We all know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but your appearance is generally the first thing people notice about you—and they tend to judge you for it. The way your face looks is particularly key to how others see you. Research suggests that the condition of your skin influences perceptions about your age, attractiveness, and overall health. You may have the body of a Greek god and the brain of a genius, but science tells us it’s ultimately your skin condition that makes the biggest impression (for better or worse).
Worried that your skin might be giving people the wrong idea? The good news is that there’s a multi-million dollar industry devoted to skincare. Although many products that claim to reverse aging are nothing more than clever marketing campaigns, there are a number of effective, scientifically-backed ingredients that can improve the condition of your skin. Here’s some of the best anti-aging skincare for men.
A protein found throughout your body, collagen plays many important roles, including helping your skin maintain elasticity. But collagen production declines as you get older, which can lead to wrinkles, sagging, dryness, and other skin issues associated with aging.
Although you can’t stop collagen loss, you can work to replace it. Studies show collagen supplements can improve the appearance of your skin. In one study, oral collagen peptide supplementation significantly increased skin hydration and collagen density, among other anti-aging effects.
In another study where subjects were randomly given either a collagen supplement or a placebo, those who took collagen experienced a significant improvement in skin elasticity within just four weeks.
The market for collagen supplements has really exploded recently. With so many choices on the market, how do you know which one is right for you? Many experts like collagen powders because they seem to be the most easily absorbed by the body. I’m a fan of the Vital Proteins brand, especially the Grass-Fed Collagen Peptides powder. It dissolves quickly and completely and is unflavored, meaning you can add it to any liquid—even your morning cup of coffee.
Derived from vitamin A, retinoids are one of the very few wrinkle treatments approved by the FDA. Why? Because they work, according to research. Several studies have shown that retinoids can reduce signs of aging as well as sun damage. With so much evidence supporting their efficacy, it’s not surprising that using retinoids is dermatologists’ second-favorite piece of advice behind wearing sunscreen.
There are a number of potent prescription retinoids available, but they may cause side effects like dryness and peeling. If you prefer something milder, look for an over-the-counter cream that contains retinol. Whatever type of retinoid you choose, be sure to wear sunscreen while using it. These products cause photosensitivity, meaning they make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
When your skin cells are damaged by free radicals, they’re more vulnerable to signs of aging like wrinkles and dark spots. Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a powerful antioxidant that works to protect your cells from the attacks of free radicals and the oxidative havoc they wreak. As a side benefit, ALA also improves insulin sensitivity.
Both internal and topical use of alpha-lipoic acid have been shown to possess anti-aging properties. In one study, subjects who applied a cream containing 5% alpha-lipoic acid experienced a reduction in facial lines and pore size, as well as overall improvement in skin texture and color. No negative side effects like skin irritation were reported.
In addition to face creams, topical alpha-lipoic acid is frequently featured in lip care products, since it seems to be uniquely effective at diminishing those pesky lines that develop in the mouth area as we age.
While they’re not necessarily associated with skincare, anti-aging supplements can be useful for restoring youthful vitality to your entire body (including your skin). You can see a list of my top 10 anti-aging supplements for men here. And for all the latest, cutting-edge information on anti-aging products and technology, sign up for Dr. Spar’s Performance Health Bulletin. You’ll get the best scientifically-validated health tips and articles sent to your inbox, and we will send you a free copy of my “Top 10 Supplements for Men” guide.
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Myles Spar, MD, MPH is board certified in Internal Medicine and in Integrative Medicine. As a clinician, teacher and researcher on faculty of two major medical centers, he has led the charge for a more proactive, holistic and personalized approach to care that focuses on cutting edge technology and preventative care. Dr. Spar has been a consultant with the NBA, presented a TEDx Talk, appeared on national television, and been featured in publications such as the Men’s Journal and the Los Angeles Times. He was most recently National Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer of a national medical practice, but is available to consult with individual patients interested in a personalized approach to optimal performance and health.