You could have a Crossfit-crafted body filling out a made-to-measure Dunhill suit and I’d still argue that to really look your best, you’d need to devote attention to your one true source of distinction: your face. After all, it’s the thing that everyone — friend or stranger — notices first when you show up; and as you age, clear, healthy skin only gets more impressive and appealing.
Just in case you still hang on to the antiquated notion that skin care is only women’s work, know that the men’s skin care market is projected to top $60 billion by 2020, with younger men latching on to facial creams, masks and serums without hesitation. But just because you neglected such products in your 20s doesn’t mean you can’t make and instigate change starting now.
The goal is not to turn back time but to look fresh, vital and healthy. And it’s neither too complicated nor too expensive to start making this a beneficial reality. All of the products recommended are available at major pharmacies as well as on Amazon or other online sites — and some are even discounted at big-box stores like Costco. I have also used and will vouch for all of them. Best of all, the following steps take no more than 15 minutes a day. To paraphrase an iconic women’s ad tagline: Aren’t you worth it?
Wash your face, but not with soap
Let’s start with this easy but most essential act: Wash your face every night before bed. I asked 75 men how many did so and was stunned by their unnerving 3-out-of-4 “don’t do it” reply. Instead of my admonishing you, I’ll let award-winning cosmetic dermatologist (and clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine) Patricia Wexler read you the open-and-shut riot act: “This is what gets on your skin during the day: pollutants, free radicals, hydrocarbons, whatever crap snuck through the depleted ozone layer, dust and bacteria from rarely filtered office and condo central air conditioners, plus collagen-destroying UVA rays from sunlight, which reflect off of the sidewalk, or come through the window to your desk. You need to get this gunk off your face before your head touches the pillow.”
Got it? Good, but, and this is important, do not wash your face with soap. Detergent-based soaps strip natural oils and leave a film on your skin. Try a facial cleanser from Neutrogena or L’Oréal, both of which contain micellar water, which moisturizes as it cleans. Cerave’s hydrating facial cleanser will also leave skin clean but supple and is great for sensitive types.
Put on a moisturizer, morning and night
Washing, both morning and night, should always be followed by a moisturizer. Get over it. We’re talking required maintenance here, not makeup — like waxing your car, and washing your Titleist V1x golf balls. Besides, moisturizer takes as much time to apply as deodorant .
In choosing a moisturizer, know that those with vitamins A, C and E, enzyme-fighting MMPi or retinol (read the labels on the box) can also stimulate our body's production of collagen, which we need to keep skin firmer and which naturally decreases as we age. The inclusion of ingredients such as chamomile, green tea or lavender oil will help alleviate redness in your skin.
In addition, for day , you want a moisturizer with sunscreen, which men and women should be wearing every day. (Remember: Melanoma is on the rise, is no fun and leaves scars.) You want something light rather than greasy or you won’t use it. I promise it will feel better, and may even smell better, than your aftershave. Night can be a good time to add in a thicker cream (make sure it's still easily absorbed so it doesn’t smear on your pillow) with extra skin-saving properties.
Some recommended choices
• Aramis Lab Series Moisture Defense SPF 15, with antioxidants to help neutralize skin-damaging free radicals
• Olay Total Effects Whip, with vitamins C, E, B3, B5
• Kiehl’s Facial Fuel, with vitamins C and E
• Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery, with primrose oil, which strengthens; lavender oil, which reduces redness; and squalene, which preserves the suppleness we lose with age
• RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream, which relies on retinol, derived from vitamin A, to boost collagen and diminish fine lines
• Patricia Wexler’s Intensive Night Reversal and Repair Cream with collagen-boosting MMPi