A Guide to Anti Aging Cream for Men

Published August 2nd, 2021 by Liz Aguiniga, PhD
Fact Checked by
Chris Riley
Medically Reviewed:
Dr. Angel Rivera
Updated Date: Jul 7th, 2022

It is frequently said that men are like fine wine - they get better with age.

And while in general, men may seem to age more gracefully than women, having a regular skin care routine can help keep your skin looking revitalized.

Below are some active ingredients to look for in your anti-aging creams that have been clinically proven to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

man caring for anti aging skin

Retinol Products

Many anti-aging creams or products contain retinol because it has been proven to significantly improve the appearance of fine and coarse lines and wrinkles, and can help even skin tone, texture, and pigmentation.

A clinical study of 0.3% and 0.5% retinol in liquid crystal formula showed a reduction of wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and an improvement in skin elasticity and moisture during the 8 weeks of treatment.

Tretinoin, which is a prescription retinoid, is often used in acne medication and significantly reduces the appearance of wrinkles and skin roughness.

Tretinoin creams are also used to help reduce hyperpigmentation, which can also be a symptom of photodamage.

Tretinoin increases collagen production in the skin, which helps strengthen the skin and provides a more youthful look.

Some of the negative side effects of retinoid treatment include dry skin and redness. To minimize the negative side effects of retinoids, use a lubricating moisturizer before applying the retinoid cream.  

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) include creams or products with glycolic or lactic acids, which help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by shedding dead or dry skin cells.

AHAs may also help improve skin hydration, which can make the skin appear more plump and provide a more youthful look. Some AHAs also help improve the elasticity of the skin by promoting the formation of new collagen.

There are a wide range of dosages available depending on the type of AHA and whether the cream is available as an over-the-counter cream or by prescription only. 

Products with Vitamin C

Products that contain vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, help prevent free radical damage and promote the formation of collagen.

Some topical anti-aging creams include a combination of vitamin C and vitamin E, which can help reduce the effects of UV radiation.

Ascorbic acid is a type of AHA and is considered an antioxidant.

A split-face, clinical study of 20 patients with photoaged skin showed significant improvement of fine lines and a decrease in skin roughness after treatment with 23.8% ascorbic acid.

Vitamin C can bleach the skin and be used as a skin lightening agent for men with hyperpigmentation skin issues. 

Beta Hydroxy Acids

Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are typically available as over-the-counter anti-aging and acne creams.

Salicylic acid is the most common BHA and can help increase the absorption of other anti-aging creams. 

Products that Contain Alpha and Beta Defensins 

A clinical study of 44 patients, ages 41 to 71, that received a 3-product skin care regimen of a serum, cream, and mask that each contained alpha-defensin 5 and beta-defensin 3 for up to 12 weeks showed a significant reduction is pore size and superficial wrinkles after treatment.

Treatment with alpha and beta-defensins also helped improve skin evenness and pigmentation.

While improvement of skin elasticity and hydration were not statistically significant, there was a trend for improvement of both skin aging factors compared to the placebo treated patients. 

Hyaluronic Acid

Topical creams with hyaluronic acid have become more popular in recent years. Hyaluronic acid can help reduce the appearance of aging skin by hydrating the skin. Topical creams with hyaluronic acid decrease transepidermal water loss, which keeps the skin more hydrated and gives a youthful appearance.  

Green Tea and Lotus Creams

A split-face designed, clinical study of 33 healthy men that received either green tea extract 5%, or lotus extract 5%, or green tea extract 2.5% with lotus extract 2.5%, showed that treatment with either green tea 5% or lotus 5% or the combination of green tea and lotus significantly reduced skin roughness after 60 days of treatment.

 Patients that received the combination therapy of green tea and lotus also had significant improvement in skin scaliness, smoothness, and a significant reduction in skin wrinkling.

Green tea is an antioxidant that can decrease inflammation and help reduce free radicals. 


One of the most effective anti-aging creams that is often overlooked is a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Clinical studies have shown that the daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 and higher can prevent photoaging, which is premature aging of the skin caused by ultraviolet light.

Daily use of a broad-spectrum SPF30 sunscreen can actually reverse photoaging and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, including crow’s feet.

Sunscreen can also even out skin tone and improve skin texture and clarity. 


Moisturizers are effective at keeping the skin hydrated, which creates a more youthful appearance.

Some moisturizers also include sunscreen protection and can be reapplied throughout the day to help keep the skin hydrated while protecting you from the sun.

A clinical study of 133 male and female nursing home residents with skin dryness found that a daily routine of body wash followed by two applications of leave-on moisturizing products helped reduce skin dryness, which can help the skin appear more plump. 


Many of the anti-aging creams listed above are not targeted specifically towards men but have been clinically proven to reverse aging skin and can be used as effective therapies in both men and women.

Some anti-aging creams will combine several of the active ingredients listed above to provide increased anti-aging effects.

A dermatologist may help guide you by suggesting specific anti-aging creams or active ingredients that can help address a particular issue. 

References, Studies and Sources: 

  1. Mahmood T, Akhtar N. Combined topical application of lotus and green tea improves facial skin surface parameters. Rejuvenation Res. 2013;16(2):91-97.
  2. Sunder S. Relevant Topical Skin Care Products for Prevention and Treatment of Aging Skin. Facial Plast Surg Clin North Am. 2019;27(3):413-418. doi:10.1016/j.fsc.2019.04.007
  3. Zasada M, Budzisz E, Erkiert-Polguj A. A Clinical Anti-Ageing Comparative Study of 0.3 and 0.5% Retinol Serums: A Clinically Controlled Trial. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2020;33(2):102-116. doi:10.1159/000508168
  4. Xu TH, Chen JZ, Li YH, et al. Split-face study of topical 23.8% L-ascorbic acid serum in treating photo-aged skin. J Drugs Dermatol. 2012;11(1):51-56.
  5. Bermann PE. Aging skin: causes, treatments, and prevention. Nurs Clin North Am. 2007;42(3):485-vii. doi:10.1016/j.cnur.2007.05.001
  6. Katsambas AD, Katoulis AC. Topical retinoids in the treatment of aging of the skin. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1999;455:477-482. doi:10.1007/978-1-4615-4857-7_70
  7. Taub A, Bucay V, Keller G, Williams J, Mehregan D. Multi-Center, Double-Blind, Vehicle-Controlled Clinical Trial of an Alpha and Beta Defensin-Containing Anti-Aging Skin Care Regimen With Clinical, Histopathologic, Immunohistochemical, Photographic, and Ultrasound Evaluation. J Drugs Dermatol. 2018;17(4):426-441.
  8. Passeron T, Lim HW, Goh CL, et al. Photoprotection according to skin phototype and dermatoses: practical recommendations from an expert panel. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2021;35(7):1460-1469. doi:10.1111/jdv.17242
  9. Hahnel E, Blume-Peytavi U, Trojahn C, et al. The effectiveness of standardized skin care regimens on skin dryness in nursing home residents: A randomized controlled parallel-group pragmatic trial. Int J Nurs Stud. 2017;70:1-10. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2017.02.006

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