9 Men's Skincare Truths We Learnt From a Skin Therapist

tegan mac and johnnytegan mac and johnny

I've been trying for ages to encourage the men in my life to add skin care into their grooming routines. Looking at you, Dad. Brother. Roommate.

Reason being, everyone should and can have a skincare regimen to maintain their skin health.

So when Melbourne-based skin therapist Tegan Mac from TEGANMAC.SKIN did a live men's skincare demonstration with her fiancé Johnny on the Adore Beauty YouTube channel, naturally, I watched the whole video and took detailed notes.

Quick plot synopsis: Since meeting Tegan eight years ago and starting a skincare routine, Johnny's found his skin has completely transformed, both in how it looks and feels. How good is that?

Let's normalise males - as well as everyone - taking an interest in looking after their skin, because skincare and beauty have nothing to do with gender.

That said, generally speaking, some men find skin care overwhelming and confusing, just like anyone who's never had a skincare routine before.

So if that's you or someone you know, here are nine things you can learn about skin care from Tegan's male skin video.

You can watch the video here, or keep scrolling for the recap below.

1. Using Skincare Products Won't Make Your Skin Oily.

To anyone who only washes their face with hand soap because 'skincare products make skin feel greasy' - ahem, Dad - it's time to put down the soap bar for good.

Without generalising too much, skincare beginners might avoid products like face cleansers and use soap/body wash instead out of convenience, or because they want that squeaky clean feeling.

Johnny used to do this too, but as Tegan explained, it's actually counterproductive.

"If you use the wrong products, it can make you more oily. Using regular body soap strips the oil out of your skin, so your skin will overcompensate and make double [the amount] and you’ll just end up with even oiler skin."

In reality, correct skin care for your skin type (including a cleanser for your skin type) will leave your skin looking and feeling soft, supple and healthy.

2. Male Skin Is Different to Female Skin… But Not That Different.

"Generally, men tend to have thicker skin, so it's more resilient and can require a bit more exfoliation. Beards or constant shaving can also come with some issues like dry skin, irritation and ingrown hairs," Tegan said.

But other than that, men and women can have similar skin concerns.

Think dehydration, acne, dryness, blackheads, hyperpigmentation, the lot. So it’s more about finding out what your skin concerns are and tailoring your skincare routine to address them.

You can learn more about male skin basics in this episode of our new podcast series Mr Beauty IQ below!

3. Men Don’t Have to Use Products ‘Made for Men’.

Brands tend to market products towards ‘men’ or ‘women’, but Tegan said anyone can use any skincare product, so long as it's suited to your skin type and concerns.

You can learn more about your skin type here, but in short, you don't have to use heavily-scented, electric blue products ‘made for men’ if they don't work for you. And vice versa.

4. A Men's Beginner Skincare Routine Only Needs 4 Steps.

You might have previously read about how you only need three products to start a skincare routine, but if you have more resilient skin, Tegan suggests adding in a fourth.

Those steps are: Cleanser, exfoliation, hydration and sun protection. So, let's break them down, including the exact products Johnny uses.

*Side note, considering his fiancée is a skin therapist, yes, Johnny uses more expensive cosmeceutical skin care. You don't have to though, go with whatever suits your budget.

1. Cleanser: Johnny's favourite is the Aspect Purastat 5 Cleanser that doubles as a gentle exfoliant because it contains lactic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid or AHA chemical exfoliant). Want something more gentle? La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo Cleanser is suitable for dry and sensitive skins. Or, you can use an exfoliating cleanser...

2. Exfoliation: Tegan explained exfoliating once a week will "help prevent ingrown hairs from getting trapped underneath your skin by lifting off that dead skin, so your hairs can grow freely."

Using an exfoliating cleanser at night is a great way to kill two birds with one product - Skinstitut L-Lactic Cleanser and La Roche-Posay Effaclar Micro Peeling Cleanser 200ml are non-irritating options suitable for most skin types.

Your other option is a separate exfoliant. Johnny's favourite is the Aspect Illuminating Polish 220ml because it combines gentle physical exfoliation (i.e. a face scrub) with chemical exfoliation acids. Plus, it comes in a big bottle that'll last you ages.

