Ingredients to Look for in a Facial Cleanser for Men

Posted by Dan Farris on
Ingredients to Look for in a Facial Cleanser for Men

It’s no secret that the majority of men don’t have a skincare routine. While it’s common in some eastern countries for men to have a devoted skincare routine, western men are less devoted to their skin. The skin is the largest organ of the human body, so why not devote some time to keep it healthy?

A common misconception is that men don’t need a skin care routine because they’re not hormone-ridden teenagers anymore. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

According to a study titled ‘The prevalence of acne in adults 20 years and older’ published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 42.5% of men over the age of twenty and 20.1% of men in their thirties report experiencing acne. The statistic drops to 12% of men in their forties and just 7.3% for men in their fifties.

Acne isn’t just a nuisance, it can also impact how we feel about ourselves. Luckily, finding the right facial cleanser can clear up breakouts and stop them from recurring.

What Causes Adult Acne in Men?

If you’re dealing with pimples and excess oil, don’t worry, you’re not going through puberty again. There are many internal and external factors behind an acne breakout.

The most common factors of adult acne in men include:


Stress causes a lot of issues, mentally and physically. When you’re stressed, the body produces more of the androgen hormone causing an imbalance. Unfortunately for those with chronic stress, this can lead to constant battles with acne. Androgen stimulates the sebaceous glands, causing them to grow and produce too much sebum (oil), leading to clogged follicles. Alas, a pimple is born.

man with stress image


Current Skincare Products:

you may be thinking to yourself- why are you having skin issues if you’re washing your face every day. Not all facial cleansers and skincare products are created equal. Many skincare products dry out the skin which causes the body to produce even more oil to combat the dryness. This is bad news for those of us who struggle with oily skin, to begin with.

skincare products


Chemical Irritants:

Your current skincare products may have irritants that cause inflammation. Some men may have sensitive skin and a product that doesn’t bother your friend may not solve your problem. Sensitive skin requires a gentler formula that will not worsen skin conditions.

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Unhealthy Lifestyle:

Eating and consuming too much sugar is linked to causing acne. Even foods that don’t typically cause acne in the masses may cause you to breakout. If you notice you tend to breakout after consuming a particular food or drink, then it may be time to cut it out of your diet.

healthy food choice image

How Does a Facial Cleanser Work?

This sounds pretty self-explanatory; a cleanser cleans the face. But how? There are a lot of active ingredients doing their part in making sure the product is effective. Facial cleansers are made out of surfactants, emollients, exfoliants, and humectants.

The foundation to most cleansers are surfactants, which remove unwanted materials from the skin’s outermost layer. Surfactants contain detergents that help break down fats and oils that clog our pores, reducing the risk of breakouts.

Emollient and humectant ingredients work in the same manner as they help prevent the skin from drying out. Emollients typically moisturize the skin while humectants help the skin retain that moisture long-term. Lastly, exfoliants gently remove dead skin and brighten the skin.

Key Ingredients to Look For in Facial Cleanser For Men


Facial cleansers can dry out the skin because it strips away oil. Overdrying, as mentioned, is one of the main reasons acne occurs. Aloe is known for its amazing hydrating properties. Facial cleansers that include aloe will add moisture to your face after washing, prevent dryness, and help reduce acne. It commonly appears on ingredient lists as aloe barbadensis leaf extract.

aloe with aloe sliced image

Salicylic Acid:

This is considered one of the best ingredients for facial cleansers. Salicylic acid, also known as a beta-hydroxy acid, unclogs pores by gently exfoliating the skin.

salicylic acid image


Glycolic Acid:

Called an alpha-hydroxy acid, glycolic acid is an ingredient that tackles both acne and wrinkles. It scrubs away dead skin cells, which stimulates collagen and hyaluronic acid production. Hyaluronic acid retains moisture to hydrate the skin. Altogether these components help reduce fine-lines, stop breakouts, and produce younger looking skin.

man with skin wrinkles on face image



Known as a humectant, glycerin is another ingredient that helps the skin retain moisture after using a facial cleanser. Glycerin is another naturally occurring compound found in the skin. Glycerin may also be listed as glycerol.

vegetable glycerin image


Lauric Acid:

The predominant fatty acid in coconut oil, lauric acid is known for its antiviral, antimicrobial, and moisturizing properties. The most commonly derived component used in cleansers from lauric acid is sodium lauroyl lactylate. It easily absorbs into the skin to increase moisture and fight acne due to its antimicrobial properties.

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Natural Oil Extracts:

There are a wide variety of natural oil extracts that are found in skincare products. Many of them have anti-inflammatory properties and moisturizing properties, and some may help exfoliate the skin and provide soothing properties.

natural oil extracts image


Popular extracts include sage leaf, oat kernel, aloe, seaweed, lemon, grapefruit, Chondrus Crispus (Irish Moss), fireweed, chamomile, caffeine, and more.

Stearyl Alcohol:

While the majority of alcohol is a huge irritant for skin, alcohol derived from stearic acid (a naturally-occurring fatty acid) has many beneficial properties. Ingredients listed as stearyl, cetyl, and Cetearyl alcohol mean the ingredients work to combat dry skin.

whiskey in to glass image

Discerning good alcohol from bad alcohol in skin care is important. Alcohol ingredients to avoid include SD alcohol and denatured alcohol.

Ready for Better, Cleaner Skin?

Having a reliable facial cleanser that produces the results you want is as simple as looking at what’s in it. It’s probably time to inspect the ingredient labels on your current skin care products to see if they’re doing more harm than good.

Luckily, we list every ingredient our men's skincare products are made out of on our website alongside its benefits and how to properly use the product. Click here to see our list of products and their ingredients.

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