At its core, skin is skin. And the idea that some skincare products are only appropriate for men and others are only appropriate for women is as outdated as a DVD player. (Breakouts know no gender. Neither do fine lines, for that matter.) That said, men’s and women’s skin aren’t carbon copies of each other either. Read on to learn how to care for your skin with a routine uniquely built for the needs of male skin.
How is men’s skin different from women’s skin?
Male skin tends to be oilier and thicker than female skin. This is because men have more receptors for androgens, a type of hormone (testosterone is the most common one). While both men and women produce androgens, men make more of them. When androgens latch onto androgen receptors, it triggers for sebum production (hello, breakouts). It also increases skin thickness. As a result, men’s skin typically has a higher collagen density than women’s, so it tends to stay firmer and smoother longer. Men who shave regularly with a razor blade may also notice their complexions are more sensitive and can be prone to ingrown hairs.
What does Dr. Dennis Gross think?
“You should shop for skincare based on your individual skin concern — oily, sensitive, dry, and so forth — not on your gender,” says our dermatologist founder Dennis Gross, MD. “The biggest mistake I see men make is shying away from active ingredients, like vitamin C or retinol. You don’t need an overly complicated, multi-step skincare routine, but you’re really doing yourself a disservice if your entire regimen consists of using the same soap to wash your face that you do your body and calling it a day.”
So how should men take care of their skin?
According to Dr. Gross, everyone (men and women) needs four essential elements for a complete and effective skincare routine. These are our recommendations for men’s skincare routine:
A gentle, but effective, cleanser
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta AHA/BHA Daily Cleansing Gel removes dirt and grime, but doesn’t strip the skin or make it feel tight. Instead, it helps balance oil production, refine the appearance of pores, and prevent future breakouts.
A chemical peel
Consistent, daily chemical exfoliation helps reduce the chances of clogged pores, whether the clog is dead skin cells, oil, or a hair. This makes them an excellent choice for those who wet shave regularly as they can reduce the likelihood of ingrown hairs. But they also benefit those with beards (just use them around your beard hair). Our Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Peels come in three strengths, from gentle to extra strength, so you can find the version that works best for your skin needs.
An oil-free moisturizer
Every complexion type needs daily hydration — even those prone to breakouts. Starving the skin of moisture just encourages it to make more oil, exactly the situation you’re trying to avoid. The solution is to select an oil-free formula, like Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Moisturizer. It also contains skin-smoothing alpha and beta hydroxy acids, as well as ceramides to reinforce skin’s natural moisture barrier.
An SPF 30 sunscreen
Every single person on the planet needs to apply sunscreen every single day, rain or shine. It’s not just to reduce signs of aging, such as discoloration or wrinkles. It’s to minimize your chances of developing skin cancer, which is a very real concern. Dr. Dennis Gross All-Physical Lightweight Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30 is an oil-free mineral formula that blends invisibly into skin.
Bonus points: A serum
A vitamin C serum, like Dr. Dennis Gross Vitamin C Lactic 15% Vitamin C Firm & Bright Serum, in the morning under moisturizer will help stave off sagging and dark spots. Applying a retinol-based version, such as Dr. Dennis Gross Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Overnight Wrinkle Treatment, before bed (again, under moisturizer) will help refine skin’s tone and texture, while also reducing the look of lines.
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