For many years skincare has been the sole preserve of the ladies. After all, men don’t need it, do they?

As I came downstairs to breakfast the other day, my wife stroked my cheek lovingly.

‘Your skin is so soft!’ she said almost wonderingly. ‘I really don’t know how you manage it!’

Now my wife is a dear, dear woman but she thinks that a soft skin is only achievable by using amounts of night cream, day cream, anti-wrinkle cream (not that she has any anyway!), protein cream and just about any other cream that the cosmetic companies can dream up.

She, like many other ladies, is convinced that many men have made a pact with the Prince of Darkness in return for facial skin that is not only soft but free from spots and blemishes. I will probably be marked for use as a bridge support filler or receive a nice pair of concrete overshoes from the League For Excessively Scratchy Chins for revealing the truth but I can contain myself no longer: men really do use skincare products!

There. I’ve said it. What a relief to finally ‘come out’ (about men’s skin, that is). The thing that is different about men’s facial skincare and that used by women is that men don’t pay anywhere near as much for theirs – and that’s because men do something to their faces every day that women never, ever do. They shave.

Now I know women shave their legs and sometimes other unmentionable bits. All we men know that. But they don’t do it every day. So why does that make a difference?

Oh, well, the cat’s out of the bag now so I may as well tell you everything. The act of shaving, when done daily, is an excellent exfoliant. A razor doesn’t only take away the stubble from the chins and cheeks of the average male, it also removes quite a few of the old dermal cells. This tends to leave our homely pans soft and smooth – especially if you use (as an increasing number of today’s guys do) a straight razor.

That’s the reason why – when we’re freshly planed off – the facial skin of your everyday male is as soft as a woman’s that has had enough cream on it to make a raspberry pavlova. The only problem is that it doesn’t last. Hence the tendency in recent years for an increasing number of guys to reach for the bottle.

The skincare-for-men bottle, that is. I’m not convinced that I am the first to have uttered this truth as to the original method of skincare for men – shaving – and doubtless the cosmetic companies’ intelligence task force has been keeping their ear well and truly stuck to the floor over the years. So what do we have now? You got it in one – cream for men.

Oh, they don’t call it ‘cream’. Far too girly. It’s called ‘rejuvenating facial cream’ or something equally crafty – it simply wouldn’t do to call it ‘day cream’ or ‘cool night cream’, would it? It’s done like this. After we men have carefully eradicated all traces of stubble, in proper manly fashion with some horribly sharp steel, we are smiled at from some webpage by an incredible hunk with biceps like footballs and a six-pack made of very large ballbearings who suggests that it would be a good idea to – moisturise our skin!

And do you know what the worst thing about it is? Yep. It works. Guess what I got for Christmas last year? Worse still, guess what I bought recently? Resistance, as has been said, was futile.

The male skincare culture steamroller is gathering momentum. We poor males, hapless victims of our own primitive but effective skincare method, have been sucked into mainstream skincare by forces we can hardly comprehend. What happened to the good old days when the only perfume men wore was good, honest sweat and we all changed our socks once a week even if they were reasonably pong-free? When boxer shorts were things boxers wore and after-shave lotion was considered only fit for wearing on a hot date?

Don’t know about you but I sure thank my lucky stars they’re firmly in the past! Now where’s my anti-aging wrinkle-destroying masculine protein emollient?