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5 Male Grooming Habits for Healthier Skin

A daily routine of skin care can help you keep your boyish good looks.


Man putting shaving cream on his face

It started with the mustache.

When those awkward hairs started growing out of your upper lip, you had to learn how to shave. Maybe your dad even taught you. Or you just borrowed his razor and learned through trial and error.

For many men, shaving is the extent of their skincare routine. See hair, shave it off. While shaving is one of the most common male grooming habits, it’s far from the only thing you need to do to properly care for your skin.

5 Male Grooming Habits for Healthier Skin

You don’t need a counter full of products or a time-consuming skin ritual. You can stack a handful of healthy habits onto your normal daily routine to get healthy, youthful skin. Start with the basics:

1. Wash your face.

This is an easy one. You do it already. But if you’re like 80 percent of America, you’re washing your face all wrong. And not enough.

You should wash your face twice a day — when you wake up and again before bed. Most men do it in the shower in the morning, but not before bed. Night is the more important time to wash away the sweat, dirt, oil, free radicals and dead skin that build up throughout the day.

And do it with a facial cleanser. Not a bar of soap. Not your body wash. Not just water. Actual face wash. If you find two-a-days dries out your skin, a few splashes of lukewarm water can replace your morning cleanse.

2. Hydrate.

Aside from washing, moisturizing is the best thing you can do for your skin. Use a facial moisturizer to hydrate your face after you wash or shave. Moisturizers with retinol can help fight wrinkles and the other effects of aging.

Use a regular body lotion to moisturize from the neck down after you shower. At minimum, you should rehydrate your hands and feet. Hands are your most washed body part and are the likeliest to dry out. Feet lose a large number of skin cells from all the foot traffic and are prone to calluses. Moisturize your hands and feet twice a day, just like your face.

are only the half of it. You still need to drink plenty of water to restore the natural moisturizers in your skin from the inside. Limit the number of alcoholic and caffeinated drinks. Both dehydrate your skin.

3. Wear sunscreen.

The sun does a number on your skin. You might think a little color makes you look healthier, but it’s actually the opposite. Even a slight tan means your skin is burnt — like a piece of toast. Burnt skin means dead skin cells. Too much sun also weathers your skin, leading to wrinkles, sun spots and a loss of elasticity.

Before you head outdoors, slap on some sunscreen to protect any uncovered parts of your body. Better yet, find a moisturizer rated SPF 15 or higher to kill two birds with one stone and keep your grooming time to a minimum. There’s no SPF in the clouds, so you should wear sunscreen whether it’s sunny or overcast.

4. Practice good shaving habits.

Back to shaving, the latest multi-blade razors can work too well. They cut too close to the skin and pull at the hairs beneath the surface, causing razor burn and ingrown hairs. If this is a problem, downgrade the number of blades and up your shaving cream to one with a moisturizer.

Replace your razor regularly. Blades dull after five to seven shaves, making them less effective and harder on your skin. It’s best to shave in the shower or immediately after because it opens up your pores and softens your hair. Just don’t leave your razor in there. The moist environment can lead to bacteria and fungi, which can potentially infect your skin. Store your razor in a medicine cabinet instead.

5. Exfoliate.

Exfoliation removes the dead skin cells that simply washing cannot. But don’t overdo it. Too much and you can do more harm than good, leading to damaged skin, redness and breakouts.

Exfoliate your skin two or three times a week with a gentle exfoliating sponge or a washcloth and a mild cream. The more sensitive your skin, the gentler method and chemicals you should use. Shaving helps to exfoliate your skin, but don’t rely on that alone. The rest of your face and body need it, too. Always follow up with a moisturizer because exfoliation is one more thing that can dry out your skin.

These five tips are great for starters, but every man’s skin is different. And there are countless products that claim to be the best solution. If you need help navigating what to do and what to use, visit The Iowa Clinic Medical Spa for a custom skincare regimen.

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