3. Hydration: Tegan has found a lot of men, or people with beards or facial hair, aren’t that keen on using heavy moisturisers because they worry about it leaving any kind of residue.

In Johnny's experience, same goes for anyone with a deeper complexion. "We can get ashy, so we must always make sure we moisture," he said.

The solution? Choose a lighter gel-texture moisturiser or do what Johnny does and use a hydrating serum instead of a face cream.

He's gone through five bottles of PCA Skin Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum because it provides hydration and nourishment, but in a thinner texture that's fast-absorbing and applies clear.

4. Sunscreen: Everyone should be wearing *sunscreen every day, but it's especially important if you work outdoors. Tegan emphasised no matter your skin tone, you still need to wear sunscreen because "even if you don’t get burnt, you will still get sun damage".

It's also crucial to reapply sunscreen throughout the day. You can find the best sunscreen for your skin type here.

5. Cleansing Devices and Beards Go Great Together.

Got a beard? Does the skin under your facial hair feel irritated or congested?

It's an extra step and pretty bougie, but using a cleansing device like Foreo Luna 3 for Men can help you effectively cleanse the skin through your facial hair. Plus, Johnny reckons it just feels nice. And sometimes, that's enough, y'know?

P.S. Anyone can use any FOREO cleansing device, pick whichever one best suits you. (Or the colour you like the best!)

6. Store Your Products Where You Will See Them.

Johnny has a ridiculously simple hack for maintaining a consistent skincare regimen.

"I put the bottles I’m going to use at night in one section of the bathroom, and sunscreen and others in another section, so it's accessible for me to use."

Tegan also suggested keeping products you use with water like cleansers and exfoliants in the shower, and moisturiser and sunscreen somewhere you'll see them every day, like next to your toothbrush.

7. Almost Everyone Can Benefit From Using a Vitamin A Serum.

Serums are targeted treatment products that live between your cleanser and moisturiser, and anyone can use them.

If your skin concerns include skin texture and signs of ageing like fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation (or dark/age spots), a vitamin A serum is a great way to address all of the above with one product.

Vitamin A (also referred to by its most common derivative, retinol) is the gold standard of anti-ageing skincare ingredients, and there's tonnes of evidence to support its ability to increase cell turnover and reduce the appearance of those common signs of ageing.

You can learn more about vitamin A in our YouTube video below!

The vitamin A serum Tegan recommended for Johnny is Société Refinishing Complex 50ml because his robust skin can tolerate the strong formula combing retinol, AHAs and salicylic acid (a BHA or beta hydroxy acid).

Have sensitive skin or never used a vitamin A serum before? Beauté Pacifique Defy Damage Skin Repair Serum 40ml is a great option because it contains a very mild, gentle form of vitamin A.

Tegan's best advice for introducing a vitamin A serum into your routine is to start with once or twice a week, always at night, and never on the same night as your exfoliating product to avoid irritation.

8. Men Can Use Eye Creams, Too.

Does everyone need an eye cream? Probably not.

That said, Tegan has found most people only pay attention to their eye area (and hence, start using an eye cream) once they can already see signs of ageing like fines lines and wrinkles.

Prevention is key, so go ahead and use an eye cream if you can afford one and it makes you feel good. This is especially true for anyone who starts work quite early and wants something to reduce the appearance of puffy eyes.

Johnny’s go-to is the Aspect Eyelift 3 - it's a pricey one, but you only need a pea-sized amount so one tub will last you forever.

9. If in Doubt, Go and See a Skin Professional.

The most common skincare questions Tegan hears from her male clients are around skin that feels flaky, dry, inflamed and/or irritated.

This is because that's what happens to anyone who isn't looking after their skin, regardless of gender.

The best thing anyone can do for their skin is to see a skin professional like a dermatologist or dermal therapist who can assess your skin, tell you what your skin type is and recommend the right ingredients and products for your specific skin type and concerns.

Literally, it's their job to look at your skin and then do all the hard work for you.

The only thing they can't do is make you actually use the products, but never mind. That's what tip number six was for.

Want more helpful skincare content?

*SPF is only one part of sun protection! Always seek shade, and wear sunnies, a hat and protective clothing. Use sufficient sunscreen for all unprotected areas and reapply sunscreen as directed. Always read the label.

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