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The Absolute Best Skin Care Products for Men

by Martha Adams

Skin care

Range of practices that support skin integrity

A cosmetologist applying a face mask

Skin care is the range of practices that support skin integrity, enhance its appearance and relieve skin conditions. They can include nutrition, avoidance of excessive sun exposure and appropriate use of emollients. Practices that enhance appearance include the use of cosmetics, botulinum, exfoliation, fillers, laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion, peels, retinol therapy[1] and ultrasonic skin treatment.[2] Skin care is a routine daily procedure in many settings, such as skin that is either too dry or too moist, and prevention of dermatitis and prevention of skin injuries.[3]

Skin care is a part of the treatment of wound healing, radiation therapy and some medications.


Skin care is at the interface of cosmetics,[4] and dermatology.[5]

The US Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act defines cosmetics as products intended to cleanse or beautify (for instance, shampoos and lipstick). A separate category exists for medications, which are intended to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent disease, or to affect the structure or function of the body (for instance, sunscreens and acne creams), although some products, such as moisturizing sunscreens and anti-dandruff shampoos, are regulated within both categories.[4][6]

Skin care differs from dermatology by its inclusion of non-physician professionals, such as estheticians and wound care nursing staff.[1][7] Skin care includes modifications of individual behavior and of environmental and working conditions.[7]


Guidelines for neonatal skin care have been developed. Nevertheless, the pediatric and dermatological communities have not reached consensus on best cleansing practices, as good quality scientific evidence is scarce.[8] Immersion in water seems superior to washing alone, and use of synthetic detergents or mild liquid baby cleansers seems comparable or superior to water alone.[8] Add from [9][10]


A woman applying sunscreen

Sun protection is an important aspect of skin care. Though the sun is beneficial in order for the human body to get its daily dose of vitamin D, unprotected excessive sunlight can cause extreme damage to the skin. Ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) radiation in the sun's rays can cause sunburn in varying degrees, early ageing and increased risk of skin cancer.[11] UV exposure can cause patches of uneven skin tone and dry out the skin.It can even reduce skin's elasticity and encourage sagging and wrinkle formation.

Sunscreen can protect the skin from sun damage; sunscreen should be applied at least 20 minutes before exposure, and should be re-applied every four hours. Sunscreen should be applied to all areas of the skin that will be exposed to sunlight, and at least a tablespoon (25 ml) should be applied to each limb, the face, chest, and back, to ensure thorough coverage. Many tinted moisturizers, foundations and primers now contain some form of SPF.

Sunscreens may come in the form of creams, gels or lotions; their SPF number indicates their effectiveness in protecting the skin from the sun's radiation. There are sunscreens available to suit every skin type; in particular, those with oily skin should choose non-comedogenic sunscreens; those with dry skins should choose sunscreens with moisturizers to help keep skin hydrated, and those with sensitive skin should choose unscented, hypoallergenic sunscreen and spot-test in an inconspicuous place (such as the inside of the elbow or behind the ear) to ensure that it does not irritate the skin.


Skin ageing is associated with increased vulnerability.[12] Skin problems including pruritus are common in the elderly but are often inadequately addressed.[13] A literature review of studies that assessed maintenance of skin integrity in the elderly found most to be low levels of evidence,[12] but the review concluded that skin-cleansing with synthetic detergents or amphoteric surfactants induced less skin dryness than using soap and water.[12] Moisturizers with humectants helped with skin dryness, and skin barrier occlusive reduced skin injuries.[12]

There is limited evidence that moisturising soap bar; combinations of water soak, oil soak, and lotion are effective in maintaining the skin integrity of elderly people when compared to standard care.[14]


According to the American Academy of Dermatology, between 40 and 50 million Americans suffer from acne each year.[15] While many associate acne with adolescence, acne can occur at any age, with its causes including heredity, hormones, menstruation, food, and emotional stress.[15]

Those with inflammatory acne should exfoliate with caution as the procedure may make conditions worse and consult a dermatologist before treatment.[15] Some anti-acne creams contain drying agents such as benzoyl peroxide (in concentrations of 2.5 - 10% ).[16]

Pressure sore

Pressure sores are injuries to skin and underlying tissue as a result of prolonged pressure on the skin. A known example of pressure sore is a bedsore called pressure ulcer.


