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Anti-ageing for men: Slow down fine lines and wrinkles

Digging deep into men's anti-ageing products.

Written by
Julia Hammond
Medically reviewed by
Last updated
April 17, 2024
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Anti-ageing for men: Slow down fine lines and wrinkles
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It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do or where you live — ageing is inevitable. If you want to look on the bright side, you’re gaining wisdom with every year of age. But what actually causes us to age? And can you keep the process at bay?

We’re digging deep into men's anti-ageing to help you understand ageing in all its forms and how skincare can fight the signs early.

What causes ageing?

There are a few reasons that people age; from the natural passing of time to free radicals and UV rays.

Intrinsic vs extrinsic ageing

Researchers and experts have named two distinct types of ageing — intrinsic and extrinsic.

Intrinsic ageing is the chronological kind where your body and its processes slow down over time. This is a natural process and one we can’t avoid, with genetics as the main decider of how fast you show signs of ageing.

But, other lifestyle factors like overall health and stress levels can play a role too. This type of ageing is surprisingly subtle and appears in the skin through things like fine lines, dry skin and skin thinning [5][6]. 

Extrinsic ageing refers to external factors that cause you to look older. The signs of extrinsic ageing often appear first in your hands, face and chest as these are highly exposed areas of the body [5].

Extrinsic ageing factors include exposure to UV rays, pollution, and lifestyle choices such as smoking, your diet and even your daily skincare habits [6].

It’s estimated that extrinsic ageing accounts for up to 80% of skin ageing, while intrinsic ageing is just 20% [6]. Signs of extrinsic ageing include sagging skin, uneven skin tone, dullness and dry skin [6].

Free radicals

One of the most popular theories on why we age has been the effect of free radicals. They might sound like a vigilante crew, but they’re actually a naturally occurring element in your body.

Free radicals help with energy production and hormone balancing but the problem is when you have too much [3]. Lifestyle factors like sun exposure and smoking can add to the free radicals in your system.

Plus, your ability to metabolise free radicals diminishes over time. So, a combination of more free radicals circulating and being less able to fight them off means you eventually start losing the battle and showing more signs of ageing [3].

We cover the science behind free radicals in our guide to skincare if you want to dig deeper into this one.

Inflammation

Inflammation causes micro tears in the skin which over time become fine lines, wrinkles or blemishes. Inflammation is considered by many experts to be one of the main causes of skin ageing [1].

The good news is that there are heaps of skin ingredients that help reduce inflammation and they are commonly found in anti-ageing products for men.

Common signs of skin ageing

When most people think of ageing, wrinkles come to mind. But they are far from the only way your skin starts to show its age. Here are some of the most common signs of ageing in men's skin.

Wrinkles

Wrinkles are caused by a few things; like reductions in muscle mass, skin thinning and dehydration.

Coarse wrinkles are the deep kind that you find on your expression lines — like forehead wrinkles, crow’s feet at the corners of the eyes and laugh lines on the edges of the mouth [5].

Fine lines are shallow and tend to appear where your face moves – think the eyes, mouth and upper lip.

Hyperpigmentation

An even skin tone is a well-known sign of younger-looking skin, which means hyperpigmentation tells the opposite story.

Sun exposure is the main reason we see uneven skin tone in older adults [5]. But, other factors like smoking can cause a breakdown of elastin (a friend to your skin) that creates a yellowed skin tone [5].

Dehydration

If hydrated skin is plump and dewy, then dehydrated skin is more likely to show fine lines and wrinkles. A natural substance known as glycosaminoglycan (GAG) is what helps our skin stay soft and hydrated.

A form of it you might be familiar with is hyaluronic acid. Studies show your hyaluronic acid stores begin to deplete from around 40 years old and with it that plump and dewy skin texture [5]. Skin products with hyaluronic acid in them can help prevent dry skin.

Dull skin

Radiant skin is another sign of a youthful appearance. It might sound a bit far out, but it really can be measured. Radiance is determined by the amount of light reflecting off a surface.

With smooth skin, often younger skin, you get more light reflection and so — more radiance. Mature skin becomes rough and dry which leads to less light reflection and a dull complexion [6].

Can you slow down signs of ageing?

You can absolutely slow down signs of ageing — with the key here being slow down, not stop or reverse. The purpose of any anti-ageing regime is to achieve smooth, translucent, blemish-free and resilient skin [4].

It’s all about protection, prevention, cleansing and moisturising [6]. There is a range of anti-ageing ingredients, which we’ll cover in detail later, that can help slow down signs of ageing.

