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Male - 30s Seeking skin care advise

(29 Posts)
metallica121 Tue 06-Sep-16 22:48:02

Hi all of you lovely people,

I have few queries and I hope you can help.

I am 34 year old male and yes it is that time when signs of aging have started to show andI thought what better place to ask for advise than this forum.
Yes, wrinkles have started to appear and my skin and face looks aged compared to just last year !

1. I have started to develop small bags and wrinkles under my eyes - this is causing me most concern. What can I do to remedy this before it gets worse?
2. Also, I have fine lines on my forehead - this is less of concern over 1, but any tips to reduce them?
3. General facial skin care tips which I can start doing from now on to avoid/ delay ageing, appearance of more fine or deep lines ?
4. Any specific products (retinol, collagen , anything else)/ regimen / treatments and general tips apart from enough sleep, hydration, moisturising, sun protection ?
5. Do I need any salon treatments? If yes, which

To give some background, I have never taken this seriously. I only use a Loreal facewash in morning and then apply a Nivea mens face cream. I repeat the same after I come from work. I use the face cream primarily because my skin feels dry and stretched after shower. I dont do cleansing, toning or any thing else.
All my life I have had a facial only done twice.

I generally have clean diet, dont smoke, moderate alcohol, regular gym.

Sincere responses appreciated.

PickAChew Tue 06-Sep-16 22:56:38

You pretty much have it in your "apart from" part of number 4. Add good nutrition to that, which it seems that you do.
Don't be afraid to try "women's" products if you find the ones aimed at men don't stand up, though DH and I both use clinique and their men's moisturiser seems to be pretty indistinguishable from their basic women's one, apart form the packaging.

One ingredient that is useful for balancing dry and oily skin and reducing tightness is salicylic acid - clinique have that in their turnaround lotion/cream and I think it's in a few other brands of micellar water. Some people swear by a much cheaper DIY scrub with crushed up aspirin!

I scrub about once a fortnight with Lush dreamwash - it takes the dead skin off in big rolls and my skin looks lovely afterwards, once I've moisturised.

Can't help with the bags, I'm afraid.

metallica121 Wed 07-Sep-16 10:20:29

Thanks PickAChew, appreciate that smile

I will have a look at the Clinique range.

Anyone else who can answer my queries please?


botemp Wed 07-Sep-16 11:38:06

There's only 2 proven products for anti ageing and only one for the reversal/repair for the signs of aging. The latter is Retin-A, available through prescription only. Retinols are the OTC lesser strength version however these aid more in prevention than reversal in general.

The other product is daily SPF. Sun damage accounts for something like 90% of photo-ageing. We're talking a standalone sunscreen of at least SPF30 here, and topping up every two hours when spending long periods of time outdoors or in the sun. Not an incorporated SPF in a moisturiser.

No cream, potion, lotion or whatever is going to make bags disappear. No matter what they promise, the science isn't there. You can consider a tear through procedure if they are bothersome.

Beyond that the anti-ageing (as in preventive and maintaining) holy trinity is Vitamin C (usually in the form of a serum, most effective to start with in your thirties to aid the loss of collagen production and boosting the efficacy of your sun protection and helps with reversal of sunspots and PIH), Acid toning which is chemical exfoliation, gentler and more effective than physical scrubs (usually AHA, salicylic mentioned above is a BHA and while useful in preventing breakouts, blocked pores, blackheads, etc. not so much interesting in terms of anti-ageing), and Niacinamide at a strength of 4-5% for evening of skin tone and a whole host of other preventative benefits.

Promising but not as of yet universally lauded/proven ingredients are Peptides and EGF.

In terms of products:

Retin-A - prescription only through a dermatologist, will cost you a few £££ to access but the product itself is cheap. There are many here on MN who obtain this for very little through foreign pharmacies. Personally I wouldn't risk it for various reasons but especially not if you're not that skincare savvy. Not everyone reacts well to Retin-A, a good dermatologist is worth their fee and considering how much most people spend on ineffective skincare before making a step towards a derm, it makes much more sense to just spend the money outright on Retin-A. If you seriously want to reverse signs of ageing this would be my first stop.

