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  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

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Skincare for men: myths about acne, debunked

The guys behind Curology reveal their real everyday skincare routines (or lack thereof)

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 6, 2023 • 5 min read
Closeup of person plucking eyebrows
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 6, 2023 • 5 min read
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

Skincare for men typically falls somewhere between less-is-more and literally effortless. Lucky guys — this is a far cry from the multi-step routines marketed toward women! But just like you, your skin and its needs are actually totally unique. Some guys’ skin needs more attention than others — especially if yours is acne-prone, irritable (especially from shaving), dry, or otherwise not looking/feeling its best.

If you have no routine, start with a cleanser

Do you do literally nothing for your skin? Do you think you might want to take a first step toward improving it? Try a cleanser. Good ol’ soap-and-water might be enough as far as outdated-masculinity standards are concerned, but that’s a good way to end up with razor burn and dry skin. Regular bar soap can strip the skin of its natural protective moisture barrier, leaving your skin vulnerable to irritation and acne. Using the right cleanser for your skin will both clean and treat your skin at the same time — one reason why there are so many different kinds of face-specific cleansers out there.

We’re not saying you need a complicated routine! Just try a gentle cleanser you can find at your local drugstore. You could use just one cleanser and your Curology cream and be all set!

Cleansers for everyone (including acne-prone!)

•Free & Clear Liquid Cleanser•Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser•Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser

Cleansers for dry and/or sensitive skin

•Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser•CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

Cleansers for oily, acne-prone skin

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash *contains salicylic acid, which can possibly irritate or dry out your skin. Don’t use this more than once a day, and avoid if your skin is sensitive.

And hey, some guys don’t even use cleanser — just water. Whether a do-nothing approach works for you depends on your individual skin: how oily you tend to get, and whether you’re acne-prone. But either way, we’re all for keeping it simple.

Man with mask on lower half of face

Real-life regimens for everyday (low) maintenance

To get a real guy’s perspective, we asked a few good men to share their actual day-to-day skincare routines (or lack thereof).

Van, 33, head of product

“In the morning, I rinse with water, then apply Aveeno Positively Radiant Moisturizer with SPF. If I plan to be outside/active, I use EltaMD. At night, I wash with whatever cleanser I have, then apply my Curology cream. After shaving, I enjoy applying Neutrogena Hydro Boost to calm my face. And when I get a zit, I apply a hydrocolloid bandage and watch as it works its miracles overnight!”

Justin, 30, IT

“I use Cerave cleanser (whichever color is cheaper when I run out — blue or green? I think are the options), and my Curology formula (sometimes 😬). My bare-minimum routine: I rinse with water 3 times a day (morning, afternoon, evening). My face gets oily during the day, so a rinse with water mid-day helps. The most I ever do — maybe once every 2 months — is rinse, cleanse, and exfoliate. The biggest thing for me, I think, is washing my pillow case once a week (or 2 weeks at most) to avoid acne.”

David, 34, dermatologist/Curology CEO

“In the AM, I rinse with water and use Neutrogena Healthy Defense SPF 50. When I go surfing, I’ll use a sunscreen with zinc oxide in it, like EltaMD UV Sport. At night, I rinse with water and use Curology.”

Shaun, 28, software engineer/self-described code pixie

“I generally just shower in the evenings and then use Nivea Men Max Hydration 3-in-one lotion all over. Sometimes I use Acure eye cream right before going to bed. I also have Aveeno Daily Moisturiser SPF 15 that I sometimes use as face lotion in the mornings.”

Ryan, 32, physician assistant

“In the morning I cleanse with warm water, apply a thin layer of Neutrogena Men Skin Clearing Shave Cream and do a first pass ‘with the grain’ and a second pass ‘against the grain.’ Then I put on Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer With Broad Spectrum SPF 50 and get ready to dominate the day! 💪 At night, I cleanse with warm water, wait 10 minutes, then apply my Curology cream. I wait another few minutes, then apply Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Cream. Then I sleep like a baby knowing my face will be smooth, wrinkle-free, and clear in the morning!”

Seiji, 30, software engineer

“Whenever I shower I use Clearasil Stubborn Acne Control 5-in-1 Exfoliating Wash. In the morning, I put on Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunscreen SPF 70 before going outside.”

Men laying down with masks

Fun fact: skincare is gender-neutral

If your pores are feeling clogged, your skin dry or irritated, don’t be afraid to try a face mask or other treatment. We know it sounds ~extra~, and the way skincare companies target pampering products towards women isn’t exactly enticing to a lot of men. But here’s the truth: the only real difference between women’s and men’s skincare products is the packaging. If you find a face mask, moisturizer, serum, or any other product that looks “feminine” but seems like it’d benefit your skin, don’t worry about it. Give it a shot!

However, generally speaking, there are a few differences between men’s skin and women’s skin. (These won’t apply to everybody!)

  • Men tend to have oilier skin and sweat more. However, overwashing can be a source of irritation that leads to breakouts! We recommend washing just 1–2 times/day maximum.

  • Men’s skin tends to be thicker, so they might tolerate stronger ingredients in skincare products.

  • Androgens (a male hormone found in both men and women) influence the distribution and appearance of body and facial hair, and can also contribute to oiliness and acne.

That’s about it. Don’t be shy — treat yo’ self, guy.

The everyman’s one-step skincare routine

It actually explains a lot that Curology was founded by two brothers (one of whom happens to be a dermatologist). After all, we’re all about a simple, minimal, but supremely effective skincare solution. Whatever your skin’s unique quirks, we’ve got a custom skin cream with your name on it — one superbottle that fights acne, razor bumps, wrinkles, and irritated or dry skin, all in one shot. If you aren’t on board already, get started with a one-month free trial here!

Custom superbottle for breakouts | Free Trial button

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Curology Team

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