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These 7 Things Have Made My Skin Noticeably Better In a Year

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David has been covering men's style and grooming topics for The Adult Man as a writer and photographer since 2020. We asked David to sum himself up in four sentences, and here it is. Serial learner. Aspiring wordsmith. Bourbon enthusiast. Jack of some trades. Read full bio.

Last Updated: Mar 14, 2024
9 min read
David Martin Wearing Tomahawk Shades with Sun and Water cartoon graphics

A skincare routine is a relatively new thing for me. 

I used to go through my days without giving a lick about the state of my skin, and was lucky if I washed my face in the evening, if at all. 

As you can imagine, my skin situation wasn’t great. Giant pores, uneven skin tone, the onset of some hefty fine lines and wrinkles, suitcases under my eyes, you name it—I had it. 

I would have continued on this expressway to resembling a raisin had my wife not stepped in and told me in no uncertain terms that I was going to look ten years older than her, next year. For context, she’s two years older than me. 

So, my skincare journey began. And man did it make a difference.

Here are seven quick tips that will get your skin looking better soon.

Drinking More Water

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First up, no goops, salves, and creams required. Just a whole lot of water.

I had a semester in college where, for whatever reason, my skin decided that pimples were cool and wanted me to enjoy more than I’d ever previously had. So generous, yet so unwanted.

I was browsing Google for solutions, and came across a number of people who mentioned that increasing their water intake helped clear away acne and evened out their skin tone. So, I started chugging a liter of water first thing in the morning in the hope that being more hydrated would lead to less breakouts.

My water intake drastically increased, and I started to see improvements in my skin quickly. This happens because water helps the body eliminate toxins, increases blood flow to the skin, and keeps you hydrated, all of which results in clearer, smoother, younger-looking skin.

How much water should you drink on a daily basis?

Harvard Medical School recommends roughly 15.5 cups for men, and 11.5 cups for women, on average. Hydration requirements vary from person to person and can be affected by things like your home climate, but these are good numbers to shoot for in general, and likely more than you’re currently drinking per day. 

If measuring in cups isn’t your thing and you’ve got a hefty, liter-sized bottle at hand, 15.5 cups is about 3.5 liters, and 11.5 cups is about 2.75 liters.

Using Vitamin C Serum

Black Man Applying Vitamin C to his Face

Now, onto the skin goop.

The first element in any skincare routine worth its salt is Vitamin C serum. This science-backed, dermatologist-favorite ingredient is an antioxidant, which means that it fights harmful toxins that come in contact with your skin. 

Clinical studies have shown that daily use of Vitamin C serum for at least three months can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and improve overall skin texture and appearance.

Not all Vitamin C serums are created equal, though. Other clinical studies have shown that Vitamin C serums that are formulated with ferulic acid and Vitamin E have the additional benefit of reducing redness and protecting from long-term damage caused by the sun’s UV rays. 

If you’re interested in a Vitamin C serum such as that, I had good results with Geologie’s Vitamin C+E Ferulic Serum. I went for it because it packs all of these beneficial ingredients up into one convenient package. 

Geologie Vitamin CE Ferulic Serum Product Shot with Black Mans Hand

After about two months of consistent use, this serum helped to noticeably brighten my skin’s complexion and increase firmness, as well as give it a way smoother and softer appearance. My wife literally asked me what I was using on my face. 

For any Vitamin C serum, dermatologists recommend that you use it in the morning, directly after you’ve washed your face and before you apply moisturizer or sunscreen.

Geologie Vitamin C+E Ferulic Serum
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Geologie takes the already-impressive potency of a basic Vitamin C serum and turns it up to 11. Considering the high-quality ingredients used throughout, the serum is easily affordable and is a great place to start leveling up your skincare routine.

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Applying Sunscreen Religiously

Tv Show Fx GIF by It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

This is easily the most important tip in this article, especially when it comes to preserving your skin’s longevity. 

While sunscreen was likely your nemesis as a kid, and the thing that prevented you from having fun on the beach, sooner, it should become your best friend as an adult. 

I always mentally categorized sunscreen as something you only use when in direct, harsh sun during the Summer months, but it’s actually important to wear year-round, sunny or cloudy. 

Researchers have found that harmful UV rays from the sun can pass through clouds 80% of the time, meaning that your skin can still be damaged, even on days when you’d never get a sunburn. 

If you’re unconvinced about the long-term effects of sun exposure, check out this photo of a truck driver who found out the hard way. The left side of his face, which was closest to the driver-side window and experienced much more direct sun exposure, looks considerably older and more wrinkly than the right side of his face, which was protected from the sun.

Lucky for us, many moisturizers are formulated with sunscreen to have SPF 15 or 30, which means that when you apply your moisturizer in the morning, you’re also protecting your skin from UV rays. 

I would have struggled to make this part of my skincare routine if it meant spreading the thick, gloopy beach sunscreen on my face every morning, but the SPF moisturizers you can find these days make it a breeze.

