It's good to be a man when it comes to skin care. Men's skin is 20 to 30 percent thicker than a woman's, naturally helping it look plump and healthy even as their wives and girlfriends fight crow's feet and frown lines with every anti-aging cream on the shelf [source: Sine]. The downside of that thick skin is that men's faces also host more hair follicles and more glands that produce sebum, or what we call oil. Testosterone activates those glands, giving men oilier skin than their female companions [source: Newman].
Oily skin is more prone to clogged pores, leading to acne breakouts or blackheads. While zits may have been more of a concern as a teenager, oily skin is also the source of an increasingly high-profile skin concern: shine. Blame it on the popularity of the clean-shaven noggin, but The New York Times recently reported a sharp rise in skin care products designed to mattify the skin, or give it a shine-free, matte finish. One market research firm expected 36 new "mattifying" moisturizers to hit the market in 2010 [source: Newman].
If you have oily skin, you might think that moisturizers would only exacerbate the problem. But there's a difference between adding oil to your skin and adding moisture. The purpose of a good moisturizer is to draw water into surface skin cells, protecting them against the drying effects of sunlight, wind, shaving, and environmental pollutants without clogging pores or leaving skin with that "greasy" feeling.
Before you go shopping for a moisturizer designed for men with oily skin, first figure out if that's really your skin type. The best way to do that is to visit a licensed dermatologist. Use the search tool at the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Web site to find one near you. Don't rely on the expertise of the folks behind the skin care counter at the local department store [source: Sine]. Believe it or not, those white lab coats don't count as credentials.
On the next page, we'll look at the two major types of moisturizers and tell you exactly which ingredients are safe for oily skin and which should be avoided.