Teach him the basic principles of nourishing his skin.

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“The pride that comes from taking care of yourself is unisex.”—Kimberly Ann O’Connor

Wrinkle creams, anti-aging serums and laser rejuvenation treatments are no longer primarily the domain of women. These days, a growing number of men are putting just as much time and effort into maintaining a fresh, youthful appearance. Although there are several reasons for this, experts point to two key motivators: a competitive job market and the desire to attract a partner somewhat later in life.
1)  “Men are very driven by their jobs, and they worry about younger men taking their jobs away from them,” says Dr. Barry Lycka, MD, FRCPC, a cosmetic dermatologist in Edmonton.

2) Kimberly Ann O’Connor, a medical aesthetician and laser technician at the Toronto Cosmetic Clinic, adds that a greater prevalence of glorified male images in the media, coupled with the fact that people tend to stay single longer, is driving more men to care about keeping up their looks. There are also some men who might find themselves back on the dating scene after divorce.

Different skin means different skin care

The structure of a man’s skin differs from that of a woman, with men producing more sebum, meaning they have more naturally occurring oils. O’Connor says men also tend to retain more water in their skin until about the age of 50, at which point the “physiology of the skin becomes identical to that of a woman.”

Men often get more sun exposure and sun damage than women, particularly men who work outdoors, according to Dr. Lycka. This means their skin is more prone to brown spots and redness, and men are more likely to get a “weathered” look.

These differences mean men need to prioritize sun protection to preserve their skin’s youthful appearance. Dr. Lycka emphasizes that sunscreen should be a daily ritual for men. If the skin has already suffered sun damage, Dr. Lycka recommends using products rich in vitamin A. “This will help roll back the clock on skin—vitamin A is useful for helping normalize some of the damage that has occurred,” he says.

Because their skin tends to be oilier, O’Connor advises men to stay away from thick, occlusive moisturizers. Instead, she recommends opting for a hydrator, which provides water to the skin, rather than a moisturizer, which provides oil. “Choosing a hydrator over a moisturizer will sometimes be a better option for a man because a hydrator is lighter, has a more refreshing feel and absorbs faster into the skin,” she says.

Here are the products he needs to get his hands on now (from left to right):

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Vichy Homme Code Pureté Purifying Cleansing Gel ($17 drugstores and vichy.ca); Vichy Homme Hydra Mag C+ ($29 drugstores and vichy.ca); NeoStrata Protective Lotion SPF 45 ($29.50, drugstores); NeoStrata Men Anti-Aging Cream ($47, drugstores); Clarins Men Anti-Fatigue Eye serum ($40, department stores, pharmacies and clarins.com)

Keep it simple at home

While a vast array of creams and lotions vie for space on the vanities of most women, men usually prefer a more fuss-free approach to products. Dr. Lycka notes that, while younger men show a greater interest in products and may spend a fair amount of time on their skin, there are still many men for whom “even soap is a hard sell.” A basic skin-care arsenal need only contain three products: cleanser, hydrator and sunscreen. “Those three items will keep skin protected, beautiful and young,” says O’Connor.

Men who don’t mind incorporating a few extra steps into their daily routine may also want to consider using a retinol product, which promotes quick cell turnover and younger-looking skin. Another consideration is choosing products that contain peptides, which help renew the skin. On the plus side, men don’t need to worry much about exfoliation. Shaving on a regular basis means the skin is continually being naturally exfoliated, which is key to maintaining a youthful complexion.

Beyond the basics In Office

Men who want to kick things up a notch might want to consider more advanced treatments, such as microdermabrasion, lasers and intense pulsed light, which can produce great results. According to Dr. Lycka, more men are opting for these treatments to repair damage and remove telltale signs of aging, such as red or brown spots. He notes that when he first started doing cosmetic dermatology 30 years ago, he’d see one man for every 100 women. These days, he he sees 30 to 40 men for every 100 women.

O’Connor has noticed a similar trend at her clinic. Although she acknowledges that while more men are taking advantage of high-tech treatments, their commitment to following through with home care isn’t always there. “Maintaining your skin on a day-to-day basis will give you those lasting results,” she says.