Unspoken secrets: the men's basic guide to skin

How every guy out there can look like Anne Hathaway and Margot Robbie.

Unspoken secrets: the men's basic guide to skin
A picture Uncle Sonny and I exploring the islands surrounding Thailand - just in time for my skincare routine!

The truth is self-improvement is multifaceted. Particularly for men, while we often focus on personal growth, mental well-being (sometimes), exercise and nutrition, there is one crucial element that often remains overlooked: skincare. Investing in our looks can have a profound impact on our confidence and overall quality of life. Today, I want to talk about a topic I have recently become incredibly passionate about—skincare. It's time to break the silence and explore why every man should have a skincare routine.

Skincare is like an unspoken secret among guys. We all know we need it, but it rarely gets mentioned in locker room conversations or bro-talks. There are situations where your "masculinity" directs you to behave in a way contrary to how you actually feel and skincare usually sits in this little niche. When asked if you enjoy a face masks, outwardly, you ooze digust and resistance, but deep within, you know you giggle in delight when the indescribable sensation of refreshment engulfs your face.

My Awakening to Skincare

Like many guys, my skincare routine was basically non-existent until about a year ago. I relied on some face scrubs here and there, thinking it was enough to manage my never ending pimples and blackheads. I potentially... even used some dish soap to clean my face... But recently I was blessed with a cosmetic nurse girlfriend who enlightened me about the importance of a proper skincare routine. So thanks Farnaz.

The one stop shop for skincare (NOT!)

Now, if you've ever tried to dive into the world of skincare, you'll know that it can be overwhelming. The marketing jargon is enough to make your head spin— you have products that have niacinamide, salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, deoxyribonucleic acid—the list goes on. As a guy, I felt lost when I tried to find a simple answer to my blackhead woes. So, I decided to create my personal guide to skincare for men. I may not be a derma expert, but trust me, if it worked for me and Anne Hathaway, it's definitely credible enough.

A Journey to Great Skin

There are so many factors that contribute to good skin, genetics, sleep, exercise, water intake... the list goes on. However, in the following I will discuss my steps to skincare and the products I use (#notsponsored #but #Icanbe!). Every person's skin is different but there are a few key principles that are universal.

UPDATE: 13/02/2024 - I have left my original post below. It has been a couple of months since I started this skincare journey and there are a few comments.

  • I still believe in the priority rankings below - sunscreen, moisteriser and cleanser continue to be absolute musts for me
  • My skin hasn't been reacting well when I use toner + exfoliant (I think it has to do with using hyralonic acid and salicylic acid at once). At this stage I have sparingly use exfoliant and completely stopped using my toner (I think I'll need to change)
  • I still strongly believe in retinol but the product I was using didn't suit me. I'll keep you updated on that front

Sunscreen (must)

If you had to only wear one skincare product for the rest of your life... make sure that it is sunscreen.

How do I know?

Remember those late-night YouTube spirals? One fateful night, I stumbled upon an interview with Margot Robbie. And she happened to say something that was plastered on my mind forever - sunscreen was the secret to youthful looking skin.

Studies have shown that sunscreens prevent the damaging effects of UVR exposure, and without sunscreen, you are likely to get sunspots/skin damage years down the line. Don't wait until it is too late! So now, rain or shine, I lather up to protect my skin. I cringe thinking about the twenty years I spent without sunscreen.

Simon's sunscreen - Ultraviolette SPF 50 sunscreen

Picture your face as a canvas. A cleanser is like the gentle brush that sweeps away dirt, oil, and impurities from your skin. It's the foundation of a fresh and clean face. Metaphorically speaking, it's like giving your face a spa day, washing away the stress and grime of the day. Trust me, your skin will thank you.

Simon's cleanser - Paula's Choice Cleanser

Toner (optional)

You wouldn't paint a wall without adding some primer first (...right?). Using a toner balances your skin's pH levels, tightens pores, and preps your face for the next steps. I love my toner because it makes my face feel so hydrated!

Simon's toner - Paula's Choice Hyaluronic Toner

Exfoliant/BHA (optional)

Now, let's dive into the world of chemical exfoliation. BHA, or beta hydroxy acid, helps unclogs your pores and fights against blackheads and breakouts. It is important to note these things (like fine wine) take time, so don't expect immediate results.

Simon's exfoliant - Paula's choice BHA

If Anne Hathaway uses retinol... well... we should look into it. Retinol is known as the anti-aging magician. This ingredient works wonders by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. While it has great effects on the skin, be wary about how you use it - using too much too early is likely to create purging and cause irritation. Given that it is a strong active ingredient - definitely consult a professional to know it is the right product for you!

Simon's retinol - Ocosmetics Retinol

Last but certainly not least, we have the mighty moisturizer. Hydration is key to maintaining healthy skin. A moisturiser locks in moisture, prevents dryness, and shields your face from environmental damage.

Simon's moisturiser - Kiehl's!

Ultimately, when I talk about investing in yourself - skincare is a prime example of this. It's a long-term commitment where the results may not be immediately apparent, but in the future, when you get older and you look around and some people are starting to look like dried prunes and your skin looks like a movie star - you'll know why. Whether it's genetics or your proactive skincare routine, you'll thank your past self for taking the necessary steps to protect and nourish your skin.

Remember, your skin is a canvas that reflects the care and effort you invest in yourself. It may not always be perfect (and sometimes far from it!), but I am a believer of trusting the process and your long term commitments will always prevail.

I would love to hear about your skincare journey and what has or what hasn't worked for you.