Retinols, there are many. Go for a dermaceutical brand, Paula's Choice and SkinCeuticals are highly regarded. I personally use the Verso facial and eye serum which is an entirely retinol based brand but it's ­£££. My skin is too sensitive for Retin A, I'm a few years younger and use it preventively so can't say with assurance that it's right for you.

SPF - Japanese do the most cosmetically elegant and effective versions, the French follow in a close second. Biore watery essence is popular both here and in Japan, however it's not sweat resistant so great for everyday use, not so much for long periods/exercise in the sun. The La Roche Posay Anthelios line is also v. good.

Vitamin C - SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic is the golden standard, it has a patent on the formulation with regard to pH and a price tag to match. Obagi and Drunk Elephant make good alternatives but their price tag is still absurd. Cheaper alternatives (but no personal experience, but generally well liked) are OST 20 (from Korea) and NuFountain C20 (from Amazon). The latter two are very prone to oxidation as they are very unstable (a drawback of Vit C in its most effective form).

Acid toning - I use the cult product Lotion P50 which gives you fetus skin pretty much (in a good way), however, you have to jump through flaming hoops to obtain it (through a medi spa, in person though some do online consults (all free though), you'll be interviewed about your routine, endure a sales pitch, etc.) but basically it's a cult product for a reason. People on these boards very much like the Nip + Fab Glycolic pads (or the extreme version which aren't all that extreme) and are usually on offer somewhere. For something in between, try Alpha H Liquid Gold.

Niacinamide - Cerave PM lotion through Amazon -finally something affordable! grin

Peptides- Niod Copper Amino Isolate Serum - people either love this or it does nothing for them.

EGF- Bioeffect EGF Serum. Again an extremely high priced serum that one grabs when their face has gone to pots. This works, new technology, closest thing to a miracle worker I've ever tried with 'instant' results. The only positive to the insane price tag is that you buy it once use it up and you will no longer have a need for it.

Mandatory word of caution : skincare can get very exciting when you first get into it. Do not, I repeat, do not, go out and buy all this and throw it at your skin. You will be very unhappy and your skin even more so. If you're going down the Retin-A route than that should be all that you're using alongside a cleanser (you'll most likely be pointed towards Cetaphil), moisturiser, and SPF. You MUST use sunscreen, there really is no point in doing any of the above without sunscreen. Retinols and acids exfoliate your face to a point that it becomes highly photosensitive, if you are not diligent with sunscreen it will in fact age you faster. Go one product at a time, with the exception of a cleanser you will only know if a product is working for you after 6-8 weeks. Start with finding an everyday SPF that works for you and proceed from there. Ask for samples before you buy anything, with the exception of acid toning (some purging can occur with acids but it should not last beyond the initial weeks) breakouts do not mean you're skin is getting 'used' to a product, it's irritated. Review the ingredients and move on.

Excuse the length I think that covers the basics, though I would disagree with the poster above and say please do avoid 'female' cosmetics. Not because you're male, I actively avoid these as they're usually nonsense products that focus on nice scents and pampering and are full of unnecessary filler ingredients that appear to make your skin luxuriously soft but in fact do very little. The cosmetic industry is 99% shit, save your money and invest in the stuff that actually works.

JamieLannistersFuckButler Wed 07-Sep-16 12:28:37

PickAChew's points about the little difference between Clinique men's and women's moisuriser is spot on.

A male friend once asked the saleslady he regularly bought Clinique men's moisturiser from what the difference was between that and the women's - she honestly answered that the difference was the branding and that the gent's product was more expensive per ml.

From then on he bought the product aimed at women.

botemp Wed 07-Sep-16 12:50:02

Fair point Jamie, I shall amend my comment and say avoid skincare directly marketed at one specific sex as I believe in the case of Clinique the standard line is not specifically marketed as 'women's only', their typical consumer just happens to be female and the men's line has clearly been created to reach out to a new customer base with a nice little surcharge. Either way, the whole 'sexing' of skincare is more marketing exercise than anything else and unless you're scent mad of little use to most. Also see stupid pink razors at inflated prices.

metallica121 Wed 07-Sep-16 17:19:04

Hi botemp,

Many thanks for such detailed response. I owe you one retinol cream for this ;)
I wasn't aware of some of the brands you have mentioned, but a quick Google has shown how well respected some of them are.

I had a look at few of the things you've mentioned.

Retin-A seems primarily for acne and has a long list of side effects which has made me little cautious - but will research that more.

