Medically reviewed by Mary Lucas, MSCIS, MPhil, RN
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 10/23/2021
If you want a flawless complexion — and, really, who doesn’t — it’s important to make sure you’re using solid skincare products.
But when it comes to the best skincare products for men: Which ones are important to use and what should you consider when purchasing them? Let’s dig in.
Before you fill your medicine cabinet with skincare products, you need to figure out what type of skin you have. Generally, there are thought to be three basic skin types:
Dry Skin: Often flaky, itchy or rough — this skin type needs moisture! Dryness has a tendency to make it look like you have dull skin.
Oily Skin: Your skin is often greasy and shiny.
Combination Skin: Some areas of your skin are dry, while others are slick.
But we’re not done quite yet. Once you figure out which skin type you have, there are two other factors that can further help you determine what types of products you may need. They are:
Sensitive Skin: Does your skin sting or burn after using certain products? You probably have sensitive skin and may need products with soothing ingredients.
Normal Skin: Clear and balanced, your skin isn’t dry, oily or sensitive. Go you!
Armed with this info, you can now make better decisions for your skin. If you’re dry, focusing on adding moisture is important. If you are sensitive, you’ll want gentle products.
Ready to figure out what your best skincare products might be? Here are the basics:
Clean skin is a must. Not only will washing your face refresh you, it has proven skin benefits.
Research has shown that using a quality cleanser in combination with a moisturizer can keep skin healthy and reduce acne.
Ideally, you’ll want to go for a non-abrasive face wash that doesn’t contain alcohol, since that can dry your skin.
Another word you can look for on the label is “non-comedogenic.” This denotes that the product won’t clog your pores.
If you have a beard, you’ll want to use your finger tips to massage the cleanser into your skin beneath the hair to make sure it really gets in there.
If we had to pick an MVP of skincare products, it might be moisturizer. This will make more sense once you understand how your skin stays hydrated.
Your skin naturally hydrates itself from your sebaceous glands, which naturally secrete oil to keep your skin lubricated and maintain a protective barrier.
But that barrier can be worn away by sun exposure and other skin irritants. This is what makes moisturizing so key.
A warning: Even if you have oily skin, you need moisturizer. If you let your skin get dry, it sends a signal to your body to produce even more oil, and this excessive oil can clog your pores, creating more problems.
That said, if you have oily skin or deal with acne, choose a moisturizer that is oil-free and non-comedogenic.
This moisturizer for men works for all skin types.
Ideally, for ultimate hydration, if your moisturizer contains hyaluronic acid, you want it to be in molecules of varying sizes.
Lactic acid helps skin in the sense that it has been found to boost firmness and increase smoothness.
If you have a beard, you’ll want to use your regular moisturizer on the non-hairy parts of your face. Then, to reach the skin under your beard, try a beard oil or conditioner.
For best results, apply some of the oil onto your fingertips and massage it into the skin underneath the hair. Bonus: By moisturizing the skin under your beard, you should find your skin itches less.
You’ve heard it before: Sunscreen is truly important.
Beyond the fact that not using sunscreen can increase your chances of skin cancer, sun damage can cause wrinkles.
Research has shown that UV exposure may reduce elastic properties in the skin, causing sagging and wrinkles.
So, you want to add sunscreen with a sufficient level of skin protection factor (SPF) to your skincare routine on the daily.
By the way, even if it’s overcast, harmful rays can penetrate your skin.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a broad-spectrum formula (this means it protects from UVA and UVB rays) and a minimum of SPF 30.
Do you tend to break out? Acne treatments can help you with that.
If you have mild acne, over-the-counter spot treatments made with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid may be able to help.
Dealing with more severe acne? Among other things, this could be caused by an abundance of testosterone. Prescription strength medications like tretinoin or clindamycin could be good options. This acne cream contains both.
Not loving the crinkles in the delicate skin around your eyes? One clinical trial found that use of an eye cream for at least four weeks improved the appearance of those wrinkles.
Translation: You may want to consider using a moisturizing cream specifically made for that eye skin.
But what exactly should you look for? There are a few ingredients that may help. Vitamin C has been found to reduce visible signs of aging.
Another study suggests that a formulation containing caffeine and vitamin K can help minimize the appearance of dark under eye circles.
If wrinkles are a concern, a cream made specifically for aging skin can improve texture and reduce fine lines.
For maximum benefits, go with a prescription-grade anti-aging treatment.
A tip: These types of skincare creams are often potent. Because of this, a healthcare professional may suggest you begin using one just a few days a week before building up to every day.
You don’t have to use a serum, but many people like the benefits they deliver. So, consider it a bonus product for your skincare arsenal.
What are serums? They’re highly concentrated formulas designed to address specific skin issues — like dryness or dullness.
If you want help with aging skin, look for a serum containing vitamin C (bonus: this also helps dark spots), vitamin E, ferulic acid, tea polyphenols or resveratrol.
This Morning Glow Vitamin C Serum is a good one to try.
If it’s dryness you want to address, vitamin E or glycolic acid can help reveal brighter skin.
Now that you know what the best skincare products for men might be, you may be wondering how to use them. Here’s a quick cheat sheet for your skincare regimen.
There are two words you need to remember in the morning: hydrate and protect. When you wake up, follow these steps to do just that:
Apply that face wash: Using lukewarm water, wet your face. Then use your fingertips to massage a cleanser over your skin before rinsing and patting it dry.
Slather on a daily moisturizer: Next, hydrate your skin to help it stay that way all day.
Whip out the SPF: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 all over your face, neck and chest for maximum protection. Don’t forget your ears.
Getting ready for bed? Go through these steps first.
Bring out the face wash again: Cleansing your face at the end of the day will wash away any impurities that made their way to your face.
Try an acne treatment: Dealing with blemishes? Apply an acne treatment before any other products so that it can easily soak into your skin.
Reach for serum, wrinkle cream and eye cream: If there are other skin issues you want to address, now is that time to use those products that will help.
Moisturizer: Since your skin has all night to absorb it, go for deep hydration with a richer night cream.
The first step to finding the right products for your skin is to figure out what type of skin you have.
From there, you’ll know what types of ingredients look for in your products. For example, if you have dry skin, you may want products with hyaluronic acid.
Whereas those with oily skin types may want to look for oil-free formulas.
And if you have older skin, you’ll want to focus on anti-aging ingredients.
Once you do that, you’ll want to fill your skincare routine with products that cleanse, moisturize, protect and address any skin concerns you may have.
If you need further help figuring out what you may need for healthy skin or to address any skin issues you might be experiencing, speak to a healthcare professional for personalized treatment suggestions and results.
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