If you’ve ever weighed the merits of moisturizing your skin, wear a pair of leather shoes for a few months without conditioning them and see what happens. Over time, cracks, deep crevices, and a general wear will age even that tough and tanned cowhide. Your much less resilient skin needs regular protection and care to keep it looking fresh. “The interesting thing about skin care for men is that it often takes very little to make a big improvement,” says Kathleen M. Welsh, M.D., a San Francisco-based dermatologist. “So just using something other than bar soap on your face, or moisturizing twice a day makes such a huge difference.” Here, the quick and easy steps to making your skin soft and smooth —and the best moisturizing products to keep them that way.
Start with a clean (but not too clean) surface
Removing surface dirt and oil is the first step in allowing any moisturizer to penetrate your skin’s surface. Cleansing twice a day, morning and night, is a good idea, says Dr. Jarrod Paul Frank, a Manhattan-based dermatologist. But don’t get carried away by using heavy-duty scrubs more than once or twice a week. These will only irritate the skin and stimulate oil production.
For daily use, a milder soap means your skin will need less moisturizer, since it won’t be scrubbed of essential oils. “Bar soaps strip the skin of oil, instead of gently removing dirt, like foaming cleansers,” suggests Dr. Welsh. Try a mild face wash, like Neutrogena’s Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser in colder, drier months and a deeper cleaning scrub, like Nivea Men Original Moisturizing Face Wash in sweatier, humid climates.
Know your skin type
“In general, men should keep their regimen as simple as possible,” suggests Dr. Frank. But not one size fits all. Knowing what kind of skin you have is the first step in determining that regimen and your moisturizing needs.
How can you tell your skin type? Sensitive skin reddens easily and stings or burns when you apply most products. For the other types, the condition of your T Zone (across your forehead and a straight line down your chin) will help you identify which category you fit in. At the end of the day, examine the area. A matte surface means dry skin, a greasy or shiny zone translates to oily, and if your face is just slightly slick, you have normal or combination skin.
By Sandra Nygaard