A Guide to Starting a Skin Care Routine in Your 20s


As a twentysomething guy, your skin has more going for it than you might think. Sure, you might still be battling acne and dealing with acne scars, but look on the bright side—your skin is still young and bounces back quickly from injury. Not to mention that you probably have zero wrinkles or fine lines at this age. See? It’s not all bad. If you want to keep skin young and healthy for years to come, there is no better time to establish a skin care routine like the present. With that in mind, here is our best advice for starting a skin care routine in your 20s.

1. Stop Using Your Girlfriend’s Skin Care

Although it’s tempting to use your girl’s face wash or moisturiser, there are several reasons why you’re much better off getting your own skin care products. Let’s start with the obvious reason: Her skin care products are made for her skin, not yours. Men and women have several differences in their skin that require unique approaches to skin care. Generally speaking, guys have oilier skin and a thicker epidermis (the outer layer of the skin), which requires potent ingredients that can penetrate through their skin. Another reason why you need your own skin care products is so that you can form good skin care habits and get into a regular routine. If you continue to use your girl’s skin care products, you’ll never be consistent enough to make it a life-long habit.

2. Know Your Skin Type

Before you can begin shopping for skin care products, it’s important to know exactly what your skin needs. Is it oily? Sensitive? Perhaps both? While most guys in their 20s have an oily skin type, it’s also not uncommon for them to struggle with sensitive skin. In fact, a 2019 review published in Frontiers in Medicine found that more than half of men report having some degree of sensitive skin, such as itching, burning and redness. Other skin types include dry, normal and combination skin. Once you identify your skin type, you can begin searching for skin care products that will best serve your skin care needs.

3. Pay Attention to Product Labels

We know that reading the ingredient labels sounds like a major bore. However, doing a little research before you buy skin care products is important to choosing the right products for your skin. Guys with sensitive skin need to pay extra-close attention to product labels to avoid negative skin reactions. Ingredients such as fragrances, parabens, phthalates, sulfates and dyes have been known to trigger skin reactions and cause flare-ups. Fragrances in skin care are particularly worrisome because their exact ingredients are considered trade secrets, which means that skin care companies don’t need to reveal what’s in them. By doing your research, you can skip sketchy products that may cause reactions and choose ones that do more for your skin.

4. Keep Your Skin Care Routine Simple

Guys don’t need a nine-step skin care routine like women do. If you’re having trouble sticking to your skin care routine, there’s a good chance that it’s simply too complicated. All you really need to protect and nourish your skin are the four basics: Face wash, face scrub and two moisturisers (one for the morning and one for bedtime). If you’re struggling with acne, you may need to use an acne cream for men in lieu of your regular moisturiser. Stick to these basics—at least in the beginning. Once you find a skin care routine that works, feel free to incorporate additional skin care products as you see fit.

5. Don’t Skip the Moisturiser

If your skin is oily and acne-prone, it may seem counterintuitive to apply a moisturiser to your face. However, you shouldn’t skip your daily moisturiser because this can make breakouts worse by drying out your skin. Instead, look for a moisturiser that is non-comedogenic, meaning, it won’t clog pores. These moisturisers typically contain lightweight yet hydrating oils such as Eucalyptus Oil or Kukui Nut Oil. To make things simple, use a men’s daily moisturiser with SPF that is formulated for all skin types. This way, you can get the sun protection and moisturisation your skin needs without causing nasty breakouts.

6. Go Easy on the Face Scrub

Contrary to what some skin care companies might tell you, there is no good reason to scrub your face every day. Although face scrubs are an effective tool in every guy’s skin care arsenal, they’re meant to be used gently and no more than twice a week. If you want to get rid of your blackheads, you need to use both your face wash and scrub at the right frequency. Overdoing it on either product can dry out your face and cause oil glands to go into overdrive to compensate, resulting in painful pimples. Don’t forget to follow up your face scrub and face wash with your moisturiser. This will lock in hydration and prevent skin from becoming dry.

7. Be Mindful of Your Shave Technique

Even though you’ve probably been shaving since you were a teen, there is a good chance that your shave routine could stand to be improved. We know of more than a few guys who use dull razor blades, skip the pre-shave oil and commit various other cardinal sins of shaving. Nicks and cuts aren’t a good look when you’re a twentysomething guy trying to impress his boss. To avoid the embarrassment and improve skin health, always shave with the grain and avoid shaving the same area over and over again during the same session.

8. Protect Your Skin from UV Rays

As a younger guy, you probably spend a fair amount of time outdoors for work or play. Applying daily sun protection to your face and body is essential to reducing your risk of skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, men account for the vast majority of skin cancer cases, including invasive melanoma. To reduce your risk, use a daily moisturiser with SPF to your face and apply sunscreen on any sun-exposed areas of your body. Keep in mind that UV rays can penetrate through clouds and car windows. If your body isn’t covered by SPF clothing, apply an ample amount of sunscreen and re-apply as needed.