How important is a skincare routine in treating ageing?

As we mentioned earlier, the process of ageing is inevitable. The way your body and skin function will change, and lifestyle factors that we can’t avoid will contribute to ageing.  

A skincare routine is one of the best ways to prevent the signs of ageing by supporting your body through these changes. Skincare products that promote collagen and elastin production, reduce inflammation and protect against sun exposure are effective at reducing the signs of ageing [4]. 

When should men start using anti-ageing products?

First off, we think it’s important to note that many men use anti-ageing skincare — even if they’re not talking about it. In fact, a study has shown that men spend only 7 minutes less on their appearance than women [2]. So, having a daily skincare regime is more common than you might think.

As for timing, it’s hard to pinpoint an exact stage. We know from research that the signs of ageing tend to appear from the early 40s [3]. We also know this is the same age that skin hydration begins to decrease in men [2].

Some skin functions begin to drop earlier than this, such as your cell turnover rate. Cell regeneration starts dropping in your 30s and is one reason for dull, rough skin in older adults [5].

Deciding when to begin using anti-ageing products is a personal choice. If you want to be proactive, earlier is better — such as in your 30s. Not only will this support your overall skin health, but it will also put you in the best position to slow down signs of ageing before they appear.

But, the truth is you can start at any age. It’s never too late — it’s all about finding the right anti-ageing ingredients for your needs.

Personalisation is one of the great things about Pilot’s anti-ageing treatment. It’s designed by dermatologists to suit your exact skin needs at any age. Start with an online consultation and we’ll tailor a skincare formula that targets your skin goals, including ageing.

What are the best anti-ageing ingredients for men? 

By now, we hope you’re on board with the fact that skincare and anti-ageing are a match made in heaven. Next, we’ll share some key ingredients that we recommend for any men’s anti-ageing kit.

Gluconolactone

Gluconolactone is a newer type of exfoliant with larger molecule sizes. This makes it gentler on the skin and more efficient at absorbing those free radicals [6].

Polyphenols

Polyphenols are best known for their antioxidant effects. But, they are also anti-inflammatory and useful for sun protection [3]. In your skin, they help protect against free radicals and boost collagen [4].

Polyphenols are naturally found in apples, blueberries, plus green and black tea [3]. Polyphenol extracts are common in skincare products too.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is a type of exfoliant and regularly exfoliating your skin helps with cell turnover, which provides a smooth skin surface that allows for more radiant skin [6].

Salicylic acid is known to be soothing and calming, as well as anti-inflammatory [2]. You’ll find this key ingredient in Software's Salicylic Acid Foaming Wash, which forms the 5-step system of the Advanced Ageing Set.

This kit cleanses, hydrates and brightens the skin while also targeting signs of ageing, to reveal firmer and more radiant skin. Each product tackles ageing in a different way — from the Vitamin C + Ferulic Serum, which stimulates collagen production to the SPF50 Solar Fluid, which protects the skin from harmful UV rays.

Vitamin C

Another top-class antioxidant is vitamin C. Used in skincare, vitamin C helps promote collagen production and protect against free radicals [2][3]. But wait, there’s more.

Vitamin C is often included in skincare because of its skin-brightening ability – helping you rebuild the radiance that is lost with age [6].

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a skin-conditioning ingredient. Like vitamin C, it is proven to help with collagen production, has antioxidant properties and combats free radicals [2][3]. It’s also commonly used to relieve sunburn and UV-related skin damage [3].

Vitamin B3 

Researchers aren’t exactly sure how vitamin B3 works yet, but they do know it has positive effects on the skin. From fighting free radicals to reducing wrinkles, improving collagen production and healing acne [7]. Because of these abilities, this strong antioxidant is commonly found in anti-ageing skincare products [4].

Retinoids

Retinoids are a synthetic form of vitamin A. They are popular in anti-ageing skincare because they boost collagen production and have antioxidant effects [4]. You may see products that include retinol and this is a similar ingredient, but not the same.

The key difference is in the potency. Retinoids are stronger, whereas retinol is considered a cosmetic product [7]. Retinoids are also great for combatting acne and can help reduce the frequency of breakouts.

Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is a super hydrating ingredient, which helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles [4]. It’s also a great product for sensitive skin as it helps build up your skin's protective barrier. A stronger skin barrier is believed to lessen the symptoms of sensitive skin — like itchiness, dryness and inflammation [6].

Photo credit: Getty Images

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