What is Retinol and Should You Use It?Jump To The Best
Thankfully it's become more normal for men to moisturize, it used to be something that men would shy away from with the exception of a post shaving cream, which was largely alcohol based and in many cases probably did more harm for your skin than any good. The best thing any man can do, to keep his skin looking good is to start moisturizing early, and the younger you start, the better it works.
If you're reading this mind, the odds are that you already know that moisturizing is a good idea, and you're looking for something with retinol specifically, knowing that it's the most potent ingredient currently available for delaying the ageing process.
The problem of course being that, much like the argon oil trend a few years ago, many of the mens retinol moisturizers on the market, only contain a tiny drop of the ingredient, and not enough to actually be effective. Realistically it's not going to turn back the clock all that much, but using retinol cream can substantially slow the ageing process meaning that you can keep your skin looking good for longer.
Typically speaking men's skin can tolerate (and needs) a higher volume of retinol than women's skin initially, over time higher concentration can be used, but you shouldn't start with the strongest retinol creams available, side effects are unlikely to be particularly bad, but it won't do your face any good and could result in inflammation or irritation.
What Is Retinol? What Do You Need To Know?
Retinoids thin the skin for the short term, but promote new skin production and thicken it over time. They encourage new skin cells to grow at a faster rate. As men's skin cells as typically more compacted than women's a higher volume is needed to function, but for most people. the highest concentration creams will still be too strong to start with. They're particularly effective at dealing with dark spots and fine lines.
Retinol products can be used with any skin type depending on the concentration and other ingredients.
Yes retinol is one of very few ways that we can stimulate collagen production as we age, it also increases blood flow to the skin and increases skin cell turnover, resulting in noticeable reduction of small wrinkles. It is not strong enough to reduce deep links, but will smooth out surface level issues.
Yes, retinoids are proven to work, the strongest variations cause slightly too much discomfort to be used on the mass market, but the retinoids in consumer products are more than effective enough to have anti wrinkle effects.
The strongest retinol creams will reduce crow's feet, however, a general retinol product, will have some effect, but it is better to get specially formulated creams for around the eyes. These typically contain other moisturizing ingredients, that are not harmful to have near your eyes.
Yes, using too strong a retinol cream early on will result in a rash, retinol is relatively abrasive to the skin, and until your cell turnover has improved after exposure irritation is common. However, other than that initial period it's unlikely to be an issue. In fact if there is no irritation at all there is a reasonable chance that the cream you are using is too weak. You should probably feel a very mild irritation for the first week, any noticeable discomfort however means your retinol products are too strong or another ingredient is causing irritation.
Liomen is one of very few brands dedicated solely to producing retinol creams for men. They're a relatively new brand, but the ingredients list is solid, and the initial reviews are fantastic. Our tests were positive, and it's become the go to product for several of the staff at Center TRT.
Liomen has a concentration that's designed for mens skin, whereas some of the creams on this list are predominantly aimed at women (they just happen to be better than most of the mens options at the moment).
Liomen scored top in improvements to skin's surface, reduction of razor bumps, improvements to pores and overall wrinkle reduction. As a replacement to a normal daily moisturizer there is no contest, although as with all retinol creams it will take your skin a week or two before it has adjusted.
Liomen also contains hyaluronic acid, this works synergistically with retinol and using them together is often seen as the gold standard for any skincare routine, retinol stimulates your body's natural production of hyaluronic acid, but adding it externally will help dramatically improve skin texture. It also contains various minerals and vitamins, that do have minor beneficial effects with the two most notable being Vitamin E, which minimises skin greying (the thing that makes you look tired), and aloe vera, which is effective and moisturizing, which you'd expect from any skin cream.
When it comes to retinol for men, Liomen should be everyone's go to moisturizer, it's got everything you need, it's good for the whole face, and is by far the best new product to hit the market for some time. Go with Liomen, add it to your morning routine and thank us later.
This is high dosed for an eye serum, it also contains ferulic acid which is particularly, and pretty much only useful around the eyes and possibly marionette lines (the bit around your mouth) it's effective as a skin firmer, so you may not want to put this all over your face. It also boosts the efficacy of vitamin C and E, doubling up on the effects of other creams added to the area. It's particularly effective at preventing against sun damage, and helping to retain the skin's texture ideal in sunnier environments. Eye wrinkles being particularly deep, normal retinol moisturizer isn't always enough even with increased collagen production helping to fight the aging process.
Be extra aware around the eye area however, some small redness in your first week is normal, but anything past that please see a dermatologist.
This used to be the office favorite before the release of Liomen, now, as some of you may be aware Beauty Pie is not marketed at men, the products even turn up in a pink box. But, it is undoubtedly one of the better products on the market. The additional Vitamin C is in a high enough concentration to actually be effective, and the night cream, which can realistically be used any time of day, is one of the more gentle options available.
It's particularly good for men with sensitive skin, although there is a better option. We do really still recommend the Beauty Pie option, but the issue is their deceptive pricing model. Because it requires you to pay a monthly subscription fee to purchase any products it can work very well if a couple shops there, but not so much if you only want the one item once a month.
The Sunday Riley option is great, if you're skin is already used to Retinol. We do NOT recommend that you buy this product if you haven't been using a retinol product for at least 6 weeks, even the most leather faced of men will likely have some irritation and redness, generally feeling some burning sensation as well. However, if you do tolerate retinol for men well, then this is a good option. This cream is dosed for men without sensitive skin. But, as high doses go this is by far the best retinol serum for men.
Sunday Riley combines two types of retinol, a retinoid ester blend and a liposomal encapsulate for a combined total of 6% retinol. It's particularly effective at getting deep into the skin, so works well if you've already thickened your skin density with previous retinol treatment. But, please note most men can only tolerate 3% as a max starting point, so keep that in mind. And we'll repeat it one last time, this should not be your first option.
Beauty Pies combined cream is not a starter cream, it's relatively strong even by the standards of dedicated men's retinol creams, and whilst ceramide is a great addition to a cream focused on anti aging benefits, it can cause irritation.
It scored incredible high on our fine wrinkles tests and overall smooth texture tests, it also resulted in a much more moisturized appearance, think glowing skin creating a far more youthful appearance, but it was also the most likely to cause skin irritation from anything on our best list. So if you have sensitive skin give it a miss. It is however particularly effective for dry skin types.
Murad is relatively low dosed and thus it is less likely to be uncomfortable as a starting cream for most men, we typically advise it to get sensitive skin used to retinol, but it's not something that you should look to use for more than a couple of months as due to it's low retinol percentage it won't be the most effective. It contains a few other OK ingredients, like algae, which helps with overall skin elasticity, but nothing particularly noteworthy.
1 - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10894961/ - Biophysical assessment of persistent effects of moisturizers after their daily applications
2 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6791161/ - Retinoids: active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic and dermatological treatments
3 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2699641/- Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety
4 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5574737 - Why Topical Retinoids Are Mainstay of Therapy for Acne
5 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2127228/ - Ferulic Acid: Therapeutic Potential Through Its Antioxidant Property
6 - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16185284/ - Ferulic acid stabilizes a solution of vitamins C and E and doubles its photoprotection of skin