Once, buying men’s skincare was as simple as choosing whatever looked best in your bathroom. Today, scientifically backed up, ingredient-focused skincare is king, meaning that so long as you’ve done your homework, you can invest in the products that are right for your skin. Here are five ingredients worth looking out for and why
An all-round skin saviour, niacinamide is a derivative of vitamin B3 that has been proven to reduce fine lines, pigmentation, red blotches and sallowness in the skin. It also suppresses melanin, so it protects the skin from further UV damage. Aesop’s Lucent Facial Concentrate (£77) is a lightweight, non-scary serum that can be used on its own or under your moisturiser. Gentleman’s Tonic Revitalise Eye Cream (£89) meanwhile, is a washbag essential, using the anti-inflammatory properties of niacinimide to de-puff and brighten post-party dark circles.
Thanks to its antioxidant properties, Vitamin C is hailed as the saviour of dull, tired-looking skin. Of the various different types – L-asorbic acid is the one that’s been used in the majority of scientific studies – ease yourself in gently with Lancer’s Advanced C Radiance Cream (£68) which has 10% vitamin C in a water-free cream. It’s also worth looking for Niod’s Ethylated L-Ascorbic Acid (£50) next time you’re in the US, which gives impressive results after just a few days.
The one you’re most likely to have heard of, retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that speed up cell turnover, leading to smoother, younger-looking skin. Perfect for skincare skeptics who need to see instant results, retinol prescriptions from dermatologists can be wonderfully effective, and there are plenty of products available over the counter for daily use too. Nighttime Repair by Paula’s Choice PC4Men (£30) is a great product, a hydrating, non-greasy cream that combines retinol with antioxidants. Or try the Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Peel (£68) for perfect skin over night.
There has been a move away from ineffective face scrubs in favour of an exfoliating acid. It may seem improbable, but using a range of acids can actually be gentler on the skin, while alpha hydroxy acids (like glycolic acid) also stimulate the growth of elastin and collagen at the same time. Exfoliant Fluid by QMS Medicosmetics (£67) uses a combination of fruit acids and enzymes to revitalise your skin after a tingling ten-minute application. The cult brand has been going since 1986 and has a legion of devoted fans – it was established by Dr. Eric Schulte, an ex-trauma surgeon who developed his own range of products to use on patients. Another cult favourite is Alpha H’s Liquid Gold (£33.50), a 5% glycolic acid liquid that you simply apply with a cotton pad and leave to work its magic.
Last but not least is hyaluronic acid, a wonderfully moisturising ingredient that works a treat on dry skin – particularly useful after a dehydrating long-haul flight. If you’re looking to invest, Omorovicza’s Blue Diamond Concentrate (£295) is a great-feeling silky serum that can also mattify oilier complexions, while giving a youthful glow to the skin. Filorga’s black Skin-Absolute Night Cream (£99) contains both hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, and looks pretty cool too. The same can be said for Shisedo’s bullet-like Bio-performance Super Corrective Serum (£85), and you’ll see the difference in fine lines within a week. Not a bad return on your investment.