A Dermal Clinician’s Guide to Building a Solid Men’s Skin Care Routine

Men, it’s time to get serious about your skin.

Who better to educate us on men’s skin care than male Melbourne Dermal Clinician, James Vivian.

Words By Brittany Lyons

In celebration of Men’s Health Week here in Australia, we chatted with Dermal Clinician James Vivian to learn all about men’s skin care. James is not just the owner of his own celebrity favourite Melbourne-based clinic, James is also a man and, of course, a skin care aficionado.

What is the difference between men’s and women’s skin?

Anatomically the skin of a male is thicker than a woman’s. This is due to the increased levels of testosterone as well as the necessity to support the growth of facial hair.

Lifestyle choices and habits can also heavily affect the skin of a man. Factors like working outdoors, years of sun damage and the neglect of proper skin care routine can be more common in a male than his female counterparts.

James explains that the most common skin concerns that men present to the clinic for are: dryness, breakouts, dermatitis and complications from not shaving correctly, such as ingrown hairs. These are typically due to a lack of proper skin attention.

What is the difference between men’s and women’s skincare?

While traditionally men’s skincare is targeted at men through the help of masculine branding, marketing, scent and texture, the formulas should not differ greatly from female-focused products. Same stuff, different bottle.

As long as the ingredients and components within the product are inoffensive, it should be good enough for any gender.

The James Vivian philosophy is that a sound skin care plan should be tailored to the skin it’s treating. Targeting concerns is always going to be more effective than anything else.

For a male skin care novice, James recommends the use of cosmeceutical products that not only target the areas of concern, but also performs a dual purpose. In an attempt to shorten the routine and get the maximum out of a product, why not lean on an exfoliating cleanser, moisturiser packed with antioxidants or nourishing SPF? Using cleansers, moisturisers and sunscreens that wear more than just one hat is the key to getting men to adopt a more comprehensive skin care routine.


It may sound obvious, but a cleanser that actually cleans the skin is so important. If you’re not kicking off your routine with clean skin, everything that follows is not going to perform as it should. The below-suggested products have an exfoliating component that will rid the skin of residual gunk, as well as dead cell build-up. Relying on both chemical and physical exfoliants, these suggestions are guaranteed to hold their weight.

Leave them in the shower and use them twice a day – morning and night. And please don’t forget to do a double cleanse in the evening.


After drawing away impurities, we need to nourish the skin to retain plumpness and rehydrate from the outside. Most good moisturisers will do more than just add moisture. Typically the final step in a routine, the moisturiser can be the perfect vehicle to inject antioxidants, vitamins, acids and oils into the skin.

Remember, cosmeceutical skincare can contain some pretty potent ingredients. Actives such as Retinol (Vitamin A) and acids should be introduced gradually. Years of neglect will affect the skins ability to fair well once it’s introduced to the wonderful world of cosmeceuticals. Take it slow, we’re attempting to fix the issues already existing, not trying to create new ones.


Nothing looks better in your fifties than sunscreen in your twenties. SPF is a necessity for any gender, skin concern, skin type or skin age. If you’re not wearing SPF daily (and reapplying throughout the day if you’re outdoors) then you need to be. The below products are nurturing, rich in nutrients and protect the wearer from dangerous UV rays.

If you’re an unwilling male looking to kickstart your foray into cosmeceuticals, it’s important to choose a routine that helps your skin, but also that ticks boxes when it comes to packaging, texture and scent. One of the most wonderful parts of an AM and PM routine, is the ritualistic aspect. A toolkit of sensory-pleasing products will not only get you excited to wash your face, but will usually lead to a happy, diligent skincare student.

Have fun with it guys.