• Harvard Men's Health

Why Retinol Is Just What Your Skincare Routine Needs

We’re all for embracing wrinkles. They make a guy look distinguished in an "I've seen things" kind of way. Only, there’s a difference between a George Clooney twinkle around the eyes and just straight up looking tired all the time. Retinol is one anti-aging ingredient to consider incorporating into your routine, whether through a serum, a moisturizer, or an eye cream.

Retinol is a form of vitamin A that causes skin cells to turn over more rapidly, boosting collagen in the process. It’s effective in reversing sun damage, fighting acne, reducing wrinkles, and shrinking pores. It's just as effective for men as it is for women, even though, like most skincare products, it’s mostly marketed to women. “I use retinol and retinoids in my male patients all the time,” says Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, M.D., a dermatologist at Marmur Medical in New York. “As a matter of fact, men are more likely to have enlarged pores and inflammatory acne, as well as premature aging due to sun exposure, and retinoids are my go-to for those issues.” (In case you’re wondering, retinoids are a more potent version of the vitamin A derivative that you can usually only get through a prescription.)

Michelle Henry, M.D., a clinical instructor of dermatology at Cornell, also adds that retinol and retinoids can help reduce razor bumps as well. “Your mid-20s is a great time to start using a topical retinol,” Henry says. “Retinol will help fight the collagen loss and pigmentation changes that usually occur in your thirties.” The New York dermatologist recommends applying retinol after you wash your face at night (as vitamin A degrades in the light), followed by a rich moisturizer. She advises that if irritation occurs, as it often does with this potent ingredient, simply skip a few days in order to let your skin calm down.

Here, a few over-the-counter retinol-infused products to consider. Might as well work your way up to the hard stuff.

Retinol 100,000 IU CBD Infused Cream



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