I see you have suggested retinols, Vitamin C serums, sunscreens, Acid toning, Niacinamide , peptides, EGF.
As part of anti ageing prevention regimen do you suggest all or some of these or SPF + one of above?

Have I understood correctly if I say cleaner + toner + Retinol OR Vitamin C OR Peptide OR EGF OR Niacinamide + Sunscreen in that order should be the regimen every day and night?
Do we need sunscreen in British grey winter?

Sorry if I sound naive, I am a man exploring unchartered waters.

Once again, thanks for valuable information.

botemp Wed 07-Sep-16 21:29:12

I am happy to answer your questions metallica121 but as an aside, there's no need for the apologetic I'm a man thing. MN is not an exclusive reserve, anyone is welcome on here regardless of sex and/or possession of offspring. My knowledge about skin care came about out of interest and is fed through research, trialling, and discussing it on forums like these with plenty of male and female input. It wasn't something bestowed to me once under some dark cloak of mystery in the name of sisterhood. You've shown a better basic grasp than the average poster seeking skin care advice and you've probably had two more facials than most MNetters on the S&B boards so there really is no need for it. smile

Retin-A seems primarily for acne and has a long list of side effects which has made me little cautious - but will research that more.

Yes, Retin-A has a bunch of side effects which is one of the main reasons why I'm not a proponent of going it alone. The reason you'll read about it as an acne prescription is because a GP/NHS Derm can prescribe it for acne but they won't prescribe it for anti-ageing purposes. A private derm will cost a few hundred £ so the number of people who get it prescribed for 'free' vs. those that seek it out privately account for that disbalance. It's effective for both and it remains the only scientifically backed anti-ageing ingredient with a proven track record but I believe in terms of use less than 50% manage well with it.

If you are prone to sensitivities than you might be better off with retinol or simply starting with that to test your tolerance. It gets a little complicated with % though. Retin-A is retinoic acid at a certain concentration (usually starts with 0.5% then gradually built up), Retinol breaks down to Retinoic acid upon contact with skin, however manufacturers never quite disclose at what rate so 1% Retinol from Paula's choice sounds like a really high dosage, and it is pretty strong for an OTC, but it might break down to a concentration of maybe 0.1 or 0.2% or even less. In general Retinol only really sees results after 6 months so it's really a long game.

I see you have suggested retinols, Vitamin C serums, sunscreens, Acid toning, Niacinamide , peptides, EGF. As part of anti ageing prevention regimen do you suggest all or some of these or SPF + one of above?

No, I'm not suggesting using all, and certainly not starting with all, simply pointing out what are the possibilities. Most tend to use a combination of several products at different times in their routine. It really depends on what you're trying to achieve, what your skin type is, what other concerns you have, etc. For example I don't acid tone much, just a few times a week at night whereas someone with acne or very dull skin will most likely use it daily if not twice a day.

The most basic anti-ageing is just Cleanse + Moisturise + SPF. One can add retinol for reversal and repair, EGF and peptides show promise in performing these tasks with less/no irritation but lack the scientific backing and history of retinol. Niacinamide and Vit C are more like support players that boost the efficacy of other anti-ageing ingredients or make up for some of their side effects.

Lets assume you have normal skin without any specific issues a routine would be something along the lines of this:

Morning: Cleanse (with or without a cleanser), Vit C, Eye Cream (if using), Moisturiser, SPF

Evening: Cleanse (with a cleanser), Acid tone or Retinol (choose one or alternate on different nights), Eye Cream, (Niacinamide) Moisturiser.

Morning routines are always about building up protection while nighttime routines are always about restoring any damage incurred during the day.

EGF I really would only recommend if your skin is in really bad shape, eg. you've had chemotherapy, you lived your entire life under the burning sun with no SPF, a history of addiction, you've just had a really bad time of it (illness/stress) and it's showing all over your skin, you got slap happy with too many cosmetics and ruined your skin, etc. to bring you to a better starting point.Think of it as a factory reboot. I was really impressed with the Bioeffect serum but had no real need for it (received a deluxe freebie that's about half the size of a full product), it improved my skin texture immensely in a very short period of time but would have been fine without it and unless something awful happens I'm unlikely to shell out for it anytime soon.

