We all want to look better, right?
Our skin is one of the first things people notice.
The quality of your skin says a lot about your health, and without realising it people will use indicators like your skin to make judgements your health and physical condition the moment they see you.
So it makes sense to look after our skin. But as men, we’re not known for our attention to skincare.
On one side, we have men whose skincare regime involves dragging a razor over their face every day, and on the other side skincare experts recommend regimens of cleansing, exfoliating, toning and moisturizing with arcane – and expensive – products.
What if you could take care of your skin – for life – in as little as 10 seconds per day?
What if skincare for men is simpler than that? What if you could take care of your skin – for life – in as little as 10 seconds per day, or develop a full routine with inexpensive products never took longer than two minutes – that you only had to do once or twice a week?
Well keep reading, because we’ll be outlining some great skincare options for you. But first, why should you care about skincare anyway, you look fine, right?
Once It Goes, It’s Gone – Enjoy your turkey neck
For a long time, men seem to live a blessed life – while the girls are busy smooshing on lotions and putting cucumber all over their faces, guys’ skin stays supple and soft with no effort.
Until it suddenly doesn’t any more.
Men can go through a period when they appear to age years in just a few months
Do you suddenly need more sleep, drink less coffee or lay off the booze? Probably all three, but that’s not the reason your face just fell off a cliff.
Us guys have naturally thicker skin than women, with greater reserves of collagen and elastin that keeps our faces soft and springy, until one day we’ve used it all up.
Because we haven’t been following the same rigorous routine as the softer sex, our face takes this hard.
You think craggy is sexy? How about blotches, spots and that droopy ‘turkey’ look under your chin?
And there’s not much you can do to get it back.
So let’s start looking after it now, and see if you can still look young and vibrant while your buddies start sagging and drooping.
The 10 Second Skincare Routine for Men
This is really the minimum you can do, but every man should be doing it.
We’ll be covering the three pillars of facial care – cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing – but the 10 second routine addresses only the last.
Moisturizing is important for a number of reasons, not least because dermatologists have recently found a high correlation between people who moisturize and low skin cancer rates. Moisturizing will also keep your skin fuller and healthier and help protect collagen.
But you’ll need more than a moisturizer to protect yourself from the sun. Not only are skin cancer rates rising, the sun will prematurely age your skin.
So your 10 second skincare routine involves taking yourself out to the local chemist to buy an SPF moisturizer and (we can’t emphasize this enough) using it every day. After your shower is the best time, when your pores have opened up with the steam and heat. Put your SPF moisturizer on when your face is still a little damp.
There, 10 seconds a day to protect you from the sun and keep your facial skin plump and soft.
If you’d like to get a little more value from your bathroom time, keep reading.
The One Minute Skincare Routine
Have you heard that washing your face with a soap bar is bad for your skin?
If you have, I bet you weren’t offered a decent alternative. We’ll fix that.
But first, what’s so bad about washing your face with a bar of soap?
There are two problems – first, it will dry your skin out a lot, and never mind if your soap says it’s 50% moisturizer: it’s not going to do a thing.
Never mind if your soap says it’s 50% moisturizer: it’s not going to do a thing.
Second, bar soaps will clog your pores. Clogged pores lead to pimples, blackheads and ingrown hairs. In other words: spotty and bumpy.
So what should you use?
First of all you need to know your skin type – dry, oily or neutral? If you know, go buy a basic cleanser for your skin type. Buy a product aimed at guys, because it’ll be the same as the girls’ version except it costs less (they pay more for everything!).
Not sure of your skin type? We’ll start with an experiment: find a basic cleanser in a small tube.
It doesn’t matter what kind, as long as it’s a basic facial cleanser. I’d go to the local market and choose whatever Nivea or Gillette or whoever has in the shaving section.
Use it: Rinse your face with warm water, lather and scrub a little with your cleanser, rinse with warm water again, and finally rinse with cold water.
As you use your cleanser, determine if it’s making your face dry, or leaving it oily. If it makes your face feel tight and stretchy you need a cleanser for dry skin. If your face feels oily by half way through the day, it’s you need a cleanser for oily skin.
If neither of those things is happening, you win! Stick to the product you’re using. Otherwise, choose a product that’s designed for your skin type. Now you’re done.
So your one minute skincare routine is: use the cleanser, shave (if that’s what you do), then use your SPF moisturizer.
The Two Minute Skincare Routine
So now we’re getting serious. This is where we bring the third essential of skincare into the game – exfoliation.
Skincare experts say ‘exfoliation’ instead of ‘scraping dead skin cells off your face’.
Removing dead skin cells improves circulation and promotes the growth of new skin cells, which makes you look younger and fresher.
You may have read that shaving automatically exfoliates – we don’t think so, and discuss why shaving to exfoliate is a bad idea here. In short, you need to exfoliate with something other than a razor.
The good news is you don’t need to (and shouldn’t) do it every day. Once or twice a week is fine.
There’s a thousand and one ways to exfoliate – oatmeal scrubs, loofas, chemicals – you name it. Again, don’t spend a lot of time worrying about the choice, just pick something you’re comfortable with and start using it gently. We can’t stress the importance of using these things gently.
Good exfoliation will make your skin look fresh and clear. Bad exfoliation will make you look like a burns victim.
Just a note on exfoliators – one type we’d definitely ask you to avoid are the scrubs that use micro beads. These plastic beads make it through the sewer system and all the way into fish. There are much better choices out there.
Your two minute skincare routine is: cleanse, exfoliate gently, and use the SPF moisturizer. If you shave, shave between exfoliating and moisturizing.
Finally, The Most Important Thing
Do something. Anything. Just get started, and you’ll realise how easy it is to look after your skin. In 10 or 15 years you’ll look back and thank your younger self for taking the tiny amount of time you need every day to invest in the long term health of your skin.
Finally, if you want to know more, you should head over to Skincare Addiction at Reddit. The depth of knowledge over there is truly astounding and will serve you well into the future.
1. Exfoliating Cowboy adapted from flickr users Rob and Stephanie Levy