Routines, Products & Tips – Cleveland Clinic


Maybe you’re an outdoors guy – spending a lot of time in the sun, exposed to the elements. Or you’re the laid-back, more indoors type. Maybe you are clean shaven or sport a full beard. No matter your style or lifestyle, taking care of your skin is important.

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“A lot of men have the misconception that skin care has to be very complicated, but it doesn’t have to be,” says dermatologist Jane Wu, MD. “You can have a simple, easy-to-follow diet as part of your daily routine.”

Dr. Wu shares what types of products are important for keeping your skin fresh and healthy, as well as a simple and more advanced routine for men looking to take it to the next level.

Choosing the Right Skin Care Products

In people designated male at birth (DMAB), the dermis layer of their skin tends to be thicker and tougher than in people designated female at birth (DFAB). This causes deeper, furrowed wrinkles with repeated muscle movements. Testosterone can also make your skin oilier. But Dr. Wu says choosing the right skincare products isn’t so much about gender as it is about determining your skin type.

“You really should assess your personal skin type, because that can really matter more than gender differences,” says Dr. Wu.

Skin types

There are roughly four types of skin care:

  • normal skin can tolerate a variety of different skin care products without harsh results.
  • Dry skin can be red and scaly in some areas, especially when exposed to cold winter elements. You can also get this type if you strip your skin’s natural oils by washing or scrubbing your body excessively. If you have this type of skin, you are more likely to get eczema.
  • Sensitive skin reacts to different products in different ways. If you get a rash or experience itching, redness, or burning when trying new skin care products, you might have this skin type.
  • oily skin makes your face shiny or luminous. You tend to break out or get acne more easily if you have this type of skin.

You may also have a combination skin type, in which the center of your face may be oily, but other parts of your face, such as your cheeks, may be dry.

Important ingredients

At the most basic level, everything you do should cleanse your skin, moisturize it, and add a protective layer in case of injury or irritation. At a glance, there are a ton of products on the market, and figuring out which ones to try (and which ones work) can be overwhelming. But when you start focusing on those three goals (cleanse, moisturize, protect), finding the right ingredients can make that process easier. Here are some ingredients you should consider when looking for cleansers and moisturizers, and a few you should avoid.


The original cleanser is your good old bar of soap. But, Dr. Wu warns that many traditional soap products are so good at their job, they actually strip your skin of all its natural oils when removing dirt, oil or makeup. Instead, look for a gentle, pH-balanced cleanser. If you have dry or sensitive skin, try using a cream-based cleanser, but if you have oily or combination skin, you’ll want to use a foaming cleanser.


Moisturizers retain water in the skin to keep it hydrated, plumped and full. Hyaluronic acid is the ingredient that attracts water and keeps it there. But you also want to look for ceramide-enriched moisturizers.

“Ceramides are a component of the fat or lipid layer of your skin,” says Dr. Wu. “So it helps replenish your skin barrier.”

Salicylic acid and glycolic acid

Both of these ingredients are important for acne care. They both chemically exfoliate the top layer of your skin, but salicylic acid can actually penetrate deeper into the oil glands.

Avoid perfumes

Everything smells like something these days, but scents can be bothersome. They can cause contact allergies, which can lead to red, itchy, or scaly rashes on the face, head, and neck. And while it’s unscented, it’s not entirely safe.

“You want to look for something that says it’s fragrance-free,” says Dr. Wu. there’s actually a scent still in the product.”

If you experience a contact allergy to a fragrance, it is usually a delayed reaction that can occur days or even weeks after you start using the product.

Avoid alcohol-based aftershaves

There’s nothing quite like that burn right after a good shave, and while it might feel refreshing at first, it actually hinders your ability to stay hydrated because it dries out your skin.

“Alcohol-based products are traditionally intended to act as an antiseptic and prevent infection, but they can be very irritating to the skin. Using a moisturizer is more helpful than an aftershave with alcohol. of alcohol for most people,” advises Dr Wu.

Simple skincare routine for men

For the simplest routine, you want to stick to the basics: cleanse, moisturize, and protect.

Step 1: cleanse twice a day

You’ll want to cleanse your skin twice a day, usually first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed. If you tend to exercise in the morning or in the middle of the day, you need to clean up right after your workout.

Hot water can strip oils from your skin, so use warm water with your cleanser, even if you’re doing this step in the shower. Use your fingertips to massage the cleanser into your skin, then rinse completely. When drying, do not rub out all the moisture. You’ll want to dry instead.

Step 2: Moisturize twice a day

While your skin is still a bit damp after cleansing, you lock in that water with moisturizer. “The idea here is to replenish your skin’s lipid barrier by maintaining its hydration,” says Dr. Wu. “By restoring your skin barrier, you help defend against chemicals and environmental irritants.”

Step 3: Apply sunscreen once in the morning

It is important to wear sunscreen every day because UV rays (even on cloudy days) have the ability to accelerate aging, pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. Sunscreen also helps prevent skin cancer.

If you shave, there are some additional tips

Shaving is one of the most common concerns among men. Although you should avoid alcohol-based aftershaves, there are other things to consider as well.

  • Your facial hair will feel softer after a warm or hot shower, so clean it first.
  • Use a mild, gentle shaving cream or oil to prevent rashes or ingrown hairs.
  • Shave in the direction of your hair growth to reduce irritation. If your skin is irritated or dry, using an electric razor with guards can help.
  • When you’ve finished shaving, apply a mild moisturizer to your skin. If you have dry skin, an oil-based product can also be used.
  • If you typically have ingrown hairs, use an exfoliator (like a gentle facial scrub) on your skin a few times a week to slough off dead skin cells.

For more advanced routines

“Often, less is more, but you can make your routine as sophisticated as you want,” notes Dr. Wu. If you’re looking for a more advanced routine, adding the following steps can step up your skincare game. the skin at the top level.

Add an antioxidant serum in the morning

“For something more advanced, you’ll want to add a product to prevent damage and repair cells,” says Dr. Wu. Adding an antioxidant serum like vitamin C can help protect your skin from free radicals – substances in the environment and in your body that can damage your cells through normal processes like breathing and aging.

“You should put it on after cleansing but before moisturizing in the morning,” says Dr. Wu.

Add retinol to your nighttime routine

“Retinol is one of the key players in anti-aging that helps reduce fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, and hyperpigmentation,” says Dr. Wu. Retinol helps chemically exfoliate the skin. top layer of your skin and helps build collagen, which makes your skin feel nice and plump. Since retinol makes you more sensitive to the sun, avoid doing it in the morning.

When to start your skincare routine?

Everyone is built a little differently, but it’s never too early to start a skincare regimen. Some people can show signs of wrinkles and aging as early as age 20, and Dr. Wu suggests everyone should be proactive about sun protection from childhood.

When should you see your doctor?

Dr. Wu suggests doing self-checks in the mirror or with a partner three to four times a year, as well as having your skin checked during routine physical exams with your family doctor. If you spot any signs of new or changing lesions, especially moles or growths that change in size, shape, or color, you should see your trusted healthcare provider. If you have skin problems that don’t improve with your skin care regimen, such as acne, rosacea, or eczema, you should seek help from a board-certified dermatologist.

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