Face Care for Men Demystified

Dr. Patrick Carroll, MD
Medically reviewed by Patrick Carroll, MD Written by Our Editorial Team Last updated 9/19/2019

The words “skin care” don’t normally appear in our day-to-day conversations, and we’re not really sure why. It’s common sense to us that all good men should take care of our skin the same way we do our hair, our fingernails and our clothing. 

Want to talk about boots with somebody? They’ll talk about that shit all day. Want to know where a man gets his haircut? He’ll tell you like a giddy schoolgirl. Want to know how much that selvedge denim wrapped around that dude’s legs at the coffee shop costs? He’s into it.

But ask a guy how he keeps his skin so clear and fresh-looking, and suddenly you’re being looked at like you’re Hannibal Lecter.

It’s more than a little ridiculous.

Make no mistake, fellas. A good skin care routine is a damn necessity, and today, we’re gonna teach you how it’s done. Here’s the hims guide to face care:

What You Don’t Need

We’d wager that 80 percent of you reading this are genuinely interested — but also nervous — about learning more about keeping the skin on your face looking healthy, clear and fresh. The other 20 percent of you are here because we said “shit” in the fourth sentence, and you appreciate our moxie. 

Either way, we’re glad you’re here.

The truth is the reason why most men are turned off by face care — or skin care, in general — is because it seems daunting. We see all the commercials for the serums and the masks and the special water and all that other crap that none of us understand — but spokespeople and “real customers” swear by — and we decide it’s just too much.

But you don’t need all that stuff to take care of your face. 

All you really need is a good facial cleanser, a facial moisturizer, an exfoliating scrub, a wrinkle cream and if you’re feeling extra attentive, a serum. 

We’ll go through each of these products below, but first, let’s talk about why you should care about this stuff.

Common Skin Problems Among Men

The majority of people who don’t really adhere to some kind of face care regimen are generally of the disposition that the skin on our faces is just fine. You’re handsome, and it’s not like you’re dying without it. So why care about this stuff?

Well, if that’s the way we’re going to approach it, we might as well ask what the big deal about your wardrobe is when Walmart has shirts for three bucks a pop and jeans a few bucks more. Why invest in a good pair of boots when you can buy knock-offs for an eighth of the price? Hell, why go to the barber twice a month? Hair is hair, and yours works just fine.

This is all true. These things work just fine. But we take time and effort to invest in the good stuff because we know the difference. Why settle for good when you can have great? 

And that’s what brings us here.

Men suffer from skin care issues just like everyone else does. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Wrinkles
  • Blotchy skin
  • Bags under eyes
  • Deep lines
  • Dryness
  • Acne

How to Take Care of That Crap

Right now, you’re sitting wherever you are, going through that checklist and having a bit of an epiphany. You have started noticing some wrinkles near your eyes and around your mouth. You do have a couple blotchy patches you’ve pretended to ignore for some time. You do have the same forehead lines you used to make fun of your dad for. 

In short: You’re realizing there’s some work to be done. 

Wrinkles

You’ve heard it since you were a kid: wrinkles are a part of life. That’s true, and usually the person who says it to you goes on some rant about how wrinkles are indicative of life experience and wisdom. But the other truth is that you don’t just have to accept wrinkles  — there are things you can do to help keep that baby smooth skin.

The first line of defense against wrinkles is a good wrinkle cream. These creams are generally applied in the evening, right before bed and right after you’ve cleansed your skin. They’re different from regular a.m./p.m. moisturizers because they’re usually thicker and more effective against wrinkles. The good ones use ingredients like caffeine and hyaluronic acid, which work wonders on the effects of aging and have been shown to make skin look younger and fresher.

If you’re noticing more severe wrinkles, you can consult with a dermatologist about tretinoin cream, which works by increasing skin cell turnover and promoting new skin cell growth.