Add from [17][18]

When cleaning the stoma area, plain warm water should be use and dry wipe to gently clean around the stoma. Pat gently and make sure not to rub the area. Put all used wipes in a disposable bag and wash your hands after.

Wound healing

Wound healing is a complex and fragile process in which the skin repairs itself after injury. It is susceptible to interruption or failure that creates non-healing chronic wounds.[19]


Add from

2001 American Society for Clinical Nutrition Nutritional skin care: health effects of micronutrients and fatty acids Esther Boelsma, Henk FJ Hendriks, and Len Roza.


Radiation induces skin reactions in the treated area, particularly in the axilla, head and neck, perineum and skin fold regions.[20] Formulations with moisturising, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and wound healing properties are often used, but no preferred approach or individual product has been identified as best practice.[20][21] Soft silicone dressings that act as barriers to friction may be helpful.[20] In breast cancer, calendula cream may reduce the severity of radiation effects on the dark spot corrector.[21][22] Deodorant use after completing radiation treatment has been controversial but is now recommended for practice.[22] Add from[23][24][25][26]


Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors are medications used in cancer treatment. These medications commonly cause skin and nail problems, including rashes, dry skin and paronychia.[27] Preventive intensive moisturising with emollient ointments several times, avoidance of water-based creams and water soaks (although in certain circumstances white vinegar or potassium permanganate soaks may help), protection the skin from excessive exposure to sunshine, and soap substitutes which are less dehydrating for the skin than normal soaps, as well as shampoos that reduce the risk of scalp folliculitis, are recommended. Treatment measures with topical antibiotic medication can be helpful.[27][28][29]

Related products

Cosmeceuticals are topically-applied, combination products that bring together cosmetics and "biologically active ingredients". Products which are similar in perceived benefits but ingested orally are known as nutricosmetics. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act "does not recognize any such category as "cosmeceuticals." A product can be a drug, a cosmetic, or a combination of both, but the term "cosmeceutical" has no meaning under the law". Drugs are subject to an intensive review and approval process by FDA. Cosmetics, and these related products, although regulated, are not approved by FDA prior to sale.


Skin care procedures include use of botulinum;[30] exfoliation; fillers; laser medicine in cosmetic resurfacing, hair removal, vitiligo, port-wine stain and tattoo removal; photodynamic therapy; microdermabrasion; peels; retinol therapy.[1]

Men's Skincare: Cleansers, Creams & Men’s Shave Products — Kiehl’s

Men can use the same skincare products as women but — since men’s skin is thicker, has larger pores and produces four times more sebum than women’s skini — it can benefit from products uniquely formulated for men. However, many products are formulated for both men and women. Select products on a case-by-case basis for a routine uniquely suited to your skin type, skin concerns and goals, and consult a Skincare Expert if you would like help determining which products are best for you.

i“It’s a Guy Thing: Cosmetic Procedures Surge Among Men.” American Academy of Dermatology. (2013)

The Absolute Best Skin Care Products for Men

We collected the best skin care products for men in 15 categories, because at GQ, we cover every skin care topic under the sun. We've done deep dives on ingredients, from hydrating hyaluronic acid to complexion-smoothing niacinamide to pore-clearing salicylic acid. We’ve talked about specific categories (like the best serums) and told how to solve specific problems (like best cleansers for sensitive skin, and best aftershaves). We've even got an SPF explainer and picks for the best sunscreens for your face. Literally everything under the sun, in this case.

But we wanted to condense it all in one place: The best skin care for men. A regimen you can build from the ground up for better skin for the rest of your life—or maybe just a new product or brand to help round out a routine you already love. Here are some of our newest favorites longtime standbys—all practically guaranteed to make you just a little more handsome.

The Best Moisturizer with SPF

Cetaphil SPF30 oil-control moisturizer $17 $14 Amazon Buy Now

If you’re gonna hydrate daily—and you want to—it may as well have SPF, no? Make it one with SPF30+, per the universal dermatologist recommendation.

