Effective skincare takes more than just washing your face with soap. It requires commitment and consistency, but that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. Here’s how to build a simple men’s skincare routine with minimum effort.
“Why don’t men take better care of their skin?” Is a question that frequently pops up on lifestyle blogs and skincare forums alike. Why is it that most women have some form of a regimen down pat while their male counterparts can’t differentiate between a body wash and a face cleanser? Is it naivety or sheer laziness? One of the reasons could be the commonly perpetuated stereotype that only women need to invest in skincare, or that men age better hence they don’t need anything additional. While on the other hand, some men might have taken a stroll along the skincare aisle but thanks to the sheer volume of product options, felt daunted, confused or even baffled. Before we continue, remember that this is not an attempt to fuel the stereotypes even further because there are some men that are indeed obsessed with skincare. But that doesn’t hide the fact that most of them simply don’t care.
Well quite frankly they, and you, should care. Good skincare is one of the most powerful tools we have against common issues men face: excessive oiliness, acne and sun damage to name a few. And in both the short and long term, a few key ingredients could make all the difference. After all, building a skincare routine from scratch takes only a few simple steps, and you would be surprised by how much better your skin will begin to look and feel, only in a matter of weeks.
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The difference between male and female skin
Most people think that both men and women have the same kind of skin, hence all skincare techniques are unisex. While a lot of skincare products can be used by all genders, there are some features that differentiate male and female skin. A research paper by Dr F. Fanian, MD, Research and Studies Center on the Integument, Department of Dermatology, Besançon University Hospital, France, identifies these differences as the following:
Men have thicker skin: Scientifically speaking, the deeper layer of your skin called the dermis is about twenty percent thicker than that of women. This is why men tend to have fewer fine lines than women. However, this makes men more prone to deep wrinkles like frown lines and smile lines.
Collagen depletion happens slowly in male skin: Collagen is a protein that keeps our skin firm and right but as we age, our body starts producing less and less of this protein. Men lose collagen at a constant rate throughout their adult lives while women lose less collagen when they’re young but the process accelerates soon after menopause. In simple terms, male skin has the ability to retain collagen for a longer period as compared to female skin.
Men tend to have more active sebaceous glands: Not only do men have more sebaceous glands, but they also produce around twice as much oil as women do. This is why men are more prone to clogged pores and acne. One of the main reasons behind this would be high levels of testosterone.
Male skin has a higher risk for irritation: There are many biological differences between male and female skin, but there’s one problem we create ourselves: shaving. While both men and women shave their skin, men do it way more frequently and that can leave your skin prone to sensitivity and plenty of bacterial infections.
Easy Skincare Routine for Men
If you are a beginner then these are the only skincare steps you need to adopt. Focus on consistently following a simple routine rather than buying too many products that you’ll end up discarding.
Step one: Cleanser
Whatever you do, never wash your face with body soap. According to research by Dr Russel M Walters, Johnson & Johnson Corporation, New Jersey, USA, surfactants are a major component of soap and can disrupt the skin’s molecular structure and degrade its barrier properties leading to unhealthy skin. Instead, pick a face wash or cleanser that contains hydrating ingredients like ceramides. And if you have acne-prone skin then you might want to get a face wash that also contains salicylic acid.
Wash your face twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the evening. Cleansing in the morning is important because it gets rid of the oil that your skin builds up overnight while doing so in the evening is even more beneficial because it removes all the dirt, sebum and other pollutants that have collected on your skin throughout the day. Here’s a mini-guide to help you pick the correct cleanser:
• If you have oily skin: Foaming face-wash
• If you have dry skin: Cream-based cleanser
• If you have sensitive skin: Oil-based cleanser
• If you have normal skin: Any gentle cleanser
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Step two: Serum
Think of serums as potent potions that are meant to impart active ingredients more quickly and effectively to your skin. Always remember that no matter your skin concern, there is a serum for that. Here are some basic ones that everyone can use:
• Salicylic acid serum helps gently exfoliate the skin while also preventing acne.
• Hyaluronic acid serum seals in hydration and gives you a plump complexion.
• Vitamin C serums can be used every day in the morning as they are a powerful ally for your SPF. They also help brighten dull skin and decrease dark spots.
• Niacinamide serum helps reduce skin redness by decreasing inflammation.
Step three: Moisturiser
The job of a good moisturiser is to hydrate and soften your skin without lending any excessive oiliness to your complexion. Most men don’t like to put on a moisturiser because it feels heavy on their skin. But that can be easily solved by looking for more lightweight formulas. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using your moisturiser on a slightly damp face so that your skin can seal in the moisture better. People of all ages and skin types should use a moisturising cream or lotion every day but the texture can vary according to your skin type. Refer to this guide before beginning:
• If you have oily skin: Gel-based moisturiser
• If you have normal skin: Lotion-based moisturiser
• If you have dry skin: Cream-based moisturiser
• If you have sensitive skin: Balm-based moisturiser
Most men tend to have oily skin so lightweight gel-based moisturisers are generally considered the best option.
Step four: Sunscreen
Now coming to the most important step of any skincare routine, SPF is vital. Seriously, if you’re not putting on sunscreen, none of the products you apply are going to work effectively. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, New York, USA, daily application of sunscreen decreases your risk of skin cancer and helps prevent premature skin ageing. If you’re skipping this step, then nothing else really makes sense.
To make things super easy, look for a broad range mineral sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 to start with. Mineral sunscreens are better for sensitive skin as compared to chemical ones and trust us, you don’t want those chemicals anywhere near your freshly shaved face.
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