Blotchy Skin

“Blotchy” is a vague term that can be used to describe anything from dark spots and age spots, to hyperpigmentation caused by prolonged sun damage.  There are a bunch of ways to help remedy blotchy skin, but a lot of them are pretty intense and include everything from bleaching with niacinamide, to promoting skin growth through cryotherapy, to microdermabrasion, which literally involves sanding the outermost layer of your skin off. 

If you’re looking for something a little less drastic, tretinoin cream has been clinically proven to help not only reduce the physical signs of aging, but also the age spots and sun damage we all fall victim to over time.  

Bags Under Eyes

Depending on the severity of your under-eye bags, you could get away with just modifying your diet to include more foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin K — fruits and veggies like blueberries, broccoli, red peppers, etc. 

If that doesn’t work, you can do the “cucumber slices over the eyes” thing. Seriously, it works.

If all else fails, there are dedicated eye creams that can be applied directly to those awful bags in order to help moisturize the skin and rejuvenate it with vitamins C and K.

Deep Lines

Some people believe there’s simply nothing you can do about those gnarly deep lines that develop on your forehead over time, but that’s not true.  

While it’s true that once a wrinkle is there, it’ll never really go away without the help of things like botox and microdermabrasion therapy, there are still plenty of things you can do to help mitigate the visual appearance of those wrinkles.

The first is to moisturize daily. The reason why lines develop to begin with is because when your skin is dry, those plump, beautiful, healthy skin cells you have are turned into shriveled wrinkly ones. Those wrinkles develop because the skin becomes dehydrated overtime and more susceptible to wrinkles and creases. 

You should also consider wearing sunscreen — even when it’s not sunny and even in the winter. UV rays are the biggest obstacle standing in the way of healthy skin, and proper UV protection is the best way to ensure as little damage as possible. 

Finally, if you don’t want to consider more invasive options like botox or microdermabrasion, you may want to consider a tretinoin cream. The same way they work wonders on small stuff, tretinoin is also known as an excellent way to lessen the severity of the big stuff. 

Dryness

This one is the easy part. Whether you’re in your 50s or a young bull grinding your way through your 20s and 30s, the fact is that just going about your day-to-day business contributes to drying out your skin. 

You should be cleansing it twice a day, moisturizing it in the a.m. and p.m. and using a solid wrinkle cream at night to help your body recover from its harsh exposure to the elements. 

If you want to make sure you’re doing every little thing for your skin, a good serum with vitamin C in it will work wonders. In fact, we dare say that if you’re really wanting to keep  — or rediscover — that youthful glow, you should be using a serum

Serum is highly concentrated and includes all of the good stuff and none of the fluff. It’s a little on the spendy side, but it is worth it. 

Acne

Finally, there’s acne. We think it stops when our balls drop and our mustache whiskers grow in, but as we can all attest, such is not the case. 

Acne can occur in adults for a lot of reasons, ranging from genetics, to psychological issues like stress, to physical ones like poor hygiene, low quality hair and skin products, poor diet, etc. Hell, it can even be a symptom of certain medical conditions like diabetes

If you’re working with acne, the first thing you should do is make sure you’re drinking enough water. Keeping your skin hydrated and healthy is the best defense against clogged pores and poorly functioning skin. 

You should also consider having a look at your diet. It’s not so much greasy foods like French fries and bacon that lead to poor skin health, but foods with a high glycemic index that are really the culprits. These foods include things like white rice, pasta, cookies and cakes. 

Essentially, stuff with “empty carbs” and lots of sugar are guaranteed ways to fuck your skin up. Treat yourself from time to time, but consider being more cautious.

Also, make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your face clean and exfoliating. The right moisturizers won’t clog your pores. Cleansing your face at least twice a day and keeping it clean of dirt and debris is also an excellent start. Don’t forget to use an exfoliating scrub a few times a week to get rid of the dead skin cells sitting on your skin that can clog your pores. 

And if that’s still not helping your situation, it’s always a good idea to consult with your dermatologist about what your options are. There are a bunch of prescription medications out there, with tretinoin being one of the most popular. 

Want to learn more about how your diet can affect your skin health? We got you, bro

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.