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The Best Skin Care Routine for Men (Full Guide)

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Men’s skin care or skin care in general should not be complicated. We all have busy lives so a simple to follow and effective skin care routine is a must. Here is a practical, effective, and affordable guide on the best skin care routine for men.

This guide will contain all the information on men’s skin care essentials (ranging from types of products) and will also make clear how to use these products together in an effective manner.

The Best Skin Care Routine for Men Starts With Sunscreen

This is the most important aspect of any skin care routine. You can use the most exotic face lotion, night time cream or cleanser. But if you are not properly using sunscreen you are doing your skin a great disfavor.

Sunscreens generally come in 2 types; chemical and mineral sunscreens. Both work very well if used appropriately. Choosing one type over the other truly is just personal preference.

Chemical sunscreens have ingredients such as avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate and octocrylene. Chemical sunscreens work by filtering UV and need to be applied 20 minutes before sun exposure since they need to penetrate the top layers of the skin to become effective. 


  • Affordable and readily available
  • Do not leave a whitish film on the skin


  • Can be greasy
  • Could potentially cause irritation

Mineral sunscreens have ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They are also known as physical blockers and work by reflecting UV directed at the skin. Many people who suffer from acne choose to use mineral sunscreens because they feel they are less irritating.


  • Affordable and readily available
  • Can be less irritating than chemical sunscreens
  • Are not greasy


  • Leave a whitish film on the skin
  • Usually thicker, so application may take longer

Either way, both types need to be reapplied every 2 hours for optimum effectiveness.

You should also consider that there is no such thing as sunscreens designed for women separate from men. This is just a marketing gimmick. Instead, focus on the SPF number (30 or above/50 ideally) and use it according to instructions.

I have been using the Banana Boat Mineral Kid’s sunscreen for over 2 years now and I absolutely love it. It has no fragrance, does not sting my eyes and leaves no greasy residue. Moreover, it is affordable and readily available.

You might think that sunscreens for babies or kids are inadequate or differ in effectiveness to those marketed for adults. Again, this is just marketing. Think of it this way. If a sunscreen is safe to use for baby’s skin which can be more sensitive than an adults’, and provides the same sun protection (SPF), then why not use it?

Note: You should be applying sunscreen not only on your face but also your neck, ears, hands and any other regions that are exposed to the sun.

Use: Daily during the day with reapplication every 2 hours.

chemical sunscreen for men

Banana Boat Light As Air Reef Friendly Sunscreen Lotion

Coppertone Defend & Care Clear Zinc Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 50 (note: this is a combination sunscreen with zinc oxide)

mineral sunscreen for men

Banana Boat Simply Protect Tear Free, Reef Friendly Sunscreen Lotion

Banana Boat Suncare Banana Boat Simply Protect Mineral-based Sunscreen Lotion for Baby Spf 50+

The Best Face Cleanser(s) for Men

A gentle cleanser is a must have skin care product. When you come home, you have many things sitting on top of your face that you don’t want to take into bed with you. Pollution, excess oil and residual sunscreen can all irritate your face. So you want to get all this stuff off before going to bed. A normal bar soap can strip the moisture barrier of your skin so instead you should opt for a gentle cleanser.

I personally use the Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Cleanser since it works well and is affordable. It’s also designed to clean your skin without leaving it dry. Look for a cleanser that hydrates the skin and prevents damage to the moisture barrier. As soon as you are done with the cleanser, gently pat your face dry with a clean cloth and apply the moisturizer while your skin is still damp.

Use: Daily in the morning (optional) and in the evening (must). Apply moisturizer and/or sunscreen immediately after on damp skin.

CeraVe and Neutrogena facial cleansers for skincare routine for men

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Daily Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin

CeraVe Hydrating Face Wash

Acne cleanser

This is an optional product to use in your skin care routine. If you do suffer from mild to moderate acne then an acne cleanser can do wonders. The two most readily available types of acne cleaners either have salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide as the active ingredient(s).

Both work wonderfully against acne and are even safe to use together. By together I mean interchangeably where you use one type of cleanser one day and then the next day you use the other type. Avoid using both the same day since this can lead to irritation. Try choosing an acne cleanser from a reputable brand such as Neutrogena or CeraVe since these companies tend to avoid adding unnecessary and potentially irritating ingredients such as fragrance.

Moreover, you should start off with the lowest percentage possible for both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide which is typically around 1-3% for salicylic acid and about 3.5% for benzoyl peroxide. The higher the concentration for both ingredients, the higher the chance that it could irritate your skin. So start off with the lowest effective percentage concentration.

If you do suffer from mild to moderate acne, then you can use an acne cleanser as your daily cleanser in place of the gentle cleanser listed above. You can use it either in the morning or before going to bed. Just remember to put on sunscreen (in the morning) or a face lotion (in the evening) immediately after washing your face since this helps to lock in the moisture and prevents your skin from transepidermal water loss (drying of the skin).

Use: Day or night if you have acne. Apply sunscreen (day) or moisturizer (night) immediately after use on damp skin.

Salicylic acid based

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser and 
CeraVe Salicylic Acid Cleanser for  best skincare routine formen

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser with Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment medicine

CeraVe Salicylic Acid Cleanser

Benzoyl peroxide based

benzoyl peroxide best acne cleansers for men

CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser

Neutrogena Clear Pore Facial Cleanser

Best Moisturizer(s) For Men

You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on an exotic (and most probably an untested and ineffective) facial moisturizer. Instead, your core focus should be to find one with good ingredients (such as ceramides and colloidal oatmeal). Ceramides are a great ingredient because they help maintain and restore your skin’s natural moisture barrier.

Your facial moisturizer should be simple and contain little to no ingredients that can cause irritation such as fragrance. Moreover, it should be affordable and readily available so that you can use it day in and day out.

In many cases, your sunscreen (either mineral or chemical) will contain ingredients that help to keep your skin moisturized such as glycerin. So you don’t really have to use a moisturizer during the day time if you are applying sunscreen. However, if you have dryer skin, then applying the moisturizer prior to applying the sunscreen can help to keep your skin hydrated during the day.


  • Day (if you have dryer skin) – along with sunscreen.
  • Night – immediately after using your acne or gentle cleanser while skin is damp.
best skin care face lotion for men

CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream for Normal to Dry Skin

Curél Fragrance Free Comforting Body Lotion for Dry, Sensitive Skin

Skin Care Routine Steps

Normal skin with little to no acne

Morning: (gentle cleanser) followed by an SPF 30+ sunscreen.

Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours during daylight (includes winters and cloudy/rainy days).

Night: (gentle cleanser) followed immediately by a fragrance free moisturizer.

Skin with mild to moderate acne

Morning: (gentle cleanser or acne cleanser) followed by an SPF 30+ sunscreen.

Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours during daylight (includes winters and cloudy/rainy days).

Night: (gentle cleanser or acne cleanser) followed by a fragrance free moisturizer.


An effective skin care routine does not mean spending hundreds of dollars every month. In fact, a great skincare routine using the products highlighted in this article should probably cost you less than $100 per year!

Moreover, you should have learned that the single most important aspect of any skin care routine is using sunscreen properly. This is because no facial moisturizer, eye cream or cleanser can take the place of a sunscreen which protects your skin from premature aging and skin cancer.

In my opinion, the best skin care routine for men is the one that focuses on the fundamentals of protection and hydration which I believe the routine in this guide does.

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