58% Of Men Skip This Simple Daily Ritual, And It's Crucial As You Age

Dermatologists explain why men really need to do this more often.
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Moisturising regularly is essential for healthy skin. But men often skip this crucial practice, dermatologists say, and it could causes them some unexpected skin problems.

“Men are generally low-maintenance when it comes to skin care regimens,” said Dr. Purvisha Patel, a dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon. “Culturally, they may have been told that skin care and beauty is something girls do to be attractive; however, this is changing.”

While that may be a generalisation (and we all know there are exceptions to the rule), there are also numbers to back it up.

In a recent YouGov poll, only around 40% of American men said they have a consistent skin care routine, and 58% of men said they rarely or never use moisturiser — but a number of them were concerned about dry skin and wrinkles.

Those findings aren’t surprising to Dr. Aubrey Chad Hartmann, a dermatologist for U.S. Dermatology Partners in Cedar Park, Texas. “Most men do not moisturise adequately,” he told HuffPost.

But doing so is crucial, especially as you age, he said. If you’re a man who typically doesn’t moisturise, read on to see why doctors believe you should change that.

Why Men Might Avoid Moisturising

Men usually aren’t accustomed to applying products to their skin, Hartmann said. They also may not like the heavy or sticky feeling that some products can have.

Though women tend to develop a multistep skin care routine starting at a young age and discuss skin care with their mothers or friends, Hartmann said it’s traditionally been rare for men or boys to have these conversations.

Another issue is that many people don’t associate wrinkles with dryness or the need to moisturise, said Dr. Kenneth Mark, a cosmetic dermatologist. These days, he said treating wrinkles is more commonly linked to dermal fillers or Botox.

Why Men (And Everyone) Need To Moisturise Regularly

The skin is your body’s largest organ, and it acts as a barrier. When it’s healthy, the skin prevents bacteria, allergens, irritants and other environmental elements from entering the body, and it keeps water and moisture inside, Hartmann said.

“You can think of the skin as a brick wall,” he explained. “The cells are the bricks, and the mortar is made up of different substances the body produces to fill the gaps and maintain the barrier.”

People with dry skin may lack some of these compounds, Hartmann said, which can give your skin a dry, rough, wrinkly appearance that might be itchy, irritated, inflamed and more prone to injury.

“Using a moisturiser can help by acting as a temporary barrier and allowing the skin to repair itself,” he explained.

In the YouGov poll, 35% of men said they were concerned about dry skin, while 18% said they were concerned about wrinkles and 19% about sun damage.

Moisturising is crucial as you age, Mark said, since your skin naturally loses moisture and collagen, which might increase redness, fine lines, wrinkles and dryness. But these are all things that skin hydration can improve.

Finding the right product begins with knowing your skin type, which you can help identify with guidelines from the American Academy of Dermatology.
Tempura via Getty Images
Finding the right product begins with knowing your skin type, which you can help identify with guidelines from the American Academy of Dermatology.

Another thing to note is that shaving can strip the outer layer of the skin, Hartmann said. If you shave too closely, you might experience razor bumps, razor burns or ingrown hairs, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, or AAD. Moisturising afterward can help repair the skin barrier and prevent some of these problems, Hartmann added.

What Type Of Moisturizer Should You Use?

Choosing the most effective moisturizer often depends on your skin type. The AAD outlines these categories:

  • Sensitive skin may sting or burn after product use

  • Normal skin is clear and not sensitive

  • Dry skin is flaky, itchy or rough

  • Oily skin is shiny and greasy

  • Combination skin is dry in some areas and oily in others

Once you know your skin type, look for moisturisers labeled “for dry skin” or “for oily skin.”

Beyond that, Hartmann recommended applying daily moisturisers with an SPF of at least 30 to your face and any other sun-exposed areas. In a 2020 survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 12% of men said they always used sunscreen when outdoors for an hour or more on a sunny day.

You should also look for products labeled “noncomedogenic,” meaning they are formulated to not clog pores or cause acne. Moisturisers containing antioxidants, like vitamins C and E or niacinamides, can minimise sun damage and inflammation, improve discolouration and lighten dark spots, Hartmann said.

Along with antioxidants, he suggested choosing products with ingredients that preserve and restore moisture, such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, ceramides or coconut oil.

If you don’t like thick, heavy or tacky-feeling moisturisers, there are plenty of lighter lotions with sufficient moisturising benefits, Hartmann said.

And you don’t have to spend a fortune for an effective moisturiser; plenty of inexpensive drugstore products will do the trick. For example, Mark recommended AmLactin’s Daily Nourish Lotion, which contains lactic acid. It moisturises and exfoliates, and the brand says it’s “non-greasy.” Mark also suggested using Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen, which is lightweight.

How Often Should You Moisturise?

You should apply moisturiser to your face and body daily, while also using sunscreen on exposed areas, Hartmann said. The best time to moisturise is right after showering, cleansing your face or shaving, when your skin is damp. This helps trap water in the skin.

However, you may not need to moisturise your entire body every day, especially if you have oily skin, Hartmann said. For instance, your skin might need less moisture in the summer, but it may need more in winter when the air tends to be drier.

“I normally advise my patients with seasonal dry skin to use a daily moisturiser when they are using the heater in their homes,” Hartmann said.

If you’re not regularly moisturising your skin, get into the habit of doing so, Patel emphasised. This can help prevent dry skin, irritation and breakouts, while minimising signs of aging.