There's a longstanding misconception that skin care products and routines are just for women. This is simply false. The benefits of great skin care are the same for any gender, and they should be explored by men as much as by anyone else. When it comes to curating the best skin care routine for men, you can generally follow the bulk of advice already out there — there's just a couple of things to keep in mind.

How Male Skin Differs

According to an article in Men's Journal, the primary difference between men's skin and women's is the hair, especially on the face. The abundance of hair follicles leads to thicker skin with a more robust blood delivery network to sustain it. Assuming they take proper care of themselves, this means that men will generally show signs of aging (such as wrinkles) later than women.

Further, because hair follicles and higher levels of testosterone produce more oil, men are generally more likely to have oily skin than women are.

Still, male and female skin have much more in common than not: men still encounter a lot of the same skin concerns as women, such as acne, occasional or chronic dry patches, and eventual loss of firmness. Because there is no universal skin care routine that everyone can follow, it's important to personalize your regimen and cater to your own specific needs.

Learning Your Skin Type

The best skin care routine for you, regardless of gender, depends on your skin type. Each skin type requires different ingredients to keep it healthy, so it's important for you to identify what category you fall under. There are five common types: oily, dry, sensitive, mature, and combination. Here's how to tell which one you might have and the kinds of skin care ingredients you might want for each.

Oily: Your skin is shiny especially in the T-zone (across your forehead and down your nose to your chin), or you frequently deal with acne. In this case, avoid heavy ingredients like silicone, petrolatum, and mineral oil.

Dry: Your skin gets dry, itchy, or flaky, or you notice that your skin feels tight or has a rough texture. Look for hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides.

Sensitive: Your skin reacts negatively to products that aren't irritants for most. This includes stinging, burning, rashes, bumps, redness, peeling, or itchiness. Seek mineral-based products and anti-inflammatories like niacinamide.

Mature: You've started to see more fine lines appear on your face and the skin is less firm overall. Consider retinols and antioxidant-rich products.

Combination: You have any combination of the skin types mentioned above.

Figuring what skin type you have is the first step in curating the right skin care routine for you. Once you do that, you can start picking products to go into your daily regimen.

Using the Right Products in the Right Order

Yes, there is a right way to layer your products. If you apply your products in the wrong order, they won't work properly. Because rich, heavy formulas like moisturizers act as a barrier, you'll want to put on any lightweight products beforehand. This is to ensure that the product can seep into the skin as it's supposed to.

The right way to apply them is in order of consistency. You want to start from light to heavy textures.

  1. Cleanser
  2. Toner
  3. Serum
  4. Spot treatment
  5. Eye cream
  6. Moisturizer
  7. Sunscreen

Do you need all seven steps? Apart from a quality cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen (which is most important and should be used daily), the rest really depends on what you want your skin care to accomplish. You can tweak and make adjustments to this easy guide once you pin down your goals and start experimenting to find what makes your skin feel its best.

Waking Up to Your Skin Care Needs

Although a bit different, the best skin care routine for men isn't any more complicated than one for women. In the end, all quality products are safe for everyone to use, but more appealing packaging and scents have arrived on the market in recent years as men have come to see their skin deserves to be taken care of just like the rest of their body. Try out some of these products and you may just find they make a big difference.

Finally, if you still have questions, talk to a Dermatologist. These skin experts can help personalize a routine for your specific needs, and check in on your skin health to keep you going strong.


  • Audrey Noble

    Audrey Noble is a New York City-based reporter specializing in features, celebrity profiles, and beauty topics. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Harper's BAZAAR, Allure, Vanity Fair, Refinery29, and more. She is a University of Southern California alumna with bachelor's degrees in print journalism and creative writing.

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