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Our Men's Guide On How To Get Clear Skin

How to get clear skin for men is a topic in its own right. Men’s breakouts can be different, and it’s important to find the best acne treatments for men.

For many men, breakouts can seem like an inevitable part of life—something you simply need to wait out. But men’s breakouts can be managed, especially with the right skincare routine. The key to managing breakouts is choosing cleansers, exfoliators, serums, and moisturizers with proven acne-fighting ingredients that can help minimize the appearance and frequency of breakouts.

Below, we’re explaining why men break out, so you can better understand how to care for your skin, as well as providing our guide on how to get clear skin for men. We’ll fill you in with our expert tips, Kiehl’s products, and acne treatments for men.

What Causes Men To Breakout?

You can follow acne advice from your girlfriend or sister, but the truth is, your skin isn’t the same as theirs. While men and women both suffer from breakouts, they do so in different ways. The reason behind this has to do with the hormones responsible for acne, one of which is testosterone.

Testosterone, which is part of a group of hormones known as androgens, is thought of as a “male” hormone but is actually present in both men and women. For men, androgen levels spike during puberty, which can be linked to the prevalence of adolescent acne among young men. This is because androgens make the sebaceous glands larger, resulting in increased sebum production. Once men reach adulthood, their breakouts usually lessen in frequency and severity, but they don’t always completely go away.

Because oil, skin cell debris, and the bacteria responsible for acne can be constants on the skin's surface, the potential for breakouts is always present. If your skin is prone to pimples, we’ve rounded up some useful tips to help men manage their breakouts.

7 Tips For Clear Skin

1. Look For The Right Ingredients

Finding the best acne treatment for men hinges on understanding which ingredients to use and not use on your skin. One of the best ingredients to help address acne is none other than salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid that helps those with acne by decreasing sebum production. It works by entering clogged pores and breaking up the dirt and sebum inside, which can be a source of acne.

At Kiehl’s, we often recommend starting a skincare routine for acne-prone skin with Blue Herbal Acne Cleanser Treatment. Not only is this facial cleanser formulated with salicylic acid, but it also contains frankincense and ginger root. As the first step in your routine, it helps cleanse pores and reduce blackheads, whiteheads, and other types of acne blemishes while preventing new ones from forming.

Retinol, which is known to unclog pores and fade dark spots, is also a popular ingredient for acne management.

We recommend speaking with a dermatologist before using products formulated with known pore-clogging ingredients, such as shea butter or cocoa butter—especially on your face, neck, or chest.

2. Try Non-Comedogenic Formulas

Reading through ingredient labels to sleuth out what may or may not work for your skin can be a challenge. Our Kiehl’s Customer Representatives are a great resource for understanding the ingredients in different formulas, but you can also simplify your search for the best products for acne-prone skin by looking for one descriptor on your products: non-comedogenic. Experts recommend seeking out non-comedogenic skincare products, which refers to formulas that won’t clog pores.

One of our non-comedogenic essentials is Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate Face Oil. While those with problematic skin may be used to shying away from oils, this one is safe for problem and blemish-prone skin. In fact, the face oil, with Cannabis sativa seed oil and green oregano oil, helps visibly reduce redness and provides skin with relief from discomfort—two things your skin is sure to sorely need when you’re dealing with breakouts.

3. Listen Up: Don’t Skip Moisturizer

Ultra Facial Oil-Free Moisturizer

Moisturizer isn’t reserved for dry skin types. In fact, your oily, acne-prone skin needs moisture, too. Everyone does. This is especially true as acne products can be drying. For a daily moisturizer, we recommend our Ultra Facial Oil-Free Moisturizer. Because it’s formulated for oily skin, it’s lightweight, ultra-absorbent, and won’t leave skin looking shiny. With continued use over time, pores even appear smaller.

During acne flare-ups, consider swapping Breakout Control Acne Treatment Lotion into your routine. Use it as needed to reveal skin that appears clearer. The moisturizer formulated with salicylic acid, vitamin B3, and aloe vera visibly diminishes acne blemishes and helps keep new ones at bay.

4. Use a Targeted Spot Treatment

At Kiehl’s, a spot treatment is one of our most-recommended ways to address active breakouts. Blue Herbal Spot Treatment is a Kiehl’s favorite. It targets acne breakouts to help clear blemishes, blackheads, and whiteheads using a formula with salicylic acid. As a result, the treatment helps skin look clearer and feel more comfortable.

5. Address Post-Acne Marks

When you’re mid-breakout, it’s easy to assume that if you could just get your complexion to clear, you’d have the skin of your dreams. However, breakouts often leave behind post-acne marks. These are small dark spots that remain after a blemish heals. Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution can help address the appearance of these discolorations. The dark spot corrector is clinically-demonstrated to help visibly correct dark spots and discolorations, including post-acne marks and hyperpigmentation.*

*Results based upon a clinical study of the upper layers of the skin.

6. Watch Your Hair Products

Haircare may seem 100% separate from caring for your skin, but the two can overlap—in an unfortunate way. If your haircare products end up on your skin (whether they migrate when you sweat, your application isn’t super precise, or they run down your body in the shower), they can plug up your pores and lead to acne. You can help protect your skin by showering and washing your face after sweating, being careful with where and how you apply your products, and leave washing your body as the last step in your shower routine.

7. Consult a Dermatologist

Sometimes, persistent acne requires a trip to the dermatologist. If your best efforts don’t help your skin look clear, a dermatologist can help you find a plan that will work for you. The acne treatments for men that your dermatologist may recommend could include topical medications and antibiotics.

Next: When you aren’t breaking out, you can go back to basics with The Ultimate Men's Skincare Routine.

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