I actually received an EGF eye serum from a different brand as a gift with purchase but it contains ingredients I can't tolerate so you're more than welcome to have it. Since you mentioned that area is your main concern it might be just the thing for you.

Peptides are the newfangled kids on the block but it's really individual as to how well they work for people.

You could consider using peptides on nights you don't use retinol as you can use it in conjunction with acid toning (if you're using one of decent strength like the lotion p50) unlike retinol. I'd be tempted to add in Vit C at night as well with the retinol as it has shown to boosts the efficacy of retinol. You may also choose to skip acid toning (or do it in the morning but due to photosensitivity less advisable) and only do retinol.

However, when starting out just start with one thing. So as soon as you get to grasps with an SPF you like move on to the next product. See how you tolerate it for about 2 weeks then add in anything else but keep it as minimal as possible. Acid toning needs to be built up gradually from once or twice a week to every (other) day, it's all very slow going I'm afraid.

Do we need sunscreen in British grey winter?

So officially I believe the national guidelines are that yes, you need to use it every day year round. The WHO is slightly less conservative and states only when the UV index is above a 3. I generally adhere to the latter (I have an app on my phone for the UV index) and tend to use sunscreen regardless of weather when I used retinol or acid tone the night before for precaution. In winter there may be days I don't use sunscreen, eg. you leave for work in the dark and return in the dark and provided you don't work in front of a giant window with no blinds it seems pointless to slap on sunscreen for those 5 minutes of possible sunshine. Rest of the year I'm pretty much wearing sunscreen (SPF50 in summer, SPF30 the rest of the year and I pretty much always wear sunglasses), you'd be surprised how often the UV index reaches above 3 despite not a ray of sunshine in sight.

metallica121 Thu 08-Sep-16 17:34:10

Hi botemp,

Once again many thanks for your kind words and such a detailed response.

For Retin A I did see the 0.5, 1% and guessed they were concentrations, but didnt knew how they break up is more important.

Morning: Cleanse (with or without a cleanser), Vit C, Eye Cream (if using), Moisturiser, SPF

Eye cream = I am guessing you referring to under eye cream?
Moisturiser = Any day face cream ?
Cleanse = Face wash OR cleanser + Toner ?

Rest of your response now makes everything crystal clear and is exactly the kind of guidance I was looking at. This is a good starting point and I only need to research and read up on each of them little more and then choose those that are relevant to me.

Thank you very much for the offer regarding EGF. If none of your near and dear ones need it then I am happy to accept the offer.

I may be a tad too late, but better late than never and 30s is a good time for me to build good skin care regimen. I have you to thank if someone complements few years down smile

Thank you

botemp Thu 08-Sep-16 21:23:32

Ah, yes, I'm sure you'll remember that random on the internet years down the line grin. I doubt it's late, you describe your concern as wrinkles but it may very well be fine lines that are prominent due to dehydration that a hyaluronic acid lotion or serum would plump up quite quickly. I can easily decant you some of mine and send along for you to give it a try. You may also just be looking in the mirror a little too closely... you wouldn't be the first one wink.

Regardless, men look good with a bit of age to them (at least I think so), be thankful you get to age (gracefully) as not everyone does, and self care is never a bad thing so it's all good.

It's been sitting in the back of a closet for quite some time now, I'm happy to be rid of it. It's this one, it's a relatively new brand so can't really vouch for it but if none of the ingredients are of any concern to you it's worth a try. I'd disregard the disappointed review on there somewhat, I believe she didn't react well to the presence of mineral oil so the product just isn't right for her skin and never had a chance. Just PM me where it needs to go and I'll send it your way.

The break up of retinol to retinoic acid is the important bit - so 1% Retin A is 1% Retinoic Acid but 1% Retinol is not the same strength but more likely 0,2% Retinoic Acid, due to regulations it will always be less than 0,5% if it's OTC. Some people make the mistake of thinking I've been using 1% Retinol so I can easily use 1% Retin A thinking it's the same strength and ending up with severely over-exfoliated skin. I mentioned it more in the context of what to look out for if you're looking for a Retinol, the concentration is indicative of actual strength when it's Retin A (as all prescriptions are required to be) but as soon as it becomes a cosmetic it becomes opportunistic 'maths' for marketing purposes.

