For a long time, there was the idea that applying a moisturizer was something only ladies do. Thankfully that’s changing, as more and more men are integrating them into their routines, but they still don’t always know why.
Moisturizers are the cornerstone of any effective skincare routine for one reason: your skin needs water. Just like the rest of your body can’t function if its dried out, your skin can’t either. Dehydrated skin has been linked to a variety of skin ailments, but it’s most commonly talked about in combination with anti-aging. See, dry skin looks old. It makes wrinkles look deeper, makes your complexion look dull and sallow, and sags more easily.
I spend a lot of time talking to other men about skincare. Well, at least trying to. Most guys I encounter have a pretty blase attitude toward their skincare routine and if they do anything at all, it’s the bare minimum (the bare minimum is washing your face, for the record). But still, many of them want to know the easiest thing they can do to improve their skin. My answer: moisturize.
At the base level, a moisturizer helps to rehydrate the skin by giving moisture it’s not getting somewhere else. But a moisturizer is more than that. Moisturizers actually help pull moisture from the air and bring it into the skin. They can also help skin cells retain this new moisture with the help of ingredients like hyaluronic acid, a naturally-occurring substance that helps our cells hold on to water. So yes, if you have dry skin, a moisturizer will help it not be dry, but we all need it, even if we have another skin type.
That’s because moisturizer also helps protect our skin from the outside. It can help strengthen our skin barrier, which helps protect the outer layer of our skin from outside aggressors but also helps it retain moisture. A healthy skin barrier, thanks to daily moisturizer, will help the skin stay hydrated longer.
Moisturizer should be applied directly after washing your face, morning and night. It will help lock in any residual moisture left on your face. If you exfoliate or shave (which is a form of exfoliation in itself), it’s even more important. Exfoliation strips away the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, but that also means that the layers below are more prone to losing moisture. You have to lock it in with a moisturizer. Use a dime-sized amount, rub it quickly in your hands, and smear it all over your face (and your neck too, especially if you’re prone to razor bumps).
What kind of moisturizer you choose depends on what kind of skin you have. If you have dry skin, look for a heavier cream or lotion. If you don’t like the feeling of heavy creams on your face, look for a lightweight gel moisturizer that won’t feel like it’s weighing you down. If you have oily skin, you still need to moisturize. Just look for oil-free, matte formulas which won’t make you look shiny. And unless you’re wearing additional sunscreen every day, always look for a version that contains SPF.
There’s a reason moisturizer should be the cornerstone to any man’s skincare routine: there’s really no downside to using it. It’s one of the simplest steps that offers the biggest results and no matter what your skin looks like, it can benefit from moisture. You wouldn’t go an entire day without drinking water would you? It’s time you apply that same mentality to your face.