Top Tips for MEN’S SKIN CARE

Brad Hammon

Men’s Skin Care

Dr. Brad Hammon answers your questions about maintaining healthy skin.

We spoke to Brad Hammon, D.O., from the Skin Cancer & Dermatology Institute in the Reno-Tahoe area, about our top men’s skin care questions. Here, he shares insights about achieving smoother and healthier-looking skin.

Q: Men are often under the impression that their skin care routine doesn’t have to be as comprehensive as women’s. What are your thoughts on that?

A: Regardless of gender, skin is SKIN, and it requires regular care to remain vibrant and healthy. While there are gender-specific differences concerning oiliness and hair distribution, of course, the basics of proper skin care remain the same for all genders.

Q: Do you have any tips for a cleaner, smoother shave?

A: Yes, here are the steps I’d recommend following:

  1. Shave right after you shower or wash your face. This removes excess oil and dead skin cells while hydrating the skin.
  2. If your face is feeling dry, try using a hydrating facial cleanser — it doesn’t have to foam up to be effective.
  3. Use a foaming shave cream and apply in a circular motion, preferably with a shave brush, to lift hairs and protect your skin from those dreaded razor cuts.
  4. Wait about two to three minutes for the cream to sit, allowing the skin and hairs to soften.
  5. Shave in the direction of hair growth, rather than against the grain. If you want a closer shave, use a sharper razor rather than changing direction.
  6. Rinse the razor after each swipe and take short strokes.
  7. After you shave, rinse with cold water, then pat dry rather than rubbing your face. Apply a moisturizer to reduce inflammation.
  8. Store your razor in a dry place to prevent bacterial growth and rust.

Q: Why should I switch out my soap bar for an actual face cleanser? Which cleansers do you recommend?

A: When it comes to bar soaps, not all of them are bad. I recommend avoiding antibacterial soaps because they can lead to dryness and alter the pH of the skin, which can lead to irritation and that “tight” skin feeling after washing. I prefer syndets (synthetic detergents) because they are the least damaging to the skin. I typically recommend CeraVe® or Cetaphil® body washes or cleansers, but if you really enjoy bar soap, stick with Dove.

It’s best to avoid abrasive cleansers if your face is prone to acne, as they can promote more inflammation. For acne, I typically recommend products with salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or glycolic acid, which will exfoliate your skin without vigorous scrubbing.

Q: Aren’t all skin care products really the same?

A: While the saying “one size fits all” may apply to clothing, it doesn’t apply to skin care products. Tailor your skin care routine to your specific level of skin sensitivity, oiliness, and skin tone. If your skin is on the sensitive side, look for cleansers that say “gentle,” “hydrating,” or “cream-to-foam,” and make sure to moisturize regularly.

Q: I want to start a skin care routine, but where do I begin, and what are the essentials? And how do I incorporate it into my busy schedule?

A: When it comes to maintaining and promoting healthy skin, there are three basics to keep in mind: Moisturizer, sunscreen, and retinoids are the ESSENTIALS. Fortunately, including these three steps will only add about one to two minutes to your existing routine. Retinoids might be the products on this list that you haven’t heard of, but they are crucial to include in your routine to increase collagen growth, balance pigmentation, and decrease oiliness and inflammation. Products containing either retinol or adapalene (such as Differin® or La Roche-Posay Effaclar) can be purchased over the counter, whereas tretinoin typically requires a prescription. Be sure to moisturize as these products can lead to dryness and peeling until the skin adjusts. The following is a routine I would recommend.


  • Wash with a gentle cleanser.
  • Apply a non-comedogenic, oil-free moisturizer to your entire face — preferably a product containing hyaluronic acid.
  • Follow up with sunscreen.


  • Wash with a gentle cleanser.
  • Apply a thin layer of retinoid to your entire face (a pea-sized amount is adequate). Start by using retinoids every second or third night for the first two months of using this routine.
  • Apply a moisturizer afterward to spread the product and prevent irritation.

Q: Which facial sunscreen do you recommend, and how often should I apply it?

A: I recommend sunscreen products that are broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher and contain physical blockers such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which reflect light rather than absorb it. For men with stubble or beards, it is best to choose a product with zinc oxide combined with a chemical absorber sunscreen (octisalate) for ease of application that also prevents that white chalky appearance. My personal favorite is EltaMD® UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46. For the body, my answer is simple: Pick a brand you will use rather than avoiding sunscreen altogether. If you’re anticipating lots of sun exposure, reapply every two hours.

Q: What can I do about my oily skin?

A: Oil production has several important functions in maintaining a healthy skin environment, but it’s a balance because no one enjoys having skin that feels greasy. The production of skin oil, also known as sebum, is typically dependent on genetics, hormones, and sun exposure. And guess what? We’ve already talked about the best two products to prevent excessive oil: retinoids and sunscreen. See? Isn’t having a skin care routine easier than you thought?!

Q: What happens during an annual skin exam, and why should I get one every year?

A: A routine skin exam consists of a visit to a dermatologist to examine your body from head to toe for any suspicious growths and evaluate/monitor your moles for any changes. It is arguably the safest and most cost-effective screening test in medicine. We typically recommend yearly skin exams starting at age 35, or earlier if risk factors are present. Risk factors include having 40 to 50 moles, light skin tone, blonde/red hair, lots of freckles, immunosuppression, and a family history of melanoma skin cancer. If you notice any new or suspicious spots on your skin or experience persistent itching, bleeding, or pain, make sure to visit your dermatologist. Melanoma skin cancer can occur at any age, and early detection is key. The number of skin cancer cases is on the rise; fortunately, it’s easily treatable when caught early.

Q: Do cosmetic dermatology treatments work for men, or are they only for women?

A: Cosmetic treatments offer no gender bias and are very practical for both men and women. When it comes to cosmetic treatments, I often like to talk about prevention rather than the “wait and watch” technique. Neuromodulator treatments such as BOTOX® Cosmetic would have to be my favorite. BOTOX Cosmetic works for what’s known as dynamic rhytids, or wrinkles that are formed by repetitive facial expressions such as raising the eyebrows, smiling, and squinting. The goal of these treatments isn’t to create a frozen appearance, but rather to soften lines on your face, with the overall effect being subtle yet functional. Injections of hyaluronic acid can also be effective in men to augment the chin and jawline. Other great treatments include Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) as an effective treatment for hair loss and laser treatments for persistent redness, broken blood vessels, uneven pigmentation, or the undesirable “neck beard.”

About Our Dermatology Provider

Dr. Hammon is a native of Nevada. He completed his medical degree from Rocky Vista University College in Colorado, then went on to do an internship at Sampson Region Medical Center in North Carolina and his dermatology training at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist in Columbus. He enjoys all aspects of dermatology, including surgical and cosmetic procedures. He is excited to be back in his native state to provide dermatological care. Dr. Hammon treats patients at Skin Cancer & Dermatology Institute’s Monte Vista location. Get to know Dr. Hammon and book an appointment online here.

Originally published “Top Tips for Men’s Skin Care”, edible Reno-Tahoe