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Think Custom Skin Care is Only for Women? Think Again

December 04, 2019DMT.NEWS

#DMTBeautySpot #beauty

The Best Mens Custom Skin Care

In a time where everything about our lives can be customized and personally-tailored, 2019, if nothing else, was about skin care. 

There seemed to be no shortage of custom skin care companies that decided to fill a particular niche using science, data or some other methodology to solve dermatological issues for both men and women. 

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While a lot of these offerings seem to be designed with women’s skin in mind, there is a niche within a niche that’s focused on helping men with their specific skin and skin conditions, too. 

Atolla Custom skin care

“Men are looking for simplicity and effectiveness,” says Dr. Ranella Hirsch, board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of Atolla, a custom service that develops a specific serum for the user after taking an at-home skin test and submitting results online. “In our experience, they want a brand to ‘just tell me what’s best for me,’ not a crazy, complicated regimen.”

However, “simplicity and effectiveness” goes out the window as soon as you dive into the technology and methodology of the custom skincare world. 

From simple topicals to full stool analysis tests, there are more than a couple ways various companies claim to help improve everything from minor breakouts to more significant, long-term atrophic dermatitis. 

Men’s Custom Skincare Data and Science

“We found that at-large, men were open to exploring better personal care routines,” says Disco founder Ben Smith. “For some, it meant they wanted to upgrade their bar soap routine, others felt they needed to do more.”

Disco is the most straightforward of this new crop of brands, offering a range of mostly clean products developed after Smith surveyed 1,000 men about their skincare needs. He founded the brand based on his own personal frustrations with the lack of clean products within men’s skincare. Disco follows the direct-to-consumer and subscription model that has become popular across several industries in modern e-commerce. 

disco skin care

Moving onward down the custom trajectory, there are brands such as AskMen 2019 Grooming Award winner Geologie that have you answer a few questions online before offering a “custom” regimen based including specific products they already make. The questionnaire is easy, straightforward and offers high-level science on your specific needs before purchasing.  

“Skincare brands should tell you what’s in [their products] and be able to defend that with science,” says Dr. Steve Xu, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and the leader of Geologie’s Medical Advisory Board.

Xu stresses transparency and Geologie is certainly one of the better brands on the market, in that respect. They have a clear third-party comparison tool with lots of notes you can sift through at your own pace. While it’s hard to expect the average consumer to do so, it is helpful for those with more serious skin conditions. 

geologie custom skin care

“Male skin has important biological differences compared to female skin,” Xu notes. “On average, it tends to be hairier, oilier, rougher and thicker. Our regimen accounts for these differences — we believe that overall men products need to have even higher levels of potency and ingredient activity given the fact that male skin is a thicker shell.”

Atolla’s team spent more than two years doing personalized testing with in-person skin analysis before developing their particular method and line of products. Once a user completes the at-home test and submits online, they’ll receive a comprehensive “Skin Report,” which shows how their skin was evaluated across “key metrics” and explains why each ingredient in their specific formula was included along with benefits. 

Hirsch says 20% of Atolla’s customer base are men and that their data collection has led them to believe that men just don’t know where to start with skincare and thus, their skin doesn’t get the right active ingredients it needs to see improvement. 

How to Find the Right Custom Skincare Products

As exact as the science behind these brands tries to be, the process of picking the right one for you certainly isn’t.

“We wanted people to have ownership of their skin health,” says Apostrophe CEO Ben Holber, whose company has six years under it belt in custom skincare, treating more than 100,000 patients in that time. 

Apostrophe blends traditional medicine with online service by offering an online dermatology consult followed by a prescription recommendation to treat a particular condition. For a more traditional approach perhaps set towards more serious conditions, this would be a good route to try. (The company is also a good patron of transparency, offering plenty of notes into their methodology.)

Let’s say you’re fortunate enough to have pretty decent skin, but just want to start the fight against aging. Geologie might be the best way to go for you. 

Apostrophe custom skin care

“We need to protect the skin from UV radiation — that is what causes most of skin aging,” Xu says. “We want to fight fine wrinkles and skin discoloration [so] this is why we spent so much time making sure our night cream did a great job.”

He adds, “I think our regimen is great for guys who get all of these common problems now and then, but want to really lock in the way their face looks for decades to come and even improve the way it looks right now. To me, it's the guy who wants to add skin care as part of their self care along with diet, exercise, meditation.”

Disco would probably fall along the same lines when it comes to a custom skin care regimen designed to fight aging. It’s a high-quality product meant more to maintain and improve rather than treat an actual condition.

Sun Genomics flore custom skin care

Atolla is a slightly more advanced solution, perhaps more targeted to specific conditions such as redness, dryness, sun damage and so on. 

Lastly, there’s perhaps the most advanced option coming from Sun Genomics. By analyzing your poop — yes, your poop — they come up with a custom probiotic linking gut health to skin health. They were unavailable for comment at the time of publishing, but studies do link the two and it certainly makes common sense that a healthy gut would influence all sorts of other bodily systems. It’s expensive, but another option in this fast-growing space. 

As with any health regimen, it’s important to do research and plenty of it. Each brand has its pros and cons and at the end of the day, consulting a proper dermatologist is always the best way to start your new skin care routine. 

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Geoff Nudelman, Khareem Sudlow

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