Coming Of Age: The Best Men’s Skincare Routine For Your 20s

Using the right regimen and ingredients now will set you up for success in the future, and your skincare for this decade is all about exfoliation and protection.
Written by Jeannine Morris Lombardi
Is this article helpful?5 min read
Coming Of Age: The Best Men’s Skincare Routine For Your 20sPaul Castanie/Unsplash

When should I start getting Botox®? Is it time to incorporate retinol into my skincare routine? What is a “mommy makeover”? How about a “daddy do-over”? Do I really need to, as the saying goes, sacrifice my ass for my face? Should I swap my hyaluronic acid fillers for something a bit more permanent?

When it comes to beauty and aesthetics, there is no such thing as one -size -fits-all. But there are some tried and true principles that will keep you looking and feeling your best. In this series, Coming of Age, The AEDITION answers your most pressing questions about the best treatments, procedures, and practices — from surgery and skincare to health and wellness and everything in between — to consider at any age.

Yes, it’s true. There are a variety of differences between men and women’s skin such as sebum production, elasticity, and pH levels (to name a few). Because of this, they need to be cared for in unique ways. A study in the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology explains that, in regard to skin disorders, infectious diseases are presented more in men but psychosomatic problems (think: pigmentary disorders, certain hair diseases, and autoimmune and allergic diseases) are more common in women.

So, what does that mean for men’s skincare and grooming routines? “Men can use the same tools and ingredients that women use but in varying ways,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, a board certified dermatologist in New York City. Since we’ve already assembled the best skincare regimens for women in their twenties, thirties, forties, and after 50, we decided it’s time for a skincare-by-decade guide for men. Welcome to your twenties, guys!

The Best Men's Skincare Routine for Your 20s

In the earlier years, prevention is the name of the game. “Sunscreen will be the most important part of your regimen to help prevent skin cancer and future wrinkles,” says Amy Spizuoco, DO, a board certified dermatologist in NYC. Acne tends to be a common skin concern for men in their twenties, as are ingrown hairs. With that in mind, here’s what your skincare regimen should look like:

Morning Routine:

  • Gentle Cleanser
  • Clarifying Toner
  • Eye Cream
  • Moisturizer
  • SPF 30+

Nighttime Routine:

  • Gentle Cleanser
  • Eye Cream
  • Spot Treatment
  • Moisturizer

It may seem like a lot of products to invest in, but it doesn’t have to be. In most cases, you can use the same formulas A.M. and P.M., so you’d only need to purchase about five products in total.

The Best Skincare Ingredients for Your 20s

Now that you know the types of the products to invest in, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of what should be in them. You’ll want to use different ingredients at different points in your life to ensure your routine properly addresses your ever-evolving skin concerns. Here are some tips on what to look for on the label:


A gentle cleanser that removes dirt and oil will do the job both day and night. Look for something simple that leaves you feeling refreshed (not dry and stripped), like Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser. It contains antioxidants and avocado oil to protect and nourish as you wash. Plus, it is good for all skin types.

Clarifying Toner

Using a toner may not be a step you considered before, but it can really help keep your skin clear (bye bye, maskne!) and free of ingrown hairs. Dr. Engelman recommends using a clarifying toner with alpha and/or beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs) to help treat and prevent breakouts. The ingredients act as chemical exfoliants to keep your pores clean and skin smooth. Try The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution. We like it because it has a high concentration of glycolic acid (10 percent is the highest for over-the-counter use) and is paired with soothing ingredients like aloe vera.

Eye Cream

The first signs of aging for men and women alike are often crow’s feet (i.e. fine lines) around the eyes. Incorporating an eye cream early on will help to prevent them from forming. Dr. Spizuoco recommends looking for one with antioxidants (read: vitamin C) to help prevent free radical damage from the environment and the sun. The Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Eye Cream features a cocktail vitamin C for brightening, caffeine for depuffing, and hyaluronic acid (HA) for hydration.

Moisturizer & SPF

When it comes to moisturizer, you have two options. You can either keep it simple and use the same one for morning and night, or you can look for a moisturizer with SPF 30 or higher for daytime and use a separate moisturizer without SPF after dark. Of course, if you go with the first option, then you’ll need to apply sunscreen on top of your moisturizer. A great daytime moisturizer for acne-prone skin is Murad Acne Control Oil and Pore Control Mattifier Broad Spectrum SPF 45.

Spot Treatment

If you’re dealing with acne or breakouts, your P.M. routine will benefit from a spot treatment that complements the body’s natural repair processes. Dr. Engelman recommends looking for an over-the-counter acne treatment with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and/or adapalene. Her go-to? Differin Gel, which was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for OTC use in 2016. Prior to that, you needed a prescription.

If You’re in the Market for a Professional Treatment…

Don’t worry about taking the leap into in-office aesthetic procedures unless you and your dermatologist agree that it would be beneficial for you at this time, Dr. Spizuoco says, adding that professional treatments are very individualized at this age. If you’re interested in trying something and are concerned about skin clarity and texture, Dr. Engelman often recommends Isolaz® , a pore-cleansing laser treatment that combines light and gentle suction to clear out blackheads and excess oil. “It’s painless, there are no side effects, and you can see results the day after,” she says.

All products featured are independently selected by our editors, however, AEDIT may receive a commission on items purchased through our links.

Was this helpful?
JEANNINE MORRIS LOMBARDIis a contributing writer for AEDIT.

Related Procedures



‘Try on’ aesthetic procedures and instantly visualize possible results with AEDIT and our patented 3D aesthetic simulator.

App QR Code