Like fine wines, men have a certain advantage when it comes to aging. People often say that a crinkle of crow’s feet or a sprinkle of lines make men look “distinguished” or “rugged.” The general idea is that men get better with age (double standard? maybe), but that doesn’t mean you’re required to just accept it when you start noticing signs of aging. There are things you can do to help slow their progression, like using the best anti-aging products, from creams to serums.
The reason men seem to age differently, and slower, than women is mens’ thicker and oilier skin, says dermatologist and Men’s Health advisory board member Corey Hartman, M.D., but “men are still subject to the same intrinsic and extrinsic factors that cause volume loss, fine lines, discoloration, and sagging skin.” In that case, an anti-aging skincare regimen is your best bet in both slowing and preventing signs of aging.
“The good news is that an effective skin care regimen doesn’t have to be labor intensive to yield results,” says Dr. Hartman and all boils down to three ingredients that he calls the “Holy Trinity of Skin.” The first, and most important anti-aging product, is sunscreen. “Aside from genetics, exposure to the sun is the single most important determinant of how our skin ages,” he says. “Daily sunscreen protects against ultraviolet, visible, infrared and even blue light that is emitted from our constant use of devices. If you can prevent the damage in the first place, there is less to correct later.” After sunscreen, he recommends antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid, which help to neutralize collagen-damaging free radicals caused by sun exposure and other environmental factors. Third is retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, which aids in cell turnover and exfoliation. “Regular exfoliation keeps the pores from becoming clogged, boosts collagen and elastin production and helps to balance hydration levels.” Speaking of those hydration levels, moisturizing can help as well since “dryness and dehydration which accelerate the development of fine lines, wrinkles and creases,” he advises.
“While it is true that the earlier you start, the better the result, it’s never too late to start caring for your skin,” says Dr. Hartman. The best way to do it is to start simple with your anti-aging skincare routine. After cleansing, apply an antioxidant serum, a moisturizer, and sunscreen (or a combo like a moisturizer with SPF) in the morning, and a retinol serum at night. Other anti-aging products, like eye creams, are just icing on the cake. It may take some trial and error to find the best anti-aging products for you, but the best place to start is this list.
Isdin Eryfotona Actinica Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
Dr. Hartman recommends this sunscreen because “not only does it contain a purely physical zinc oxide sunscreen in a lightweight emulsion formulation that guys love, but it contains DNA repair enzymes to correct damage.”
Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser
Before you apply any anti-aging serums or moisturizers, use a face wash to help the active (good) ingredients penetrate better. Using this gentle cleanser morning and night gives an effective clean, without over-drying your skin or making your skin feel tight and uncomfortable.
Kiehl’s Age Defender Gel Moisturizer
If you’re not a fan of heavy or thick anti-aging creams, this lightweight gel is a perfect alternative. The gel formula goes on clear and dries quickly, without leaving a film, and still gives your skin the hydration it needs to smooth out the look of fine lines.
BeautyStat Universal C Eye Perfector Cream
The first place many men notice signs of aging is around their eyes. An antioxidant-packed eye cream is specifically designed for the delicate skin around the eyes and can not only smooth the appearance of existing lines, but help prevent new ones from forming.
Vichy LiftActiv Peptide-C Ampoules
Dr. Hartman recommends this vitamin C serum because it comes packaged in single doses, which makes it “easily accessible and ensures the stability of the vitamin C” which can degrade and become less effective over time. These tiny vials make sure each time you put it on is just as powerful as the first.
Read more: Best Grooming Products for Men
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream
Just like you might want targeted antioxidants around your eyes if you’ve noticed lines and wrinkles, this eye cream delivers a dose of retinol to the same area in a gentle formula that won’t cause irritation.
Hyper Skin Brightening Dark Spot Vitamin C Serum
The potent dose of vitamin C and vitamin E in this anti-aging serum is combined with fruit enzymes and other botanical ingredients. Not only does it target signs of aging, but it’s also specifically formulated to help lighten dark spots.
Invisible Shield Full Physical SPF 52 Tinted (1.8 oz.)
“This sunscreen contains both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in an elegant, moisturizing cream that won’t clog pores, feel heavy or cause a white cast even on darker skin tones,” says Dr. Hartman.
Brickell Men’s Revitalizing Anti-Aging Cream
A great moisturizer is essential to any effective anti-aging skincare routine, whether you’re focused on anti-aging or not. This cream is packed with skin hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and soothing aloe for all-day (and night) hydration.
La-Roche Posay Effaclar Adapalene 0.1% Gel
Many retinol products can cause irritation, especially when you first start using them. Dr. Hartman recommends this one because it’s a “prescription strength retinoid that is available over the counter and is mild enough to not cause irritation, but strong enough to deliver results strong enough for a man.”
Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen
Somehow this mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to block UV rays is still lightweight and moisturizing enough to wear on its own, though it’s even better when paired with a moisturizer.
Renee Rouleau Mint Renewal Cleanser
The peppermint oil in this cleanser helps wake up dull, tired looking skin, but the real shining stars are the tiny jojoba beads which offer gentle physical exfoliation without irritation or overstripping.
Skinceuticals Retinol 0.3 Cream
The best thing about Skinceuticals’ retinol creams is that they come in a variety of strengths “for various skin types,” says Dr. Hartman. If you’ve never used a retinol before, start with the lowest strength to see how your skin reacts and work your way up if needed.
Bulldog Age Defense Moisturizer
This daily moisturizer packs a punch with antioxidant vitamin E as well as skin-friendly botanical ingredients, like rosemary and echinacea. It’s a great double-duty product that protects as well as moisturizes.
Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1%
Prescription strength retinol products weren’t always available over the counter, but have been recommended by dermatologists for decades. Not only does retinol help with anti-aging, but it also combats breakouts, two skin issues that are not mutually exclusive.
Jack Henry Nightly Detox
Prefer to go au naturel with your grooming regimen? Add this face oil from Jack Henry, which features easy-to-pronounce ingredients like tea tree oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil. Together they help even skin tone and boost collagen production.
Kate Somerville +Retinol Vitamin C Moisturizer Cream
In the interest of simplicity, this nighttime moisturizer contains both retinol and potent antioxidant vitamin C. Just make sure to use it only at night, since retinol can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight (and always wear sunscreen during the day).
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 MAX Moisturizer
This new retinol anti-aging night cream contains more retinol that the original version (which is one of our favorites) but still has a rich, creamy fragrance-free formula that moisturizes skin and could help cut down on any potential irritation.
Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream
This Men’s Health Grooming Award-winning anti-aging cream not only has a high dose of retinol (1%), but the cream formula contains peptides and fatty acids to help strengthen skin at the same time. It’s a good option if you’re more experiences with retinol or have dry skin.
Unsun Mineral Tinted Sunscreen
One of the issues with mineral sunscreens is that they can leave a white chalky look on our skin, especially if you have darker skin tones. This sunscreen comes in two different tints to solve that problem, and it blends seamlessly into skin with no annoying film.
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