This post is for all of the awesome men out there who are searching for a simple yet effective skin care routine to help men age gracefully.
There are some distinct differences between men and women when it comes to the aging process and it is all quite intriguing (and I’m quite envious of you men to be honest). Most men are interested in aging gracefully and are equally concerned as women about preserving a youthful look and having healthy skin.
The difference between the genders however is that men typically don’t dwell on wrinkle prevention until later in their years when wrinkles actually appear, although Millennial tend to be more attuned and this is likely because of the big anti aging era (hello – $250+ billion annually) that we now live in. Women on the other hand have always been searching for the anti aging silver bullet. (Cleopatra bathed daily in donkey milk to help moisturize and exfoliate her skin) That’s a lot of donkeys.
Good Ol’ Basics
Regardless of gender, it goes without saying that both sexes can help turn back the clock by simply focusing on the good old’ basics – maintaining optimum health through a healthy diet, exercise, sleep and good mental health. Following a simple, yet effective daily skin care regimen will also help in wrinkle prevention and this post will focus on just that. Let’s take a closer look at the aging process for men and understand why aging men have earned the term “distinguished” looking.
So gentlemen….you have won the lottery when it comes to wrinkle defiant skin. Thanks to your testosterone levels, your skin is thicker, oilier and is packed with more collagen than a woman’s.
Although you lose collagen on a consistent basis just like we do, your collagen density is higher than women and you lose it later in life but when you do it tends to happen quickly. If you pay close attention to the male Hollywood actors, they look ageless for decades and then one day….poof…they suddenly looked more aged. (a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point)
Your sebum levels make your skin oilier however it also helps prevent dryness which is a major contributor to premature aging. The downside to higher sebum levels can however lead to larger pores, longer lasting acne challenges as well as redness or rosacea.
Men’s Thicker Skin
Not only is your skin 20-25% thicker, it is also tougher. Keep in mind this varies based on where you live, your age and sex. Both of these attributes lend well to delayed onset of wrinkles. (how lucky are you.)
You tend to sweat a lot more than women which allows for your skin to be better hydrated which in turn requires less application of a hydrating moisturizer. Excess sweating and production of Lactic Acid, a known natural humectant for the skin, is responsible for the level of tissue hydration.
Shaver…man’s best friend
Shaving. Unless you are rocking some kind of beard, the daily habit of shaving is one of the best things you can do for your skin and for wrinkle prevention. Think of it as your daily face workout. In addition to daily exfoliation, several muscles are used throughout the face as you move and contort your cheeks to get the closest shave possible. (Remember to use a shave cream or gel that is appropriate for your skin type to help reduce irritation and redness for those with sensitive skin).
Women, on the other hand, search high and low for facial exercises to help mimic the shaving process in order to strengthen the jowl muscles. Although face shaving is becoming a “thing” for women, I personally have not tried it for fear of my peach fuzz turning into man stubble.
Keep it Simple
Men want something that is quick, simple and effective and focuses on the basic principles of skincare – cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize, protect. Serums, under eye creams, masks and toners will help men achieve younger looking skin however a quick and essential routine work for many. Let’s get into it, shall we?
First Things First
You can buy the most expensive skin care products on the market but they will have a difficult time helping you fight the aging process if you don’t do your part including: a) eating properly b) hydrating yourself c) getting quality sleep d) stopping excessive drinking and for pete’s sake…stop smoking! These fundamental aspects have been touted to death and there is no need for me to regurgitate them in this post. Let’s talk skin care routine!
Men’s Simple Skin Care Routine
This is a no-brainer and for men in particular this is a biggie since your skin is exposed to the free radicals floating around all day (as opposed to women who have a makeup barrier). A clean face is not only a healthy face, but it prepares your skin for all the goodness that you will be applying after cleansing. Cleanse in the morning and before hitting the hay to ensure the day’s grime and overnight bacteria are removed. The best cleansers for men are based on skin type, so ensure you are choosing the most appropriate cleanser for your face:
- Normal Skin – You have normal skin if you generally have no particular skin issues, not overly dry, sensitive or oily. Any good quality cleanser will work for you whether it be foamy, gel or cream and what you decide on really comes down to your preference.
- Dry Skin – You have dry skin if your skin looks and feels dry, tight or if you experience flaky skin. Hydrating cleansers with emollient ingredients work best for you and ideally should include ingredients such as aloe, glycerin and natural oils such as apricot kernel oil or squalene. Also, hyaluronic acid is your best friend when it comes to cleansing or moisturizing.
- Sensitive Skin – You have sensitive skin if shaving or cleansing tends to irritate your skin, leaving it raw, red or itchy. Cleansers that have soothing properties such as aloe, algae extract, calendula would benefit your skin.
- Oily Skin – You have oily skin if your pores are quite visible, your face looks a bit shiny throughout the day or you tend to have blackheads particularly around the T zone. If you blot your forehead with a tissue midday and you see oil on it, then you have oily skin. Don’t fret though, the increased sebum levels in your skin helps delay the onset of wrinkles because the sebum or oil is keeping your skin hydrated.
- Combination Skin – You have combination skin when your T zone (forehead, nose, chin) reacts differently to cleansers and moisturizers than your cheeks. This is a very common skin type and it basically means you have both oily and dry skin and may suffer from dry patches and breakouts at the same time. Gel or lotion cleansers work best for you and Cleansers that are multi-taskers work best for you that include natural oils as well as salicylic acid.
This step can be addictive, particularly when you see the difference it makes to the look and health of your skin. This is however a situation of “more is less”. Exfoliate your skin prior to shaving and do not exfoliate more often than 1-3 times per week. If you have sensitive skin you should limit exfoliation to once per week so you don’t irritate your skin further. Exfoliation provides a fresh landscape for your moisturizer and/or serum as it the dead skin cells are sloughed off and your moisturizer has a better chance of penetration. My all time favourite exfoliant is natural and gender agnostic – coconut oil and baking soda.
Hydrate your skin both in the morning and before bed. The best anti aging creams for men contain the good stuff like hyaluronic acid and retinols/retinoids which help combat the signs of aging. Glycerin, another humectant is also great for helping retain moisture levels. If you are using both a serum and a moisturizer, apply the serum first and follow up with a heavier moisturizer which helps acts as a barrier to help contain the benefits of the serum.
Toner – the jury is out
You will notice that I did not include a step where I recommend you should apply a Toner. My personal view on this is that men don’t really need to tone their skin, particularly if you are looking for a basic, yet effective daily skin care routine. If you have oily skin you might benefit from the toner being applied to your T zone. If you choose to use a toner, apply it after your cleansing and exfoliation step and do not buy toners that contain alcohol, particularly if you have dry or sensitive skin.
Some key takeaways:
- a clean face is a healthy face – always cleanse at night before bed so your face has a leg up on its overnight rejuvenation period and if necessary, cleanse again in the morning
- remove dead skin cells – exfoliate up to 3 times per week to remove dead skin cells and to allow your moisturizer to penetrate your skin
- moisturize, moisturize – hydrate your skin with anti aging ingredients like hyaluronic acid and retinol and other humectants like glycerin, and propylene glycol to help retain moisture levels
Good luck in your anti aging journey and here’s to looking distinguished!