If you’re like most guys, the words moisturizing routine might not be in your vocabulary. You use aftershave on your face and slap some lotion on your crusty elbows. Done. But according to dermatologists, daily skincare is the easiest way to look young. We went to our panel of experts to put together a plan you might actually use—and single out the mistakes you didn’t know you were making.
Start with SPF
If you’re going to do one thing: Use sunblock. This is where you get the most anti-aging bang for your buck.
“Exposure to UV radiation is the most preventable cause of early skin aging,” says Brendan Camp, a board certified dermatologist based in northern Virginia. “There are many over the counter facial moisturizers with SPF 30 that can be applied every day of the year, aren’t overly greasy, and don’t cause acne.”
But patience, gents. Results take time, and you’re going to have to put it on every day.
“For guys, if it rubs in easily, you’re more likely to use it,” says Hooman Khorasani, chief of dermatologic and cosmetic surgery at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine in NYC.
He and others on our panel recommended sunscreens from Elta MD. “It doesn’t feel like sunscreen,” he says. “It feels like your regular moisturizer you use after you shave.”
Match Your Skincare to Your Skin Type
So you’ve committed to daily moisturizer. Which formula do you choose?
“Some of us have more greasy skin, some more dry,” says Khorasani, “so that dictates your kind of moisturizer. If you’re more dry, you want something ointment based. If you’re more oily, something lotion or gel based.”
A product labeled lotion contains more water and less oil than one labeled cream or ointment. So it won’t leave a residue on your skin, but often won’t hydrate as well.
“Ointments are the most effective type of moisturizer,” says Camp, “but can be greasy and impractical to use over a large portion of your body.” His tip, go with lotion in summer, and add an ointment such as Aquaphor to spot-treat dry areas in winter.
Wash Up First
Putting moisturizer on clean, dry skin helps it absorb faster and work better. A commonly recommended cleanser is CeraVe, which is gentle and also comes in a hydrating formula. To shed more dead skin cells, you can add a facial brush.
“Every couple days I use a Clarisonic brush,” says Khorasani. “That’s another thing I like to use for some exfoliation. My routine is nothing fancy, just basically making sure that you wash your face and do some moisturizing.”
Start Simple, Then Add On
Dermatologists admit that it’s hard to get guys to keep up with a routine that feels like a chore. So start simple, then tailor to your needs—such as adding a night cream.
“Men like simplicity,” says Marina Peredo, a board certified dermatologist and founder of NYC’s Skinfluence. “But there are certain ingredients: cleanser, good moisturizer with anti-aging properties, and retinol at night.”
Retinol enhances collagen production, and when combined with an exfoliating acid can renew skin and fade discoloration. Peredo recommends AlphaRet overnight cream by Skinbetter Science, which rejuvenates with retinoid and lactic acid.
Your Face Comes First, But Don’t Forget Your Hands
You’ll focus most of your skincare on your face. But there’s another part of your body begging for some anti-aging protection.
“People commonly overlook the backs of their hands, which are chronically sun exposed,” says Camp. “Daily use of sunscreen can help prevent sun spots in this area, which are often a giveaway to a person’s age.”
Flawlessly young face, plus old man hands? Not a good look. So take a second and protect your future handshakes. Just think of the deals you’ll close. And at such a young age.