Admit it: you rarely do what your doctor tells you. You forget to refill your prescriptions, you don’t consistently floss your teeth, and you often forget to check out what’s going on below the belt. In the same vein, you almost certainly don’t have a consistent skincare regimen — even though you probably should.
When it comes to keeping your skin healthy, dermatologists advise you to pick up some solid products that’ll heal, protect, and improve your look. With the right set of skincare staples at your disposal, you can fight ageing, prevent sun damage, and beat itchy, dry skin.
Here are 8 products top dermatologists wish their male clients would use, from rich hand lotion that you can use after lifting weights, to face masks that work better on men’s skin.
A gentle, reliable facial cleanser
That squeaky-clean feeling you aim for post-shower? Unfortunately, it can be harmful to your skin.
“True soaps have an alkaline pH and can disrupt the naturally acid pH of the skin while disrupting the skin barrier,” says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., the director of cosmetic and clinical research in the department of dermatology at The Mount Sinai Hospital.
That’s why he suggests sticking to gentle cleansers that work without compromising your skin’s outer layer. “The newest generation of bar cleansers can be used on both your face and body.”
An overnight face cream
You might not think about reversing ageing while you sleep, but dermatologists sure do. And they know what works: Retinols are tried and true vitamin A molecules that produce collagen, exfoliate, increase a hydrating natural substance called hyaluronic acid, and brighten and repair the skin, explains Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and clinical attending professor at NYU Langone and The Mount Sinai Hospital.
Choose a product that combines repair ingredients (a retinoid and alpha hydroxy acids) and moisturising one (squalene, ceramides, fatty acids, glycerin, HA, and niacinamide), she says.
A moisturising lotion
Dryness, flaking, and itching are signs that your skin is beyond dehydrated. “Most of my male patients are not using moisturisers regularly because they leave the skin feeling oily and may be thick and difficult to spread,” says Zeichner. Go for a light lotion you can easily spread over large areas of skin.
An exfoliating cleanser
If you want a better way to cleanse your skin, but aren’t quite sure where to start, this is one way to do it, says Ranella Hirsch, M.D., a Boston-based dermatologist. Exfoliating devices like the Clarisonic Alpha Fit Sonic Cleansing System are specifically designed for thicker, oiler skin – and oscillating bristles will do a better job than your hands ever could.
A hand moisturiser
Working out is great for the body, but it’s rough for your hands. “Calluses protect the palms from repetitive injury but are not fun to hold hands with,” says Kavita Mariwalla, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in West Islip, New York. Fortunately, a small amount of hand moisturiser every day can help soften the feel of calluses, she says.
An anti-ageing serum
If you’re going to use one anti-ageing product, it should be retinol. This serum contains retinol, which dermatologists agree is the most effective anti-ageing ingredient available over-the-counter. “It stimulates collagen to help maintain a strong skin foundation and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” says Zeichner.
Use this every other night for the first few weeks to avoid irritation, which can be a common side effect, he says. Don’t forget SPF: “Retinol can make your skin more susceptible to sunburn.”
A good face mask
Blackheads are a common side effect of living a sweaty, active lifestyle. ““Try to avoid squeezing the pores to get the blackheads out, since that just makes the pores bigger in the future,” says Mariwalla. Luckily, the right face mask can do a great job vacuuming out blackheads. Use this one once a week for maximum effect.
A moisturiser with SPF
Applying sunscreen is like flossing your teeth, says Zeichner: “if you miss a day, there likely will be little harm done. However, if you don’t do it ever, your skin will pay the price.” Even low levels of UV light add up over a lifetime, he notes. A combination moisturiser with sunscreen is easy to use and it acts as a great after-shave.
By Cassie Shortsleeve