How to Achieve Clear Skin for Men

All you need to know about banishing maskne and dark spots.

The relentless barrage of Zoom calls and wearing masks outdoors have directed your attention to new skin concerns, particularly on the face. Maybe you’ve observed spots of adult acne around your nose and mouth area or you’ve started noticing a few blemishes popping up each time you set up your video frame?

We’re not here to judge how you look, especially during these times, but pimples can be pesky and nobody enjoys the feeling of dull and coarse skin. In case you’re looking for guidance about putting together a clear skin regimen in the new normal, we’re here to help. 

The Basics of Clear Skin for Men

The Korean beauty industry and social media influencers may have a lot to say about how many products you should be applying on your face, but a healthy, no-frills skincare regimen all boils down to three things: a cleanser, a moisturizer, and a sunscreen. 

1| The Facial Cleanser

Put simply, a facial cleanser is the most basic part of a skincare routine. Cleansing your face washes away dirt, grime, and environmental pollutants that have come into contact with your skin during the day.

Some people will swear by their good old bath soap (if it’s good enough for the body, it’s good enough for the face?) but your facial cleanser should be able to clean your mug without stripping away its essential oils, which many body soaps aren’t specifically created for. 

Ultimately, it will depend on your skin type: Brands will indicate which products are for certain skin types such as oily, dry, sensitive, normal, or combination. When in doubt, you can opt for a gentle facial cleanser that’s free of any scrubs, microbeads, or exfoliants. Consider the following.


Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Cleanser 

Photo by CETAPHIL.

There’s a reason Cetaphil’s cleansers have been a long-time favorite: They’re gentle enough to be used by all skin types, with a no-fail formulation that pleases even those with more sensitive conditions. The foam version adds an extra lift against oil and dirt, the culprits behind acne, whiteheads, and blackheads.

CosRX Low PH Good Morning Cleanser

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This versatile gel cleanser has a cult following, with its claim of being mild on the skin yet tough on impurities. The mixture of tea tree oil and 0.9 percent salicylic acid helps gently exfoliate your face, while a low pH formula does not disrupt your skin’s natural moisture barrier. While it’s great for all skin types, those with acne-prone and oily skin should especially keep an eye out for its sebum-busting properties.

Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Gel Wash


Photo by KIEHL'S.

This energizing gel from Kiehl’s works up a lather that washes away dirt and pollutants without drying out your face. The mixture of caffeine, vitamins, and citrus extracts promises to refresh dull, tired-looking skin and also prepares it for a more comfortable shave. If you love that shower-fresh smell, its invigorating scent has a pick-me-up effect for days when you need a boost.

Aesop Amazing Face Cleanser

Photo by AESOP.

This foaming gel cleanser promises to be ideal for those in warm and humid climates, while ingredients like ylang-ylang, mandarin rind, and lavender oil create a sophisticated aroma. While it doesn’t come in a standard pump, Aesop’s apothecary-like aesthetic is a nice addition to your bath countertop. 

Celeteque Hydration Facial Wash

Photo by Celeteque.

If you’re in a pinch, you can’t really go wrong with the classics: Celeteque’s Hydration line includes a lather-friendly facial wash that keeps your profile clean without the overly scrubbed feeling.

2| The Moisturizer

If you think that adding a moisturizer to your clear skin for men routine feels excessive, board-certified @TheNerdyDerma on Twitter explains why adding this product can be good for you: Even acne-prone skin can benefit from moisturizers since acne medication such as retinoids can dry the skin. This acts as a cushion from the drug’s effects and can help wounds heal faster.

Heavy cream formulations can feel uncomfortable in the year-round tropical weather, so look out for lightweight gel or water-based products that don’t feel sticky.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel

Photo by Neutrogena.

Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Water Gel gives dry skin a smooth and supple texture thanks to hyaluronic acid, which attracts moisture and hydrates the skin’s surface. The gel formula is also an obvious plus, imparting a lightweight and refreshing feel. 


Celeteque Hydration Moisturizer

Photo by Celeteque.

This no-fail moisturizer from Celeteque does its job and does it well. The lightweight, water-based product is instantly absorbed on the skin, is fragrance-free, and won’t melt or grease up even in the balmiest temperatures. 

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream

Photo by Kiehl's.

Kiehl’s carries an oil-free gel-cream that’s friendly for tropical climates, and it doesn't disappoint. This allergy-tested, fragrance-free moisturizer absorbs into the skin and offers a cooling effect once applied. It promises to control shine and keep the face hydrated for 24 hours. 

Shiseido Men Hydrating Lotion

Photo by Shiseido.

Marketed as an after-shave lotion, this lightweight and refreshing product from Shiseido preserves moisture and protects your mug from environmental stress, as well as roughness and razor burn.

3| The Sunscreen

You may not think of wearing sunscreen especially since we’re mostly confined indoors these days but there are times that you’re still be exposed to the sun’s UV rays without knowing it. Consider factors such as whether your workspace faces a window or if you drive to the mall or the grocery store to pick up supplies. In both cases—and to help achieve clear skin for men—you should be wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen.


Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick SPF 50

Photo by Shiseido.

Most people hate the sticky, heavy feeling of sunscreen, but you’ll hardly feel anything with this sunscreen stick from Shiseido. It has an invisible cast and a lightweight feel. Its solid formulation also avoids messy application, allowing you to bring it anywhere, in case you forget to apply it before leaving home.

CosRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream


Dehydrated skin could use an extra lift from this aloe-infused moisturizing sunscreen from CosRX. Its SPF 50 protects skin from ultraviolet rays and environmental stress—great for daily use.

Biore UV Watery Essence SPF 50

Photo by Biore.

This sunscreen from Biore has its fair share of followers. The watery formulation quickly absorbs into the skin and does not leave a white finish. It’s equipped with aqua microcapsules that keep your skin feeling cool and refreshed, while hyaluronic acid and citrus essence plump the skin and smoothens out its texture. 

Face Republic Super Screen Sun Gel


Face Republic’s lightweight gel shields skin from the sun with SPF 50, yet goes on effortlessly without the sticky sunblock feel. The hydrating formula also imparts a cooling effect, thanks to its anti-bacterial eucalyptus leaf extract.

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