine for you: skin type and skin concern.
Skin type: refers to your skin’s neutral disposition—what it’s naturally like if you’re not doing anything at all. The most common skin types are dry, normal, and oily. Dry skin, is found on someone with small pores and tight-feeling skin, who doesn’t get oily throughout the day. Normal skin doesn’t get oily, but generally doesn’t feel tight or uncomfortable. Oily is someone who gets large pores and can build up oil throughout the day, most commonly around the nose and forehead.
Skin concern: is a little bit different: It’s what’s happening on your face that you’d specifically like to address. This refers to specific skin issues, like signs of aging, acne, hyperpigmentation, or redness and irritation. Products are often formulated to address a specific concern.

The Steps

You can certainly get fancier with it, but a complete skin-care routine has just five basic steps:

1. Cleanser
2. Toner
3. Serum
4. Eye Cream
5. Moisturizer

Until this becomes second nature, write it down on a sticky note and place it on your bathroom mirror, or keep this list handy on your phone.

Step One: Cleanse

To all the discourse about men finally washing their damn hands because of the pandemic, allow me to add: Wash your damn face too. Cleansing is important, morning and night . It removes toxins and oils, gets rid of bacteria from [you] touching your face, and any debris, sunscreens, or topical products you’ve applied. Beyond hygiene, cleansing allows any products you apply afterward to be properly absorbed by the skin for maximum efficacy.

Washing your face is simple. Most products—including all of those listed here—just require you to wet your face with warm water, then place a nickel-size amount of product onto your fingertips. Rub your hands together a few times to activate the lather, then work your hands all over your face in circles everywhere above the collarbone for about 30 seconds. If you have a beard, spend another 15 seconds or so really working the product into the skin, using the pads of your fingers to rub more forcefully up and down against the grain of your hair.

After you’re done, splash all over with warm water and grab a towel to pat—not rub!—the skin until it’s just shy of dry. Slightly damp skin is ideal for your next step.

Guys with dry skin would be well advised to look for products that say “gentle” or “cream” on the label. . Those with oilier skin should look for gel formulas. Normal types could pretty much go in any direction. If you have acne-prone skin, you may want to take this one step further by using a formula with salicylic acid, which can treat blemishes as you wash.

Step Two: Tone

Toning is a step that’s often skipped, but skin-care devotees tend to take it very seriously. If cleansing is cleaning your canvas, toning is sort of putting down primer before you paint. Toning is particularly helpful for guys dealing with acne, ingrown hairs, or signs of aging.

Toner is typically applied by dousing a cotton pad and then rubbing it all over your face and neck, but some aestheticians say it can also be applied by putting a quarter-size amount of product into one palm, placing your hands together, then pressing them onto the forehead, cheeks, and neck, blending it in with the fingertips where necessary.

For acne or ingrown, you’ll want a toner with a high concentration of lactic or salicylic acid—ideally in combination with more soothing ingredients like aloe.

Step Three: Serum

If you’re a skin-care novice, there’s a good chance this is one product category that’s not already in your medicine cabinet. Which is a shame, because it might be the most important. A serum is a product with a gel or light lotion consistency that contains a high concentration of performance ingredients. If you want to up your game, serums are the way to go.

Serums usually come in a scientific-feeling dropper bottle—put two to three drops from the pipette onto your fingertips, then rub your hands together and apply in quick, swiping motions across your forehead, from the bridge of the nose outward toward the cheeks, and then use whatever’s left to glide over the neck and jawline.

Pick a serum to address your chief skin concern rather than skin type. If you have multiple concerns, rotate them by applying one in the morning and one at night, or alternate each day.

If lines, sagging, and other signs of aging are your concern, use a retinol serum. Retinol can be particularly hard on sensitive skin, so be sure to start using it just at nighttime, every other night, and monitor your appearance in the morning for redness—discontinue use and try waiting another day before resuming if it’s irritating you. Retinol also increases your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. If you have a big day in the sun or a vacation planned, take a break for one week ahead of time.

If dryness is your concern—or you just want something to instantly make you look healthier—try hyaluronic acid.

For guys dealing with hyperpigmentation or dullness, look for products that say “brightening” on the label. Typically, these will have a high dose of Vitamin C, a staple ingredient that fades away dark spots caused by the sun. 

And finally, as mentioned before, acne-prone guys will want to stick to salicylic acid serum, to fight breakouts and remove congestion from their pores.

Step Four: Eye Cream

The skin underneath your eyes is the thinnest on your face aside from your lips, which means you need to be particularly gentle here. Luckily, eye creams are pretty straightforward in that they tackle puffiness, dryness, or dark circles. Whatever the product is, the application is the same: Place one half to a full pump of product onto the pad of your ring finger, then press your other ring finger against it to distribute the formula evenly. Tap the ring fingers along the outsides of the eyes and bring them inward, continuing the tapping until the product is mostly absorbed. (We use the ring finger because it’s the weakest on the hand, thus reducing the likelihood of pulling or tugging at the area.)

Step Five: Moisturizer

It’s one step, but you’ll want to pick up two different moisturizers for the morning and evening.

In the morning, you’ll want to slap on a lighter product with a minimum of SPF 30 before going outside. (Protecting ourselves from sun damage is not just vanity about wrinkles or dark spots—it’s also our best line of defense against skin cancer.) Try a formula that’s weightless and sheer as your finishing touch.

For nighttime, finish your routine with a moisturizer that’s rich enough to soak into your skin without causing clogged pores or breakouts.

Apply moisturizer by putting a nickel-size amount of product to your fingertips, then rub in between your hands. Cover your face by swiping in quick motions across the forehead, down the cheeks, and along the neck until the product is absorbed into the skin. That’s it! You’ve got a skin-care routine. 

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