When it comes to developing a skincare routine, men tend to take the easy way out. They focus mainly on those three little words they’ve grown comfortable with over the years: soap, water, razor. It’s the minimalist approach and countless numbers of men have adopted it since they first learned to shave. But the truth is, they might not notice the difference it makes in their skin until it’s too late. This is why being proactive in the battle against aging is essential. The earlier you start preparing your face for the environmental and biological changes it will one day inevitably encounter, the longer you can avoid the effects of premature aging. It’s that simple. But with so many skincare products out there and so much advice on how to care for your skin, where do you begin? For starters you can follow these basic steps, keeping in mind that a skincare routine isn’t always one size fits all. (1)
Step 1: Cleanse (but not with soap)
For maximum anti-aging results, wash your face daily and nightly with a gentle but thorough cleanser. The trick is to wash away the bad oils that clog pores but maintain the essential oils necessary to keep your skin hydrated and supple. Just in case you’re the last person on the planet to hear, soap pulls the moisture from the delicate tissue on your face, leaving it dry and susceptible to lines and wrinkles. It can also clog your pores and cause breakouts and dry, irritated skin. Save the soap for your hands and use a facial cleanser. You want something gentle enough for all skin types, and all ages should be looking for rehydrating cleansers. Younger oilier skin can benefit from an acne-oriented product, while the 30s and up should be looking for a face wash fortified with vitamins to reduce the signs of aging.
Step 2: Exfoliate
What most men don’t realize about exfoliation is not only does it help minimize fine lines and wrinkles, it also preps your hair follicle for a better shave. Exfoliation, normally done with a simple face scrub product, is the process of sloughing off dead skill cells, which, if left lingering, can prevent new cell growth but also make your skin dull and prone to bacteria. Exfoliating 2-3 times a week is generally enough to give your skin the glow it deserves and also ward off the effects of premature aging. Depending on your skin type, you may need more or less exfoliation. Oilier, younger skin can handle more frequent scrubs. Drier skin can be sensitive should be given a break in between, and use milder finer scrubs.
Step 3: Shave (but not with soap)
Shaving done right can help minimize your skin’s texture and reduce fine lines. Shaving done wrong can cause ingrown hairs, irritation, and breakouts. And it’s true that exfoliation can actually give you a better shave, but did you know that shaving in the direction of hair growth can actually make your skin smoother and reduce nicks? But this works best only if you change your blade regularly and use something other than soap. When searching for the perfect shave gel, focus on products that offer multiple benefits such as toning and pH balance. Consider options that contain alpha-hydroxy acids to improve exfoliation. And if your skin is frequently antagonized by the effects of shaving, try a post-shave product to soothe it. Aftershave is fine, but today there are moisturizing, anti-aging products that are more effective than the old-fashioned splash of strongly scented aftershave. You want to look for something with peptides to boost collagen and antioxidants to fight environmental toxins.
Step 4: Moisturize
Once your skin begins to lose collagen, which by the way, drops daily for men after the age of 20, its elasticity will begin to weaken. This is what causes skin to sag. Smoking and environmental toxins will accelerate the breakdown of collagen. Lack of moisture dehydrates your skin causing it to wrinkle and become dry and flaky. And nobody wants their skin to resemble pie crust. That being noted, all skin types need to be moisturized. So even if you have oily skin, you still need to moisturize it daily. But keep in mind, not all moisturizers are the same. Look for one that is hyaluronic acid-based to allow the moisture to penetrate into your skin and diminish the fine lines forming from loss of firmness and moisture. If it’s a moisturizer formulated with vitamins for nourishment then all the better. Applying it to damp skin is a great way to help lock in hydration while maintaining collagen.
Also, don’t skip the delicate tissue around your eyes when it comes to moisturizing. They may be the windows to your soul, but they are also the first to tell the world you are tired. Lack of sleep can make dark puffy rings around your eyes and even cause crow’s feet to develop. If your eyes need rescued search for a product that contains peptides, which are the amino acids that make up collagen (you know, that stuff that keeps your skin firm?) Something such as REVIVE Eye Rescue Serum by Profile by Rob Lowe that works to quickly reduce puffiness and diminish the dark circles caused from sleep deprivation and environmental aggressors. One of the great things about it is that it’s actually a convenient rollerball that fits nicely in your pocket, so you take it with you and freshen up tired eyes before those late afternoon meetings.
Step 5: SUNSCREEN!
Don’t leave the house without it even on cloudy days. Yes, this means you. And if you plan on being in direct sunlight, you will need to reapply it often. Many moisturizers already contain sunscreen but the SPF becomes diluted, unfortunately. Using a separate sunscreen is the best way to ensure you’re protecting your skin from the sun’s damaging rays.
Following these five very basic steps daily can take years off your skin. At the bare minimum, or on those rushed days, be sure to still cleanse and moisturize. In the ongoing war against aging, you may not always be able to choose your own battle, but you can definitely choose your own weapons by picking a skincare routine that works for you and sticking to it! (2)