If you’re not sure where to start looking for a SPF moisturizer, I also recommend Geologie’s Moisturizing Morning Cream with SPF 15. It’s also formulated with niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, which keep your skin super hydrated and promote skin elasticity.

Using Retinol

The Adult Man Disco Skincare Trying on Face Scrub

Retinol is another skincare regimen staple that I swear by. 

I, apparently, raise my eyebrows a whole lot, which causes the skin on my forehead to crease in a consistent, horizontal line directly across the middle. As the years have passed and my skin has lost its natural elasticity, this crease has transformed into a veritable canyon.

That’s when I turned to retinol for help.

Retinol, or Vitamin A serum, is often used to treat acne and has noticeable anti-aging effects. It causes these skin benefits because it’s a skin proliferator, which means that it increases skin cell production. 

More skin cell production means more cell turnover, which means that retinol functionally exfoliates your skin, leading to newer, fresher skin and less dead skin cells. Retinol also increases collagen production, which helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and gives your skin a younger, plumper look.

You’ll find skincare products with retinol most commonly as a distinct serum or as a moisturizing cream that’s formulated with retinol. 

Dermatologists recommend using retinol in the evenings and consistently using sunscreen during the day.

Washing My Face Twice Per Day

man washing face with warm water

This should be a foregone conclusion if you’re integrating Vitamin C serum, sunscreen, and retinol into your skincare regimen, but if you’re like me and seldom washed your face, you need to start washing your face twice per day. 

Dermatologists recommend washing in the evening before bed to remove impurities collected during the day, like environmental toxins, dirt, dust, and makeup, and also wash in the morning to remove oil and dead skin cells. 

Your skin repairs itself while you sleep, and it can do that more effectively when you’ve cleansed away the day’s accumulated debris and given it beneficial serums and moisture to aid the repair process.

In the morning, you wash off any oil, dirt, or dead skin cells that you might have picked up from having skin in contact with your pillow, and then you can help boost your skin’s natural, protective moisture barrier by using a moisturizer and sunscreen. 

I like to think of washing my face as restoring my skin to a clean slate, where I can then give it beneficial supplements and serums that will help it look younger, longer.

Exfoliating At Least Once Per Week

How to exfoliate as a man Black man with Multiple Beauty Objects near his face with look of concern

It’s also important to exfoliate more frequently.

This shouldn’t be hard, given that you may not exfoliate at all right now, but this practice can make a huge difference. 

You can exfoliate in two main ways: chemical, or physical. Chemical exfoliants use low-grade acids that remove dead skin cells and deeply-rooted dirt that may be clogging pores. Physical exfoliants do the same thing, but use some sort of grit to physically “scrape” away dirt and debris. 

Both types of exfoliants have to be used in moderation, as using them too often can actually deteriorate the skin and cause more harm than good. If you don’t exfoliate at all right now, try integrating it into your skincare regimen once per week.

That should be enough for you to see brighter, more even skin and smaller pores, but if you’re feeling like you need more of an exfoliating punch you can try twice per week. I don’t recommend exfoliating more than that, especially if you’re using retinol, which also helps to exfoliate dead skin cells and clear out pores. 

I generally prefer physical exfoliants, and again recommend one of Geologie’s products. Their Micro Clay Exfoliator & 3 Minute Clay Mask packs a lot of punch in a small package, and uses kaolin and bentonite clays to absorb excess oil and clear away dead skin cells and dirt.

Geologie Micro Exfoliator & 3 Minute Clay Mask

My guy, there's absolutely nothing wrong with using a mask on your face as a guy. In fact, it's a total insider secret. This one from Geologie is our favorite---it contains microcrystalline cellulose and a variety of gentle acids to clean and nourish your skin to give you a brighter mug in just three minutes.

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Managing Stress

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Lastly, stress can be a huge detriment to your skin’s health. The American Academy of Dermatology says that the skin, as the body’s largest organ, often reflects what’s happening inside the body. 

Stress hormones break down the elastin and collagen in skin, which causes it to look older, faster, and can accentuate fine lines, wrinkles, dark eye circles, and even cause acne. 

There are entire websites, books, and podcasts devoted to managing your stress, but if you’re looking for some quick references, here’s an article that helped me—it has some actionable ideas that can help you manage your stress right away. 

If you follow these same things that I did, hopefully you’ll also have noticeably better skin soon. It can seem daunting at first to incorporate all of these steps into your daily life, but it’s not bad when you get the hang of it.

I recommend starting slow if you’re an absolute beginner to skincare, and stick to the basics of drinking more water, washing your face twice a day, and finding ways to manage your stress. Once you have that down, start to integrate the nuanced skincare products like retinol and Vitamin C. 

If you have an existing skincare regimen but want to enhance it, make sure you’re using quality skincare products like Geologie’s moisturizing sunscreen, Vitamin C+E Ferulic Serum, and Micro Exfoliator

If you know someone whose skin is looking more and more like a sundried tomato, share this article with them! They’ll thank you when their skin is glowing like a full moon.

Also, give us a follow on Instagram for more actionable men’s tips like I’ve shared today.