A Simple Man’s Skincare Routine

By Minji

My husband Neil has very youthful skin.  Even after hitting 40, he’s been carded at wedding open bars and was once mistaken for a prospective student at an open-house for a school we were considering for our daughter.  Genes play a major role, but a few years ago, he also adopted a simple but effective skincare routine that has worked wonders for him. 

According to Dr. Yoon, men generally have thicker and oilier skin than women, but there’s no big difference in the types of skincare products they should use or regimens they should follow.  Men’s skincare products may be formulated to combat specific issues like soothing and disinfecting skin stimulated by shaving or made to be lighter or have a distinct smell, but the core ingredients that work for women’s skin also work for men’s skin.  That’s why although Neil does far less than me, we often end up sharing products and tips. Below is a summary of what we discussed: 

  1. What’s your skin type and skincare concerns? 

I have combination skin.  Disclaimer: I didn’t know what “combination skin” was before Minji explained it to me.  I tell myself that my main skincare concern is maintaining clean and healthy skin, but as I settle in to my 40s, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that preserving some youthfulness in my skin plays a fairly big role in motivating me to adopt and stick to a daily routine.  

  1. Tell me about your skincare history. When did you become aware of the importance of skincare and who influenced you? 

Outside of a few acne-filled years as a teenager, my skincare routine has largely been non-existent other than washing my face a couple times a day with a bar of soap. No moisturizing, no exfoliating, no daily sunscreen, and certainly no fancy products or “ingredients.” I credit Minji with introducing me to the fascinating world of skincare. 

After meeting Minji, I started to appreciate what a good skincare routine consists of and the impact it could have.  Minji’s collection of lotions, potions, masks, massagers, and devices stood in sharp contrast to my trusty bar of soap, but the results spoke for themselves—my skin was decent for a 30-something year old, hers was enviable for someone a decade younger.

And the more familiar I got with Minji’s friends and family in Seoul, where elaborate skincare routines and good skin seemed to be the norm (and the more I started noticing the sunspots and wrinkles staring back at me in the mirror), the more I became convinced that skincare routines mattered. 

  1. What is your skincare routine?   

Some might say I’m “lazy,” but I prefer “minimalist.” Either way, when I set out on crafting a skincare routine for myself my goals were twofold: (i) keep it simple and (ii) make sure it’s effective and sustainable.

With these goals in mind, I began my quest to find one or two key ingredients with scientifically-proven skincare benefits that were safe and easy to apply. After a fair bit of independent research and consultation with Minji, I landed on retinol and vitamin C as my all-star ingredients. I apply serums with these ingredients religiously (every night after washing my face) then follow up with a lightweight moisturizer. In addition, my research taught me the importance of a daily sunscreen habit for daytime. 

That’s pretty much it - 2-3 steps each day. A routine simple enough for even a lazy (I mean minimalist) man like me to stick with. And I can see that it’s working. Dark spots and fine lines on my face seem to be fading, and my skin generally has a healthier, smoother, and more youthful look. 

  1. Besides skincare products, what else do you do for healthy skin? 

About five years ago I decided I needed to start eating healthier, and I slowly upgraded my eating habits. Since then, I’ve never looked back. I lost weight, gained energy and focus, and my immune system feels like it’s firing on all cylinders.

I didn’t necessarily make these changes with healthy skin in mind, but I do believe healthier skin has been a welcome side effect. Breakouts and random pimples, for example, occur far less frequently.