Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 6/07/2019
We get it, you’re busy. Everyone is these days. And though “busy” can’t be a valid excuse for everything good for you that you decide to skip out on, it can motivate you to find speedier, more efficient methods for things like skin care.
Skin care is like a healthy diet or regular exercise—it can be hard to stick with. But, like a healthy diet and fitness, skin care doesn’t only make you feel better, it can make you look better.
If you’re a busy man who understands the importance of caring for your skin, but just doesn’t have the time for a daily spa treatment, rest assured you can get the same benefits in less than 5 minutes, twice a day. As a matter of fact, unlike exercise, skin care routines don’t get better with each minute you spend on them.
Scrubbing your face for 20 minutes, for instance, would do more damage than good. Think of the skin on your face like the ideal relationship, where you can invest short, intensive blocks of time to showing it that you care, and let the rest take care of itself.
Really, there are two things you need to remember to make caring for your skin a regular, low-maintenance habit:
Don’t over-complicate it. Your skin is pretty simple. It needs to be cleaned, protected, and any problems addressed. It doesn’t need a laundry list of costly products with obscure ingredients, applied in precisely the right way for extended lengths of time. If you’re spending more than 10 minutes on your skin in the morning, you are doing too much. Though overcrowded drug store shelves may illustrate otherwise, proper skin care should be simple.
Commit to two weeks of consistent care. Creating a habit takes time and in those initial days, you’ll need to practice some self-discipline. By committing to two weeks of consistent skin care, you can create a habit that lasts.
So, in those two weeks, what do you do? You set aside just 5 minutes in your morning and evening routine for your face.
Choose a cleanser that’s appropriate for your skin type.
OIly skin sufferers do best with a liquid, oil-free cleanser. If you also suffer from acne, seek out something with either benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to help keep oil at bay.
Normal and combination skin guys can go with something made for daily cleansing. Look for a gentle cleansing cream or liquid that’s labeled for normal skin.
Dry skin needs extra moisture, so look for a hydrating cream cleanser. Because too much product could further irritate your skin, you may find you only need to use a cleanser once a day, and the other time lukewarm water will suffice.
Sensitive skin sufferers should always seek out products that are labeled as hypoallergenic. They’ll have fewer irritants that can cause flare-ups and irritation. Like dry skin sufferers, you may benefit from using a cleanser only once daily.
Time-saver: if you shower each morning, do your morning cleansing in the shower. No need to rewet and wash your face again at the sink when you’re out.
If you have pretty simply skin care needs, with no glaring problems, you may be able to skip this section and save yourself some time. However, if you suffer from acne breakouts specifically, you’ll want to take a minute to apply an extra product.
Look for a spot and all-over acne treatment in one. The fewer products you have to apply, the less time it takes. Both spot and all-over acne treatments should come with ingredients that control oil. Most popular are benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. A pea to dime-size amount should be enough to cover your face.
Time-saver: Once your acne is under control, you may only need to use a drying product once a day.
Finally, you’ll want to keep your skin healthy once you’ve prepared it for the day (or night). Everyone, no matter their skin type, needs a moisturizer. Obviously, men with oily skin will seek out an oil-free variety, whereas men with dry skin can opt for something more intensive.
If you’re fighting the signs of aging, you may use a different moisturizer at night—one specifically create to help lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Products with retinols and antioxidants are particularly good for this purpose.
Finally, no matter your skin type, you need to ensure your daytime moisturizer has sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends one with broad-spectrum protection and SPF 30 or higher. Fortunately, most good moisturizers these days contain sunscreen.
Time-saver: Look for products that pull double-duty. A moisturizer with sunscreen that also helps fight acne or the signs of aging means you’ll have fewer bottles on your bathroom shelf and spend less time perfecting your complexion each day.
Like most aspects of good health, healthy skin starts from the inside. You can prevent problems like early aging and acne by taking care of your general health, ensuring your morning and evening skin care routines never get too intensive:
Don’t smoke. Smoking contributes to the early signs of aging and, quite frankly, it makes you look bad.
Drink plenty of water. Your skin depends on proper hydration, and this doesn’t only come from a good moisturizer.
Protect your skin from the sun. Use sunscreen, but also seek out shade and wear a hat when you’ll be in the sun all day.
Eat your fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce contains vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants, that can contribute to healthier looking skin.
Don’t stress. That line between your eyes is not a good look and staying up all night stewing about a work project won’t do your skin any favors either.
Creating a skin care regimen that lasts and doesn’t take all day isn’t difficult. More than anything, it requires discipline. Considering the time investment is less than 10 minutes total, each day, it should be far easier to create a healthy complexion than, say, lose that spare tire around your midsection.
Plus, you can always hide the belly with clothing; ski masks, on the other hand, don’t typically go over well.
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