We Searched The Web And Found 5 Expert Tips to Top Off Your Winter Skin Care
While skincare for men used to consist of a few pity products on the bottom shelf at the drugstore, times have really changed. These days, men account for a huge percentage of skincare product sales, and they’re not afraid to visit the dermatologist for professional help, either. (Good on you!)
You’re likely reading this because you want to put your best face forward despite the freezing wind, dry indoor heat, and other challenges the winter months bring. So, we’ll cut right to the chase: Men’s skin has different needs than women’s skin, and the winter is a time for being extra vigilant if you want to keep your face looking young and healthy.
When it comes to how men’s skin is unique, there’s both good news and bad news. First, the good stuff: “Men’s skin tends to have more collagen [than women’s], so it’s thicker and less likely to wrinkle,” says Dr. Dendy Engelman of New York’s Medical Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery. Collagen is what provides structure to the skin, making it stay taut and supple instead of loose and stretchy. Now, for the bad news: “Men’s skin is more sebaceous (oily) than women’s skin,” says Engelman. This can present some challenges, especially during the colder months when your skin suddenly goes from oily to dry.
Do you know what to do differently when the weather is cold? We’ll share the exact skincare steps dermatologists recommend during the winter.
Begin an Actual Routine
“Most men are just like, ‘I wash my face in the shower with Ivory soap, and that’s it,’” says Engelman. If you have a dedicated face wash, you’re already ahead of the game, but you will likely benefit by adding a few more products to the mix this time of year.
“Men want what’s going to work in the least amount of steps,” Engelman tells us. So don’t worry, we’re not going to suggest 80 new products that you need to start using. At a bare minimum, Engelman recommends a gentle cleanser, a good moisturizer and a sunscreen. Beyond that, we’ll share a few extras for those who really want extra credit (or just extra good-looking skin).
Use a Moisturizing Cream at Night
Some men avoid using moisturizer because they think it will feel greasy, or because they already use aftershave or sunscreen every morning. You might be able to get away with that, but, “Pay attention to your skin,” says Engelman. “If it’s getting red or irritated or windburned or feels tight, your skin’s giving you little clues that it needs more moisture.”
Dr. Ted Lain of Sanova Dermatology agrees. “Men should continue a yearlong habit of using sunscreen lotion every morning,” he says. But in addition to that, “Should the skin develop dryness or sensitivity during winter, adding a moisturizing cream at night would be necessary.” Moisturizers come in all forms — serums, light lotions, heavier creams — it all depends on how much hydration your skin needs.
“People who can get away with a very light moisturizer or none at all in the summer months may be prone to dryness based on the environment in winter months,” explains Engelman. If that sounds like you, pat on a moisturizing cream after you wash your face at night, and you’ll wake up to less dehydrated, irritated skin in the morning.
Switch to a Gentle Face Wash
“When the weather is cold and dry, it strips the outer skin layer of essential oil, disrupting the skin barrier,” explains New York-based dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner. Unfortunately, some face washes contain detergents that can have that same stripping effect, causing double the dryness to your skin. If your face has a tight feeling after you wash it, that’s a clear sign that your face wash is a bit too harsh for winter use.
“Things that are heavy in detergent can be very drying, so just switching to a gentle cleanser may be an easy fix,” Engelman says. Detergent ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate are what help some face washes lather up into a good foam, but they can also strip too much moisture from your skin in the wintertime. Switch to a non-foaming face wash, or at least one that’s SLS-free, to prevent over-drying your skin.
Treat Acne Carefully
“A lot of guys — especially if they’re acne prone and used to being oily — are very harsh with their benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid or glycolic acid, because they’re just wanting to strip off everything, and that can leave our skin in an unhealthy state,” says Engelman.
Remember this: Winter is not the time to try and peel the years off your face with harsh products. Engelman recommends spot-treating acne when possible in order to avoid subjecting your entire face to ingredients it doesn’t need. If you use an allover product, such as Differin or Retin-A, you’ll simply need to take extra precautions during the winter.
“Exfoliants and retinoids tend to cause dryness that the winter climate may exacerbate,” says Lain. After you apply your product, let it dry, and then, “I recommend adding non-comedogenic moisturizer,” he adds. “If irritation still ensues, take a break from the acne products and use only moisturizer at night until the skin normalizes.”
Give Neglected Areas Some Love
We’ve spent all this time talking about your face, but that’s not the only area that needs attention (or that people notice). Winter is also the time to give your eyes, body and hands some extra hydration. Between frequent washing to avoid getting your co-worker’s cold and a lack of protection from the cold winter air, hands need help too.
“Hands are particularly vulnerable to dryness due to the increased exposure,” says Lain. “Add a hand cream after washing to protect and repair the barrier,” he advises during winter months. And if you’re not already slathering on body lotion once a day, you’ll want to get on that ASAP: “Adding a moisturizing lotion after showering, starting in the fall, goes a long way in preventing dryness, itching, and inflammation in the heart of winter,” says Lain.
Finally (especially if you start noticing any aging or wrinkles), consider using an eye cream at night. “The skin around the eyes is among the thinnest and most sensitive on the body. As a result, the skin here is more likely to become dry and irritated during cold, winter months,” says Zeichner.
Best Winter Skin Care Products for Men
Burt’s Bees Soap Bark and Chamomile
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Oil-Free Gel-Cream
Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer
CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
Ghost Democracy Boomerang Eye Concentrate
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
Cetaphil Moisturizing Body Lotion
Whether you add just one new product or all of the above, your skin will look better with just a tiny bit of extra attention this winter. So take the extra minute to pat on some moisturizer before you settle in with Netflix. Your face will thank you.