The Modern Man’s Skin: A Work of Art

Aside from hygiene products – Axe and Old Spice immediately come to mind – skincare manufacturing and marketing seldom seem to target men. There is not a total lack of male-specific product manufacturing; companies like Kiehl’s and Dermatologica have men’s skincare lines that focus on anti-aging and hydration. But relative to the myriad anti-aging products made and advertised for women, men’s skincare lines pale in comparison.

Let’s face it – women represent the bigger and more profitable market. We women are the big spenders when it comes to skincare. Nonetheless, I have found the lack of focus on men both interesting and unfair, particularly because I am married to a man who takes good care of his skin and values preserving a youthful look. And there are increasing numbers of men like him out there, wondering what they should be doing to take care of their faces. When I practiced, I had a fair number of men asking me for non-invasive (topical instead of injectable) anti-aging advice. I am sure the skincare industry has done its homework and research supports that investing more in men’s anti-aging products is not economically sound. But I feel like it is a market with a lot of potential. After all, men and women are biologically different – as are their skincare needs.

Concerns That Keep Men From Moisturizing

When I practiced in derm, male patients often expressed concern about their confounding “oily yet dry” skin. Research shows that a man’s higher testosterone levels trigger more sebum production, and increased sebum subsequently creates more oil and shine than a woman experiences. It is counterintuitive, but excess oil production in a man’s skin actually causes his skin to be drier on the surface. Then add shaving to the mix, which disrupts the skin’s natural barrier function leading to moisture loss and (you guessed it) dryness.


Regarding shaving, I have witnessed that some men who shave regularly have aversions to moisturizers due to stinging/burning, rash, or in-grown hairs. If you have coarse hair and shave with a razor, particularly a razor with more than one blade, and often shave against the grain to achieve a clean shave, you may have just been nodding your head. Electric razors can be less irritating but may not create as clean a shave. Single-blade razors may reduce irritation, as well. As far as moisturers and/or sunscreens go, trial and error…or grow a beard as my husband’s done, and it will be a non-issue. 😉

Innovations In Men’s Skincare Products

According to a recent article in Esquire, some of the newest innovations in skincare are targeting men. I hope the marketing of these products catches up. Men’s products strive to blend ingredients for both oil control and moisture management to reduce wrinkling and create a more youthful mug. They are also formulated to penetrate thicker, male skin.

  • Phase One: Oil Control

Controls excess oil to help prevent shine.

  • Phase Two: Moisture Management

Deeply hydrates and helps to improve the skin’s moisture barrier function to preserve vital nutrients and hydration.

Selecting Your Products

Apparently, half of all men in America use moisturizer on their face right now, and the some of the other half are well aware that they should be doing so. For the interested men, as well as wives, husbands, gimageirlfriends, boyfriends, partners, mothers, and children of special guys, the following bullet points detail some selection considerations (and a few over-the-counter productsyou may want to check out):

  • Your (or your man’s) skin type

Is your skin more oily or more dry or perhaps a combination of both? Well, how the heck are you supposed to know, right? Try this – wash and dry your face and wait a few hours. Then check yourself out. If your nose and forehead are shiny, you likely have oily skin. A product that hydrateswhile simultaneously absorbing excess oil may be your best bet. Esquire recommends Clinique for Men Oil Control Mattifying moisturizer ($26), which has dimethicone, a polymer that moisturizes skin and produces a matte finish.

If your skin looks and feels dry, and perhaps is even flaky a few hours after washing, maybe you should try a thicker product that traps more moisture. Esquire suggests Dove Men+Care Ultra Hydrating cream ($9), which has a high amount of humectants, ingredients that recruit water from the dermis (the layer below the skin’s surface layer or epidermis) to keep skin looking and feeling hydrated.

  • Moisturizer + SPF combination

This may be a good idea to reduce the number of steps in one’s regimen. Esquire recommends Anthony Oil Free facial lotion SPF 30 ($33), which provides sun protection and light moisturization.

  • Age

If you are older and already have wrinkles, anti-aging products may be worth a try. Be just like your female counterparts!You can still make your skin look younger and healthier. Esquire suggests Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Heavy Lifting anti-aging moisturizer ($40), which has linseed extract to firm the skin, andsalicylic acid to exfoliate dead skin cells, thereby helping to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and create a brighter complexion.

According to Esquire, a lighter option is Lab Series Age Rescue+Water-Charged gel cream ($50), which induces cell turnover and dries instantly.

Categories: Men's Skincare, Product Reviews


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