A quarter of men worry about dry skin, dark circles and acne scars – here’s what to do about it

A survey of 1,000 British men has found that when it comes to our faces, nine out of ten of us have at least one skincare bugbear


L ooking old before their time is the number one skincare concern for more than a quarter of men, who fear signs of premature ageing and fine lines.


In particular, research from Clarins has found that more than a quarter of us worry about dry skin, dark circles under our eyes, acne scarring and premature ageing the most.


The average guy has at least two skincare woes, with those reporting dry skin to be of primary concern also more likely to be worried about dark under-eye circles and ageing/fine lines; for oily skin, the biggest bothers are blackheads and enlarged pores and looking tired due to dark circles.


When asked about their skincare routine, men said they spend an average of ten to 30 minutes applying “lotions and potions” to help combat their skincare concerns. Aside from soap and water, the most commonly used products among men were moisturiser, cleanser, eye cream and spot treatment.



Here are the top skincare concerns according to the Clarins survey:


1. Dry skin:41%
2. Dark circles: 35%
3. Acne: 27%
4. Ageing/fine lines: 26%
5. Blackheads/large pores: 26%
6. Oily skin: 25%
7. Uneven skin tone/redness: 16%
8. Pigmentation/dark spots: 16%
9. Razor bumps: 14%
10. Environmental pollution: 9%


However, despite more than a quarter of men claiming that dry skin is their primary concern, the majority said they don’t use moisturiser.


A similar figure emerged with ageing; although this was the biggest woe for 26% of respondents, one in five said they use products that help fight wrinkles and fine lines less than once a week.


Almost 50% said that the amount of time and money they spend on their skincare has increased over the past five years, with four in five men (82%) now spending up to £50 a month on different products.


“The pandemic has a part to play when it comes to how we feel about our skin. Over the last year, we’ve seen a rise in people buying skincare products – in particular moisturiser – in order to combat dry skin; a side effect of staying indoors more often. A combination of poor sleep heightened levels of anxiety and wearing a mask on a regular basis has also contributed, for many, to worries of acne, acne scarring and premature ageing,” said Marie Schmid, head of training at Clarins.


“We also know from the research that ‘bad skin’ has a knock-on effect when it comes to self-confidence. If you find yourself getting too downbeat about your skin, and how it’s making you feel – and you don’t already have a skincare routine in place – then that’s a good place to start.


Over time, and with regular use, it’s likely you’ll notice a drastic improvement in the quality of your skin, as the products target your problem areas.”



What products do you need to tackle these woes? 


Man applying moisturiser under eyesGetty Images/iStockphoto


Elsewhere in the study, more than half (51%) said their self-confidence takes a knock on days when their skin is bad and more than one in ten (14%) said they use their partner’s skincare products on a daily basis. So what products should you be looking to use to tackle these skincare woes?



Eye cream 


Once cleansed, consider using an eye cream to help target puffiness, dark circles and early signs of fine lines. The skin around your eyes is delicate, which is why dedicated eye cream is better than just using moisturiser alone. It’s recommended to use a grain-sized amount, morning and night; rub the product between your fingers and then press it, lightly, into the eye contour.


You can find out more in our Best eye cream for men: Get rid of wrinkles, dark circles and bags with these top eye creams and serums





When choosing a moisturiser, think about your skin type – is it oily, combination or dry?


To determine what your skin type is after showering, don’t apply any products and wait 30 minutes.


  • If your face feels tight, you have dry skin.
  • If it’s tight and red, you have sensitive skin.
  • If you have grease on your forehead and nose but not on your cheeks, you have combination skin.
  • And if you’re entire face is greasy, your skin type is oily.


There are specific age control products on the market you may wish to try, often packed with natural ingredients that lift and firm the face in all the right places. If using a serum, for an added boost, put it on before the moisturiser; as a general rule, face products should be applied with the lightest/thinnest formula first.


You can learn more about this in our guides: Men’s skincare routine: Which men’s grooming products do you *actually* need? and Best moisturiser for men: The best men’s moisturiser with SPF and for dry, oily or dull skin



Sun protection 


UV exposure may account for up to 80% of visible signs of ageing in the skin, which is why it’s recommended to use SPF protection every day – whether it’s sunny or not – to maintain youthful-looking skin.


Check your moisturiser to see if it contains SPF; if not, apply a layer of product at the end of your skincare routine. The British Association of Dermatologists recommends half a teaspoon of sunscreen for your face and neck.




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