You need to exfoliate, guys
Know that whatever skincare product you apply on a rough and flakey face will not penetrate as it should and will work less effectively—thus the importance of sloughing off dead skin cells and surface debris before doing anything else. If this doesn’t convince you to start exfoliating, know that pimples are born this way: Dead skin cells don’t rise to the surface. They clog up your pores and eventually turn into zits. But if you exfoliate regularly, you can prevent the accumulation of dirt and oil that lead to blocked-up pores. Less is more when it comes to exfoliating. Twice a week is enough to keep your face smooth and soft—even the skin under your beard. Exfoliating products with retinoids unclog pores, while those with salicylic acid help dissolve flakey cells. A gentler option for men with sensitive skin is an exfoliator with lactic acid or enzymes.
Esquire's Grooming Upgrade: Exfoliators
ALGENIST MULTI-PERFECTING DETOXIFYING EXFOLIATOR: Want to keep things simple? This exfoliator pretty much does just that—exfoliate. The oilfree clay, which is great for all skin types, is formulated with microalgae granular minerals that resurface the skin and leave it smooth and bright.
PHILOSOPHY RESURFACE THE MICRODELIVERY DUAL PHASE PEEL: This two-step peel is one of the best we’ve ever tried—it’s almost magical. First, apply the grainy, citrus-smelling Vitamin C Peptide Resurfacing Crystal paste all over the face. Next, massage two to three drops of the Activating Gel (salicylic and lactic acids) onto the skin and watch it turn into a white foam as you feel a warm soothing sensation, which means it’s starting to work. Finally, rinse it off after two minutes and notice your softer, smoother, glowing skin.
MURAD EXFOLIATING BLEMISH TREATMENT GEL: This no-rinse option is perfect for acneladen skin. Its blend of salicylic and glycolic acids plus retinol cleans pores while gently exfoliating the surface.
PERRICONE CHLORO PLASMA MASK: This in-home facial mask is infused with Phytonutrient Microcapsules, which has chlorophyll derived from blue green algae and watercress. It activates upon skin contact, wrapping the face in the green stuff to begin deep detoxification. This feels like a 15-minute facial treatment, where you really see the chlorophyll working as you scrub.
KIEHL’S CLEARLY CORRECTIVE WHITE SKIN BRIGHTENING EXFOLIATOR: This scrub is a great alternative to cleansing brushes or a washcloth and a facial cleanser. Its gentle formula (white birch extract, vitamin C, peony extract, among others) ensures your skin’s moisture levels are balanced while also working on skin discolorations.