Eye cream is almost always an under eye cream, there are a few rare ones that can go all around the eye but generally you leave the lid alone as the skin is very delicate.

Moisturiser- finish the one you have now if it's working for you and reevaluate then if you want to continue using it. Moisturisers tend to be the least interesting product imo, they moisturise and seal everything in, that's all you really want them to do. It's great if you can pack in some additional ingredients like niacinamide or Vit E in there but in general you want your star performers in serum form as that penetrates the skin quicker and more effectively and the important ingredients are present in higher concentrations.

Cleanse- I'm guessing you're currently using your face wash under the shower? It foams, you feel clean but it's pretty tight afterwards? Probably has SLS in there? I would switch this out for something else, a cream cleanser rather than foaming face wash and use it at the sink with cool or tepid water, shower water tends to be a little too hot for the face. Cetaphil is often recommended due to its minimal ingredient list and affordable price point but it still has SLS in so might be too drying for some.

Toners are a little old school, they tend to be loaded with alcohol and just strip your skin rather harshly. So if you want to tone it's either acid toning or a hydrating toner (like a hyaluronic acid lotion mentioned above or water mist). A good cleanser, however, doesn't require a toner to use with it to do its job of cleansing.

JamieLannistersFuckButler Fri 09-Sep-16 12:07:37


Thanks so much for the intelligent and comprehensive summary...will save hours of research for the rest of us.

metallica121 Fri 09-Sep-16 14:54:57

I certainly will. The joys of the internet smile

You are not the first woman to say that men look good with a bit of age to them. I am thinking of George Clooney !

Thank you for the early Christmas pressie smile Will PM you.

Spot on regarding the cleanser, it does have SLS.

Thank you so much, your three well researched posts have armed me with enough knowledge regarding best skin care practices and products.

JamieLannistersFuckButler, + 1 from me too.

Thanks Botemp.

botemp Fri 09-Sep-16 23:21:14

You two are making me blush... happy to hear my nerdy skincare obsession helped you out. Jamie love the username btw, am somewhat torn between desperate to know what the job description entails and too scared to ask. For whatever reason I think it involves folding a lot of white towels and sheets confused.

Always George fucking Clooney isn't it? Meh, he's an ok actor shall we leave it at that? I think it's more the case that women are 'expected' to date/marry/whatever someone older than them so older is seen as a more positive attribute in men. Once the restlessness of youth makes way for a bit of emotional maturity it makes for quite an attractive combo I suppose.

hollinhurst84 Sat 10-Sep-16 00:46:11

botemp - have you seen the new deciem ordinary line? I'm using that retinol and really like it

botemp Sat 10-Sep-16 08:40:58

Ooh thanks hollin, ever since diving into the Asian skincare rabbit hole I haven't been paying much attention to the new western releases. Looks great for the price and I love the brand philosophy, however, it's one of those Retinol esters that's proven to be great for sensitive skin but for little else as of yet. Though Deciem don't usually hedge their bets on so-so technology and it good to hear it's working for you. Am very tempted but the bastards nice people at Deciem are informing me it can't be delivered to my area confused. Might be a legislation thing or it might be a UK exclusive thing for now, will investigate further.

Crap, I just saw the Vit C and that looks great for the price and it's good to see the whole line isn't the usual silicone heavy formulations Deciem usually has. Damnit, I want it all <sob>.

VictoriaandBump Sat 10-Sep-16 09:25:39

Hi, just to add to Botemps fantastic advice I wanted to give you an idea of a really simple routine that uses as few products as possible! When I first got into skincare in a big way I bought so many new products and my routine expanded to about 6 steps am and pm. I think I actually overloaded my skin and it didn't look any better for it. Since then I've done a load more research and have really stripped I back to essentials. So here's what I use:

AM - wash with water in the shower, I don't feel the need to cleanse but many would disagree. Follow with Spf 30, I really rate any by Paula's choice and Cerave AM is a good cheaper option.

PM - this is when I take a bit more time over my skin. Cleanse thoroughly with Cerave hydrating cleanser. This stuff is amazing, only £12 on Amazon for a huge bottle, I remove with a clean flannel. Follow with a retinol/ vitamin c serum by Paula's Choice. In the past I've done vit c in the morning and retin a in the evening but I'm trying this combined step out. Always follow with Cerave PM, again amazing stuff and so cheap for the quality ingredients.

