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Best Skincare Routine for Active Men

Men are some of my favorite clients to work with.

Over the last few years, I’ve noticed an increasing amount of men - both clients and those whom I know personally - that are taking better care of their skin and investing in professional products and services to keep their skin wrinkle and acne-free.

This trend is not just local to San Diego. In 2011, the sales of premium skincare products for men rose 12% and has continued to grow at a rapid rate. Women buying these products for men account for only 25% of those sales. Most of the time, men are actually buying these products themselves. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports similar numbers on Botox and other filler treatments for men, as well.

In my time treating men’s skin, I’ve learned one big (and unsurprising) lesson, though: the best skincare routine for active men is the simplest.

Let me break it down.

Is There a Difference Between Men & Women’s Skin & Skincare Routines?

Of course there is a difference between the best skincare routine for men and women! And knowing the difference is essential to the way men should take care of their skin.

Men’s skin is about 25% thicker with more collagen, more and larger hair follicles and more sebum production. This is all a result of men’s increased testosterone production. While these structural differences make men’s skin less sensitive, it also makes them a bit more acne-prone as testosterone acts heavily on sebaceous (the oil-producing) glands under the skin.

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The Best Simple Skincare Routine Solutions for Active Men

Most of the male clients I work with are active, in terms of fitness, career and social commitments. So, it’s important to simplify men’s skincare routine and create a strong regimen that adds just a few minutes on to their routine. As my husband reminds me, too many products and he would just get bored!


Cleansing is the firstand debatably the most importantpart of any man’s skincare routine, especially if they are actively exercising and sweating. It’s great to sweat, it releases toxins trapped inside the body and keeps body temperature in check. But, if men don’t take care of their skin after they work up a sweat, they are asking for trouble. It’s important to clean out the pores and balance out oil production. Sweating increases the sebaceous activity in the oil glands, which are already more active in men. When toxins released through sweat collect on the surface of the skin, it can block pores and trap this oil under the skin. As a result, bacteria can grow in the trapped oil gland, which can then turn into inflammation, breakouts or even infections.

Ultimately, it is important that within two hours of sweating, men cleanse their face to remove the grime, dead skin cells and excess oil buildup from their face to prevent any pore blockages or development of contagions.

To keep the skincare routine, I recommend Defense gel. This cleanser was designed to prevent the spread of skin infections that wrestlers and jiu jitsu fighters pass around to one another through the mat. The cleanser hydrates and maximizes moisturization, replenishing the skin after a dehydrating workout. It also uses aloe and tea tree oil to heal, moisturize and soothe irritated and inflamed skin. Win-win.


Serums aren’t just for the ladies - they’re important for men, too! I keep it simple and recommend a hyaluronic serum and a gentle exfoliating serum daily. That’s it.

An active lifestyle can quickly zap hydration levels, so it’s important to nourish the skin with a serum or moisturizer high in levels of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid helps skin retain its essential moisture and hydration by binding 1000 times its weight in water and preventing transepidermal water loss (read: no flaky, red, irritated or dry skin resulting from dehydration). It also functions as a natural barrier between skin and the environment, keeping the skin free of foreign matter or bacteria.

My pick? Hyaluronic Plus. This serum contains 92% hyaluronic acid. The remaining 8% includes zinc, an anti-bacterial agent that helps protect the skin from any pore-clogging matter, and added minerals that reduce and balance excess oil on men’s skin. My husband swears that this product makes his skin feel younger and more supple.

Similar to women’s skincare, exfoliation is an important part of the process. It’s important for men to use a gentle exfoliant compared to a harsher scrub, especially after a workout when the skin can be at its peak sensitivity. The exfoliant helps prevent pore congestion by sloughing off excess dirt and dead skin cells from the surface of the skin that can accumulate throughout a busy day.

My pick? A few drops of X5, a gentle exfoliating serum. This serum contains five powerful acids that not only exfoliate, but also reduce oil production and prevent post-shave breakouts for men. It’s a powerful way to multitask in men’s skincare routine.

active man skincare

Let’s Face It

"I was encouraged to continue some type of regimen because once I began to pay close attention and invest in some good product, I realized that people started complimenting me on my skin. I also realized that the results made me look and feel healthy. People don’t say that I look young; they say I look good for my age. That compliment - I’ll take. I also still feel young and hope that my outside appearance is now fairly consistent with my internal outlook,” said one of my clients.

A few simple products and a few added minutes are a simple way to make a big impact on an active man’s skin - and his attitude and confidence.

To the men reading this: what is your skincare routine?


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