The Best Moisturizer without SPF

Baxter of California oil-free moisturizer $27 Amazon Buy Now

If you don’t have SPF in your moisturizer, that’s fine. Make sure to pair it with a facial SPF, then. And, may as well make it an oil-free pick, especially if you’ve got oily or acne-prone skin.

The Best Face Sunscreen

Supergoop mineral face sunscreen SPF 30 $38 Sephora Buy Now

A face sunscreen is formulated for the more delicate skin on your face—and without pore-clogging ingredients like heavy oils. Keep it separate from your full-body SPF.

The Best Night Cream

Aesop Sublime Replenishing Night Masque $120 SSENSE Buy Now

A dense night cream helps accelerate healing and cellular turnover while you sleep. It’s probably too hefty to wear during the day, and that’s the point: use it at bedtime, when skin is also prone to drying out (particularly in the winter or in an air-conditioned room).

The Best Eye Cream

Hawthorne eye cream $19 Hawthorne Buy Now

This area of skin is the thinnest on the face, and thus it wrinkles, sags, darkens, and puffs easily. Eye creams pack specific ingredients, ranging from circulation-stimulating caffeine to skin-reinforcing peptides.

The Best Cleanser

Doctor Rogers RESTORE face wash $42 Amazon Buy Now

You want to keep this one gentler. Some days, you might be washing your mug 3 or 4 times, if it’s hot, or if you work out. Even on the twice-a-days (the baseline, morning and night), you don’t want an abrasive cleanser that dries out skin.

The Best Chemical Exfoliator

Herbivore AHA + BHA exfoliating peel serum $54 Sephora Buy Now

Chemical exfoliants use alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or poly hydroxy acids (PHAs) to dissolve dead surface cells and keep skin smooth, and/or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) to assist while also dissolving dead cells and grime trapped within the pores. The result is fewer breakouts and brighter, clearer complexion. Use them 2-3x weekly, or as directed.

The Best Physical Exfoliant

Jack Black face scrub $19 Amazon Buy Now

Other people prefer physical scrubs, which use a little grit to buff away the dead cells and keep skin healthy, bright, and clear. Like chemical exfoliants, use them 2-3x weekly, or as directed, but commit to either chemical or physical.

The Best Hydrating Serum

L'Oreal Paris hyaluronic acid serum $24 $13 Amazon Buy Now

Applying serums beneath your moisturizer is the most impactful way to get results. Plus, since a moisturizer is primarily defensive (in that it raps moisture inside the skin and blocks toxins and UV rays out), you can add a hydrating serum (with hyaluronic acid, as a prime example) to keep your dermis nourished and nurtured.

The Best Corrective Serum

Dr. Dennis Gross retinol ferulic serum $88 Nordstrom Buy Now

Some serums use exfoliating ingredients (like in chemical exfoliants) to dissolve dead cells and prevent signs of aging. However, a reparative or regenerative one works well overnight to help skin heal faster, and to reverse these signs of aging. We like ones with retinol for this reason.

The Best Brightening Serum

Ursa Major Vitamin C serum $54 Nordstrom Buy Now

Some ingredients, like vitamin c, help battle skin-aging toxins, while also reversing discoloration and hyperpigmentation in the skin. Your friends will notice a visibly “brighter” complexion.

The Best Shaving Supplies

Bevel shaving cream $18 Amazon Buy Now

Shaving is such a big umbrella of skin care, and we’ve got roundups and tutorials dedicated to it. It’s also one category where we suggest sticking with the same brand throughout, in order to build a regimen that plays well with all the other products inside of it.

The Best Toner

Thayers witch hazel toner $10 Amazon Buy Now

Toner balances your pH levels and helps control overactive sebum production. Use it on oily skin after cleansing, or if your regimen is throwing your skin out of whack.

The Best Cleansing Mask

Youth to the People purifying mask $36 Sephora Buy Now

A once-weekly cleansing mask is like a vacuum for your pores. Use it to detoxify skin and prevent breakouts.

The Best Hydrating Mask

Dr.Jart+ hydrating sheet mask $6 Sephora Buy Now

Similarly, a once-weekly hydrating mask can supercharge dry distressed skin—like after travel, or peak winter. It can be a leave-on topical mask, a wash-away one, or a sheet mask.

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