By Jason Rollard There was a time not long ago when any guy who used skincare products would be considered feminen. Thankfully these days we men have better respect for the state of our skin. You only get one chance to make a great first impression. Saving that job interview or future partner from a face full of acne or wrinkles isn’t all about vanity. Clear healthy skin gives you the confidence to be yourself without feeling shy or ashamed. Just like taking care of your fitness or looking after your hair, showing respect for your skin lets people know you care about how you present yourself. Men can have acne well into their thirties. Hormones, ingrown hairs, stress and diet can all trigger acne. Extraction facials are what are really needed to help with acne (a blog for a later time) and a great skincare therapist will help you try to find the cause, but products can help control acne, kill bacteria that makes it spread, diminish scaring and have you on your way to clearer skin. Ageing can’t be stopped, it will happen to all of us. It is accelerated by sun damage, wind, smoking, and squinting, but skincare can slow it down. The use of sunscreen and active ingredients in skincare products can delay the signs so that we look younger than our age for as long as possible Men’s skin is thicker than women’s and produces more oil, so it has larger pores therefore more prone to blackheads although you can use your partner’s skincare products there is a justification for products tailored just for men. Every year there are more male skincare products on the market. Many are advertised on television or sold in supermarkets and chemists. Others are sold in salons where you can also get facials and skincare treatments. I find the first type, tend to be jumping on the male skincare bandwagon and Salon products tend to be better researched, higher quality and have better delivery of ingredients. To use an analogy it’s like comparing Mc Donald’s to fine dining I thought I would list some skincare products and what they do for your skin so you can decide what to store in your skincare arsenal. I have listed them in order of most important first. SPF Sunscreen– Sunscreen is the most important skincare product you can own. It protects your skin from damaging UV rays which accelerate the ageing process and cause wrinkles, uneven skin tone and redness. You should use it every morning after your moisturiser and remember to apply to the face and neck area. Cleanser – Cleansing helps remove pollution, grime and oil. It washes the face more thoroughly and gentler than soap giving a clean slate for all the active products afterwards. A cleanser replaces soap when it comes to cleaning the face. Soap is designed to clean the hands and the body but is too harsh for the softer skin of the face often containing chemicals and fragrance not compatible with the skin on your face. For dry or sensitive skin try a milk cleanser and for oily skin try a foaming cleanser. Use morning and night. Gently massage in with water and then rinse off. Exfoliate – This normally comes in the form of a scrub or granules. Exfoliation is a really important step in your routine. Done twice a week it will help give your skin smoothness. Helping it look fresh and clear. Exfoliation takes off the top layer of skin that hasn’t fully shredded off . If you don’t exfoliate bacteria can spread under those layers and cause your acne to spread, If dry that dead skin will work as a barrier on top not allowing your more active products through therefore keeping your skin dry and rough If you suffer from blackheads or breakouts it will help control this to a degree and if you are dry it reduce the tightness or flakiness Use after cleansing 2 x weeks. It is easiest to use in the shower Moisturiser – Men with dry skin get this one, moisturise will help alleviate that tight feeling and flakiness, but it is just as beneficial if you are oily. Choose an oil free or mattifying moisturiser to help rebalance and control your oil flow. Apply a small amount to the face and neck twice a day chose an oil free moisturiser for oily skin. Once you have mastered the basics there are other products such as toners, eye creams and serums but I will leave them for another blog.