By Logan Gossett
This one’s for the guys that struggled with endemic acne in high school; the guys whose hope diminished as the acne pervaded past high school; the guys who are engaging in a civil war with acne and acne scars. This one’s for the guys with dry skin; the guys whose oily skin resembles an embalmed sea turtle after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; the guys with a sweaty forehead. Everybody wants perfect skin, and this one’s for the guys who don’t know where to begin.
Even guys who are content with cratered, neglected, and flaccid skin should use a daily face cleanser and an all-purpose moisturizer. Cleansers and moisturizers are the meat and potatoes of the face. Without them, a man’s face will essentially be meatless and potatoless.
The first step is choosing a cleanser. The optimal cleanser will largely be determined by your skin type. Almost all facial cleansers are marketed for use by people with normal, dry, or oily skin types. Most brands additionally offer peripheral alternatives for people with combination skin, such as normal-dry.
As someone with normal-dry-oily-useless combination skin, Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser offers an exceptionally well-rounded facial cleanse. I also suffer from rosacea, or “Flustered Santa Claus” face. Rosacea causes skin to flare rapidly when it’s irritated, which occurs with an obnoxious level of frequency. Men with normal-oily skin often see positive results with the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser.
No matter which cleanser you choose, it should be used every morning and every evening before bed. Once cleansing becomes a habit, neglecting to cleanse will make you feel just as disgusting as forgetting to wipe. And, considering the facial fallout of acne that failing to cleanse causes, it basically is.
The second step is choosing a moisturizer.
When people are learning how to lucidly dream, they often perform “reality checks,” such as looking at their hands after walking through a doorway. These habituations act as triggers within a dream. Looking at your hand only to find 12 fingers and an eyeball with a monocle generally doesn’t happen in reality. Moisturizing is basically a reality check for skincare. Everybody should literally be moisturizing at all times. At this point, I struggle to wash my hands if I can’t moisturize them afterward.
Just like cleansers, most moisturizer brands offer products for each basic skin type. However, if your skin is easily triggered like mine, it’s best to refrain from an herbal or scented moisturizer. While they might feel soothing during application, they can irritate your skin and cause temporary breakouts and redness.
CeraVe offers an infallible selection of moisturizers. I use my CeraVe Moisturizing Cream (without SPF) more liberally than I use complimentary salsa at a Mexican restaurant. If you suffer from dry skin and can tolerate a scent, Dr. Lin Skincare Daily Hydrating Gel can be equally soothing and effective.
Sunscreen is invaluable, but it’s often neglected. Localities are beginning to provide sunscreen in public outdoor areas in an effort to mitigate damage caused by nefarious UV rays. Until sunscreen is universally available or the Sun dies, squirt some Anthelios 50 Body Mineral Tinted or Paula’s Choice Extra Care Non-Greasy sunscreen into your face before you walk outside. Many cleansers and dermatological treatments can cause increased skin vulnerability, making sunscreen especially important.
Exfoliators boast a healthy variety of methods, including chemical applicants (AHA and BHA), chemical peels, and scrubs. Cleansers can’t hoe all of the dirt buried in your pores. Chemical exfoliators like Stridex Maximum Pads and Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Gel Exfoliant are alcohol free, minimizing the irritation that exfoliants often cause. Overusing exfoliators can cause redness and rashes, but using exfoliators every other night can be a prerequisite for smooth, soft skin — which is the pinnacle of manliness. If you decide to regularly use an exfoliator, apply it after washing and drying your face. Wait five minutes, lather on some moisturizer, and your skin will look like an infant’s butt in no time.
Masks are what face care’s all about. Masks are both the cherry on top of the sundae and the sundae itself. Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Masque is a well-rounded mint julep option; Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay has the best product description on Amazon, “World’s most powerful facial,” and it’s a phenomenal clay mask treatment; then, if you feel like being a little bonkers, the My Beauty Diary Imperial Birds Nest Mask is a sheet mask that provides a feeling of unparalleled rejuvenation.
Note: I did not expound on the minutiae of each product’s chemical composition, but, if you feel like doing some deep reading to accompany your deep cleaning, polish your skin and skincare knowledge over at the subreddit /r/skincareaddiction’s FAQ. The FAQ provides useful information about essential products and confusing acronyms, like AHA and BHA.
Another note: Burn = Bad. A seemingly refreshing sting on the face is actually your skin’s moisture barrier shattering. Neutrogena Men’s Invigorating Face Wash and Neutrogena’s AcneWash are caustic. The burning sensation is literally your skin burning.