Real talk: in 2019 there is no reason for men not to care more about skincare. Ignoring the ridiculous idea that good grooming habits somehow make you less masculine, the most obvious reason is pure science and health. Last year, Australia had the privilege of having the highest rate of melanoma in the world. Probably the only thing we're ahead of New Zealand in these days…
As someone who lost their younger brother to this, it baffles me to think that there are fellow gents who would rather risk their lives than appear "vain".
First step is obviously getting your annual check-up at the local doctor. This isn't just about early detection but also straight-up prevention and a lot of risk can be minimised by this regular visit.
But why stop there? Healthy skin is as much about indulgence as it is maintenance.
Love your biggest organ
"We all want to look our best, and our skin is 'on show' to everyone, every day," explains Emma Hobson, education manager at Dermalogica's International Dermal Institute.
"That skincare is just for women and men don't need it seems odd to me as all human beings are created with the same skin. Skin doesn't have a gender, it's just skin, take care of it and it will take care of you. It's not hard work it's just common sense!"
To put it in succinct terms: looking like old leather doesn't make you more of a man. It's a brutal truth but someone had to say it. And prevention starts at home. In your bathroom cabinet.
Behind closed doors
Cleanse. Exfoliate. Treat. Prevent. That's how simple it is to create a routine that helps you look as healthy as a young buck and less like an old moccasin.
Rhiannon Murphy, derma therapist at Sydney's grooming salon Face of Man, says that that one of the most common mistakes she sees men making is the simplest: washing your face.
"A lot of men don't know about the double cleanse at night time for example," explains Murphy.
"Throughout the day, dirt and oil accumulates on the skin and if you're just giving it a quick wash like you would in the morning it's not actually cleaning the skin effectively enough."
Next step is hydration. Life can't survive without water and skin can't perform at its best unless it's well hydrated.
"About 97 per cent of Australians suffer from dehydrated skin due to the climate we live in," says Murphy.
"If you have any skin concerns whatsoever, you need to work on hydration and water content in your skin first. This puts a protective layer in the skin and this is called a phospholipid bilayer. When this barrier is impaired the skin can't protect itself. You'll lose water throughout the day which causes sensitivity, redness and anything that comes in contact with the skin can cause more damage."
Treating your needs
But targeting exactly the kind of attention your skin needs to look and perform at its best needs a little help from those who know the signs to look for. This is where people like Murphy and Hobson come in, who can not only give you advice on how to target specific problems but also help in ways that over-the-counter products can't.
"Coming in [to see a dermal therapist] every couple of months and having a proper facial, getting your extractions done and getting the skin cleaned out has huge long term benefits for the skin," explains Murphy.
Look at it like this: the average man wouldn't bat an eyelid when it came to seeing a physio or chiro to help recover from physical exertion or sports injuries.
Your skin undergoes experiences physical trauma daily – sunburn, irritation, inflammation, dehydration – so it's not too far of a stretch to apply the same personal maintenance to your face as you do your body.
"Men are excellent at taking the advice of an expert, so trusting the skin therapist to create the perfect treatment solution for them is a comfortable decision even for the novice," says Hobson.
"It's a good idea to have a treatment every four to six weeks with a personalised approach that tailors to their individual preferences. Their preference may be a shorter 30 minute treatment, an advanced chemical peel, or something more intense that they feel has worked 'hard' on their skin to get results.
"If a man's skin is to look well-groomed and cared for and be as healthy as possible then a combination of professional treatments combined with home care is the only way to achieve this."
If all this talk of facials and serums is still makes you squirm a little in your seat, do yourself this one favour: invest in a quality sunscreen. One that is water resistant, hydrates your skin with a dollop of additional ingredients like Vitamin B5 and Vitamin B3 and shea butter, and absorbs easy.
But if you want to make a serious investment into your grooming routine, check out the gallery above to see the best products to stock up in your bathroom cabinet.