I don't feel much need for acid toning but check out SR skincare for a variety of different types of acids and strengths, I really would avoid overdoing these though, start once or twice a week. I'd suggest starting with the basics - Cerave cleanser, decent SPF 30, vit c serum for am (the Paula's choice resist serum is great and contains vit c and peptides), retin a for pm (or merge these steps with the Paula's choice intense wrinkle serum containing vit c and retinol in silver bottle), and Cerave pm. If you do go down the retin a route, start with the mildest version, I ordered the tretinoin a-ret 0.025 gel off eBay and had good results. I'd limit to 3 times a week and I mix with the Cerave to dilute it and found this really minimised any irritation or flaking.

Hope this was useful!

specialsubject Sat 10-Sep-16 10:29:15

There is no evidence that any of this works except retinol and sunscreen, and you will get wrinkles anyway. Why worry?

Dont smoke, eat properly,get fresh air and dont waste time with beauty products. It is all lies, read the claims carefully and you will find masterpieces of ad-standards dodging.

You could have botox and surgery but the results of that look awful.

hollinhurst84 Sat 10-Sep-16 12:37:01

botemp - they're stocking it at Victoria health which I think delivers to more places. Yes, I'm an enabler. I'm quite tempted by the niacimide but not sure where it fits into a routine
I was using LRP redermic R and for a while. Got the new deciem one, applied 4-5 drops and the tingle was insane shock

botemp Sat 10-Sep-16 21:07:09

I did end up on VH site hollin but alas it says pre-order only on my end with no indicative date and their shipping charges are insanely high. I've heard the line is exceeding expectations, selling out within hours of launch. I expect they'll roll out through the rest of Europe in the next few weeks.

I'm quite tempted by the niacinamide too, initially I thought the 10% was a bit overkill but if I treat it like a booster and incorporate it in my night time moisturiser that would work well. Don't know if you're using an LAA Vit C as it's not recommended to use together as they reacts chemically causing flushing and redness. It does go away quite quickly but not everyone enjoys that sensation and isn't the best if you have any sensitivities or something like eczema or acne.

The Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 that looks to be a bit uninteresting at first sight might just be the dark horse of the lot, it's very similar to the overpriced but much loved B5 Gel from Skinceuticals ingredient wise.

hollinhurst84 Sat 10-Sep-16 21:14:35

So if I wanted to use
Ha + b5

I would use the retinol at night. But then niacimide or HA first in the am?

hollinhurst84 Sat 10-Sep-16 21:15:15

I have a tendency to hormonal acne btw, always chin and around mouth and they seem to scar v easily

botemp Sat 10-Sep-16 21:39:51

I think it would depend on consistency as I don't think the HA and Niacinamide would be that pH dependant like a Vit C, AHA or BHA is. So whichever is most viscous would go last, I'd treat the Ha + B5 a bit like a Hada Labo HA lotion which I tend to use after serum and sometimes as a serum so it's potentially quite versatile. Would probably be brilliant to use before a sheet mask for an added hydration boost.

I'm the same, the rare spot due to hormones around the chin area but the scarring is more annoying and long lasting than the initial spot. It's what I like Vit C best for (and SPF) they definitely make it heal faster, though the Niacinamide has these properties too so I'd see how you'd get on with that first.

hollinhurst84 Sat 10-Sep-16 21:48:50

Oh that's interesting as I'm really liking sheet masks at the minute. For how (cystic) acne prone my skin is, it also adores moisture so I've been using a propolis ampoule and regular sheet masks

hollinhurst84 Sat 10-Sep-16 21:53:16

This is the best daylight pic I can find of my skin. My parents are ageing very well so I'm hopefully gringrin just feel I'm starting to look older than I am

botemp Sat 10-Sep-16 22:13:45

Well unless they suddenly reveal you're adopted that is definitely hopeful grin.

Yeah, it's difficult with 'feeling' like you're looking older thing, I think we often focus on fine lines and wrinkles as signs of aging as we can sort of map that out but more often than not it's loss of volume and firmness that seems to make the most difference which is much more difficult to pinpoint.

It sounds completely dodgy and unscientific but nightly facial massage that focuses on lymph drainage really does make a difference for me. It just takes the 'puff' out of your face in favour of a bit of firmness.

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