The world of skin care can often feel daunting – even to those who already have a daily routine – and it’s no wonder, with complicated buzzwords, foot-long ingredients lists and extravagant multi-step routines popping up all over the place. It’s also a largely female-dominated space, making it feel like there’s little room for men (even though there is, in fact, plenty). We asked the team at Heath London how to create the perfect skin care routine for men, from beginner to advanced level – here’s what they recommended.
How To Create The Perfect Skin Care Routine For Men
Should Men Have A Skin Care Routine?
The short answer: yes. ‘Skincare is not limited to any gender and is important for everyone’s overall health and well-being,’ says Harry Aaronson, co-founder of men’s skincare brand Heath. ‘Having a skincare routine can help men maintain healthy looking skin, protect against environmental damage and slow down the aging process. A skincare routine can also be beneficial for mental health, as it can provide men with a daily moment to reset and recharge.’
How Often Should We Perform Our Skin Care Routine?
‘We advise men to follow a morning and evening routine,’ explains Harry. ‘Like our body, our skin has its own circadian rhythm – meaning natural biological processes and functions follow a roughly 24-hour cycle with specific effects on the skin. For example, the skin’s barrier function, which helps protect against environmental stressors and water loss, fluctuates throughout the day. It is typically strongest during the day and weaker at night. This can impact the absorption and efficacy of skincare products.
‘On the other hand, skin cell turnover and renewal processes tend to be more active during sleep, allowing for repair and regeneration of the skin. Nighttime is a crucial period for cell renewal and healing. This is why it’s important to follow both a morning and evening routine, with specific ingredients and treatments.’
What Are The Misconceptions Surrounding Men’s Skin Care?
Unfortunately, there are many. As Harry explains: ‘One very common misconception is that skincare is only for women. Skincare is essential for both men and women to maintain healthy skin. Men’s skin tends to be thicker and oilier than women’s skin, and they may also have to deal with specific concerns like razor burn, ingrown hairs and acne caused by shaving. A skincare routine can address these issues and promote healthier skin.’
For others, there’s also the (false) idea that skincare is overly complicated and time-consuming. ‘Skincare routines can be as simple or elaborate as desired,’ says Harry. ‘While some men may prefer a minimal routine with just a few products, others may enjoy a more involved regimen. This is also why Heath has designed a lot of our products with time-concern in mind. Our products are specifically designed to seamlessly integrate into men’s daily routine, making skincare fuss-free and approachable to men.’
There’s also the notion that skincare is a luxury or vanity project, and therefore isn’t a very ‘manly’ pastime. ‘Skincare is not just about aesthetics; it’s about maintaining the health and integrity of the skin – as well as providing a daily moment to reset and recharge,’ highlights Harry. ‘Skincare should be seen as a part of overall self-care and well-being. This is why, at Heath, we’re very focused on reframing skincare as a wellness moment.’
‘To get men into a basic routine, we’d advise to focus on four key points: cleanse, exfoliate, moisturise and protect,’ says Harry. ‘Cleansing and exfoliating helps remove dirt, oil, impurities and dead skin cells. Moisturising is essential for hydration, maintaining the moisture barrier and preventing dryness. The last (but not least) step is protection of the skin from harmful UV rays that can cause premature aging and increase the risk of skin cancer. These steps can be broken down into a simple two-step routine in both the morning and evening.’
Th two key points to address in the morning are moisturisation and protection, notes Harry:
Moisturise: ‘To maintain optimal hydration levels in the skin, we’d advise to start the day by applying a moisturiser and eye serum. Ideally, your moisturiser and eye serum should have both hydrating and protective properties. I’d recommend our Heath Moisturiser, which contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate and solberine NAT to shield against blue light (blue light can cause hyperpigmentation and premature ageing).’
Protect: ‘Then, to protect the skin against daily exposure of UV rays, top the moisturiser with a good broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Even when the sun doesn’t shine, UV radiation can lead to premature aging!’
In the evening, Harry says that your priority should be cleansing, exfoliating and moisturising:
Cleanse & Exfoliate: ‘Cleanse and exfoliate the skin to remove dirt, pollutants, and excess oil accumulated throughout the day. Heath’s 2-in-1 Face Wash saves you a step by doubling up as a daily exfoliating cleanser. We recommend looking for ingredients such as papaya extract, which has a multifunctional use in cleansing and brightening as well as containing soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.
Moisturise: ‘After the skin is cleaned, it’s time to lock in Hydration with a moisturiser and eye serum to support the skin repair cycle overnight.’
Have your basic routine down? Then it’s time to take things up a notch. ‘Once more comfortable with a daily AM/PM routine, we’d suggest adding in one more step for ‘treatment’ – both morning and night – such as a serum,’ says Harry. ‘It’s important to note that men should follow the circadian rhythm of the skin and look for different elements in their morning and night serum.
‘Heath has two targeted serums, focusing on protection for the day and repair for the night. Your morning serum should focus on protection against external aggressors including pollution, with ingredients such as pollustop, prebiulin FOS and vitamin C. Your evening serum should supercharge the repair of your skin overnight, defend against oxidative stress and strengthening the skin barrier with ingredients such as niacinamide, bakuchiol, melatonin and biowave BCR.’
If you’ve made it this far, then you’re looking at a more advanced skin care routine. ‘If men are ready to go for “expert level” skin care, we’d recommend adding in weekly targeted treatments, such as advanced exfoliation treatments and masks,’ suggest Harry. ‘Depending on the product and your skin’s sensitivity, advanced exfoliating treatments can be done one to three times per week.
‘Exfoliation can be done through physical exfoliation (massaging the face with exfoliating particles such as activated charcoal) or chemical exfoliation (treating the skin with different acids – we recommend AHAs, Alpha Hydroxy Acids, for exfoliation as these are less harsh on skin compared to BHAs, Beta Hydroxy Acids). Masks can serve as an exfoliator or be a good way to incorporate a needed hydration boost. Our Shower Mask, for example, is an intensive exfoliating and hydrating treatment that is designed to be used in a shower session – and will only take two to five minutes to use, as opposed to mask treatments which sometimes need 30 plus minutes to soak into the skin.’
Are There Any Ingredients We Should Look Out For?
The list of skincare ingredients is, to put it lightly, overwhelming. But are there any we should be looking out for specifically when it comes to our routine? ‘It’s important for men to choose skincare products that suit their specific skin type and concerns, rather than focusing on their skincare expertise levels,’ says Harry. ‘We always advise to listen closely to your skin’s needs and pick the suited ingredients based on that.
‘Does your skin feel tight and lack hydration? Then reach for hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, niacinamide and biowave BCR. But if your skin feels like it’s got a bit too much shine and oil, look for lemon myrtle and salicylic acid. Do you struggle with pigmentation, and skin that looks a little dull? Reach for AHAs, niacinamide and bakuchiol (the natural variant of the often-irritating retinol). But if you feel like you need extra barrier repair, then ceramides, allantoin, peptides and prebiulin FOS will be your best friends.’
Explore more men’s skincare products at heathlondon.co.uk
Featured image: Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels