The best skincare routines for men are often straightforward and simple—and yet building a facial routine can be so complicated. Oily skin? Acne? Dark spots? Just walk down the aisle at your local drugstore and feel the walls close in…what’s the difference between a “hydrating cream” and a “hydrating lotion?” The wrong choice could be time and money down the drain.
You need to figure out the right products for your unique skin type. No goops, no fluff, no “borrowing” products from your girlfriend’s routine. So we asked the wisest dudes we know—Curology’s male dermatology providers—to break it down into five easy skincare tips for men.
Whether you have oily skin, dry skin, or combination, sunscreen isn’t just necessary for protecting your skin from UV damage—it’s essential to improving your skin now. That’s because UV damage can make your current skin conditions worse, especially if you’re suffering from dark spots, breakouts, or uneven skin tone.
For men with dark spots, Andrew Saurin, PA-C, recommends EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46. “It can help even out pigmentation and create a more uniform appearance in regards to texture,” he says.
For men with oily skin, reach for oil-free SPF. “Because I have oily skin, I need to be picky,” says Zack Bernazzoli, PA-C. “For my face I use the DermaControl Oil Absorbing Moisturizer SPF 30 when playing sports or the Origins A Perfect World SPF 40 Age-Defense Moisturizer for regular, daily use.”
Another fact of having a face: you gotta wash it! While our providers agree that cleansing is a key step in men’s skincare routines, how you wash your face depends on a few key factors: your skin concerns, your facial hair, and—let’s be real—your level of energy/enthusiasm.
Look for cleansers labeled “gentle” or “hydrating,” especially if you have dry skin. Harsh soaps can lower your skin’s defenses by stripping the protective moisture barrier that’s built into your face.
If breakouts are a concern, make sure you’re using a no-clog face wash (like the cleanser by Curology). Don’t forget to wash the skin under your beard! “I use a gentle cleanser at least once a day on the chin area,” says Brent Selders, PA-C.
Our providers recommend following a simple, 3-step routine every morning and night—but we all have those nights. “If washing your face sounds like as much work as detailing a Ford F-450, go ahead, you have my permission: skip cleansing your face and go straight to applying your Curology medication,” Saurin says. “Something is better than nothing.”
Selders agrees that keeping your skincare routine steps minimal helps make a routine easy and sustainable. “I cleanse with plain water in the morning,” he adds—great news for those of us who aren’t exactly early risers!
For men with oily skin, you may want to skip one skincare step altogether: moisturizing. “Especially if you have oily skin, don’t feel that you need a moisturizer in your routine,” says Jake Swanson, PA-C.
For men with facial hair, your beard care routine is an extension of your skincare routine. “Shampoo your beard area 1-2 times a week with a non-comedogenic beard shampoo and conditioner,” Selders recommends. For acne-prone skin, we like Duke Cannon Best Damn Beard Wash and Cremo Beard & Scruff Softener in Mint.
For guys who want to prevent razor bumps, Sellers recommends exfoliating after your beard wash: “After cleansing, use a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) afterward, if preferred, or use a konjac sponge in the chin area after shaving, then alcohol-free aftershave.”
Our favorite alcohol-free aftershaves
If you’re looking to keep your skincare routine streamlined while effectively treating more challenging skin concerns like acne and signs of aging, the answer may be simple: tretinoin. “Tretinoin is the most potent and widely researched of the vitamin A derivatives,” says Dr. David Lortscher, board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of Curology.
Tretinoin is a prescription skincare ingredient that’s backed by decades of research showing its effectiveness. “It’s considered the gold standard among dermatologists for treating wrinkles, fine lines, uneven skin tone, and acne,” says Dr. Lorstcher. Though tretinoin is only available through a prescription, you can consult with a dermatology provider online when you start your free* trial of Curology.
Curology was founded in 2014 to make access to dermatology care easier and more affordable. Lots of men struggle with acne, but no one has time to wait months to see a dermatologist in person just to get a skincare treatment that works. That’s why Curology uses the power of telemedicine to partner you with a licensed medical provider who can evaluate your skin and (if we’re right for you) prescribe a Custom Formula with a mix of active ingredients to treat your skin concerns.
Your first month is free—you just pay $4.95 to cover shipping and handling. The best part? You can try our other recommended skincare products for free, too. That’s right. Your first box comes with your Custom Formula, plus a cleanser, moisturizer, and more—it’s a total skincare routine sent straight to your door. Free.
Ready to give it a try? Go ahead—start your free month of Curology now and see what custom skincare’s all about.
We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
*Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Cancel anytime.
Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C