Skincare for men: 5 simple things to know

A guy’s guide to skincare basics

4 minute read

We’re here to tell you what we know, but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider about your specific health concerns.

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Hey men, guess what? You have skin. And that means there are some things you should know about taking care of it. 

So maybe you’ve never touched a moisturizer in your life. Maybe you’ve got a carefully curated and thorough skincare routine—or maybe you’re in possession of a 5-in-1 shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, and deodorizer. Whatever the case, we’re here to refresh the basics with a quick-and-dirty guide to skincare for men.

Find an effective cleanser for your skin

It’s time to retire the hotel bar soap. Finding (and using!) a good facial cleanser for your skin type is the first step to laying some good groundwork for the rest of your routine. The right cleanser will clean your skin without making it feel dry and tight. Some may even treat breakouts at the same time. No wonder there are so many different kinds of facial cleansers on the market!

Some guys can get away with splashing their face with just water—and hey, if it works for you, then it works for you. Just remember that a routine that minimal might not be the move; it really depends on your unique skin—including whether you’re acne-prone.

Suggested cleansers for all skin types

Suggested cleansers for dry and/or sensitive skin

Suggested cleansers for oily and/or acne-prone skin

Treat your body acne

Body acne: super common, but no less annoying. It’s hard to pin down just one cause; it can range from sweaty gym clothes to using pore-clogging body products to just plain ol’ genetics. Basically, anything that can lead to acne on your face can also lead to acne on your body. 

Luckily, we’ve got a few product recommendations up our sleeves. Try a body wash with salicylic acid—like the one by Curology*—or a bar of zinc pyrithione soap. Vetting your current skincare routine for potentially pore-clogging ingredients is another good idea, and one both your face and your body will thank you for. 

Pamper your beard

Just like skincare, there isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all for your beard care—but here are some good things to keep in mind when pampering yours.

Prone to ingrown beard hairs? Try an electric razor. Traditional blades might be more affordable in the short run, but shaving too close might be the reason why you’re getting ingrown hairs. Hairs can grow into the skin, causing acne-like bumps—so switching to an electric razor instead might be easier on both your beard and skin.

Soak your face and neck in a shaving cream before shaving. It’s important to prep your whiskers before trimming them! Using shaving cream can help soften the hairs and make them easier to cut. Remember to thoroughly cleanse your face afterwards to remove any residue.

Ditch the irritating and pore-clogging ingredients. Unfortunately, such ingredients are found in a lot of men’s skincare and beard care. Luckily, there’s a simple way to check if they’re in yours! You can use cosDNA.com to analyze your current product lineup—avoid anything rated 3 or above in the “acne” or “irritant” columns.

Clean off your skin before and after workouts

Exercising your body is great, but it’s important to give your skin what it needs, too. Part of that means working out in clean clothes. It might be tempting to rewear yesterday’s gym fit, but wearing already damp or sweaty clothing can lead to breakouts.

Similarly, it’s best to remove any products (like makeup) before hitting the gym. During exercise, sweat can mix with oils and any products on your skin, which may lead to clogged pores and new breakouts. Try micellar water to easily remove dirt and oil before working out—just soak a cotton pad and swipe it over your face for a quick and easy cleanse.

Before you head out of the gym, take a quick shower. It’s refreshing and good for your skin; while sweating from exercise doesn’t directly cause acne, it does create an environment in which acne-causing bacteria can thrive. If you really need to get home ASAP, splashing water on your face and neck will do in a pinch.

Use SPF (yes, you really do need it)

Running outside? SPF. Water sports? SPF. Outdoor anything? SPF. Basically, if you’re going to be out for extended periods during the day, you should apply either a sunscreen or a moisturizer with SPF 30+. It’s also important to reapply at least every 2 hours, especially if you’re going in and out of water or sweating/wiping your face a lot.

If you’re in the market for a new SPF, check out our sunscreen guide for acne-prone skin for more tips and product recommendations.

*Curology products are subject to provider consultation and available by subscription.

• • •

Editorial Process: 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.

Product Links: 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).

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