Skincare has traditionally been seen as an intrinsically feminine concern. Men were neither expected nor encouraged to care for their skin. However, there has been a gradual change in that perspective over the past decade, with some Asian and European countries seeing men using not only skincare products but cosmetics as well.
As more men become interested in skincare, they find they are facing an information deficit about the topic. Unlike women, few men are taught about skincare in their youth. If this rings true for you, here are a few basic facts about skincare to get you started.
Not All Skin Is Alike
Before you can learn how to start a skincare routine, you need to understand what kind of skin you have. Knowing about your skin will help you choose products that are unique to your needs. Start by understanding that men’s skin is different from women’s skin in a few ways.
- Men’s skin is nearly 25% thicker than women’s skin. This makes them naturally less prone to fine lines and wrinkles, especially in their younger years.
- Older men have less collagen than women of the same age. This means that in mid-life and beyond, men’s skin ages faster than a woman’s.
- Men have more and larger pores than women and their skin produces more oil.
In addition to the differences between masculine and feminine skin, both men and women should know their skin type. There are four basic skin types:
- Normal skin has good color and looks healthy. It is neither oily nor dry.
- Dry skin has no sheen or glow. It can feel rough to the touch and may feel tight and itchy, especially after cleansing.
- Oily skin will have a visible sheen. Pores will be large and whiteheads, blackheads and pimples may be common.
- Combination skin is both oily and dry in different areas. The area known as the T-zone, across the forehead, down the nose and the chin, will tend to be oily. The cheek area tends toward dryness.
Build a Basic Skincare Routine
Once you understand your skin, you can begin to build a regular skincare routine. Cover the basics at first. You can add special treatments for specific concerns as you learn more.
You should cleanse your face twice a day, using a cleanser that is appropriate for your skin type. Many men use the same bar soap on their faces as they do on their bodies. This isn’t ideal. The skin on your face needs a bit more care.
If your skin is oily, start with a foaming wash. If your skin is combination or dry, try a non-foaming cleanser that won’t cause as much drying. You needn’t worry too much about buying products that are made especially for men, although you may want to choose fragrance-free products to avoid the scents that are frequently added to women’s skincare products.
Even oily skin needs a moisturizer to maintain the skin barrier. Dry skin can use richer, more emollient cremes, while oily skin will do best with a lighter lotion that is oil-free. If your skin is very oily, you may not need to moisturize both morning and night. Experiment with what works best for you. You want your skin to be hydrated but not greasy.
This is an essential step that both men and women often neglect. The Cleveland Clinic suggests everyone should use at least an SPF 30 sunscreen on their face daily, even when it is not sunny outside or they don’t intend to be outside for long. Damage caused by the sun happens quickly and accumulates over time.
Good skincare is good for everyone. Men have the same skin issues as women, and like their female counterparts, want to look their best. A solid basic skincare routine is the best place to start.