Grooming products make a lot of promises, but their claims are often only skin-deep. It’s what’s inside that counts. To separate snake oil from anti-ageing serum, you need to check the small print for ingredients that are proven to fix male skin’s biggest problem areas. Consider this your chemical crib sheet.
The Problem: Oily Skin
The Fix: Salicylic Acid
Men’s skin has more sebaceous glands than women’s, which slow ageing (win) but kick out extra grease (boo). Hence your teenage skin. Salicylic acid breaks down this excess sebum, which means less oil. It also clears and opens your pores, to reduce redness and inflammation, while scrubbing away old surface skin cells. Look for daily cleansers with a touch of salicylic acid and use morning and night to swap breakout skin for a matte mug.
This cleanser from Burt’s Bees uses mostly natural ingredients and removes bacteria, excess oil and impurities without drying or irritating the skin. Burt’s Bees Anti-Blemish Purifying Daily Cleanser, available at Burts Bees, priced £11.49.
The Problem: Dry Skin
The Fix: Sodium Hyaluronate And Glycerine
Those bonus sebaceous glands mean fewer men suffer dry skin than the fairer sex. But washing too often, using harsh soaps, and turning your tap too far left, can strip away moisture (twice daily with a cleanser and lukewarm water is best). Sodium hyaluronate and glycerine are humectants, which help the skin retain moisture by acting as a barrier to prevent water loss. Look for them in moisturisers and deploy frequently if boosted office air con or heating leave your face flaky.
As well as hydration, this moisturiser adds antioxidants and vitamins that protect your skin from free radicals, while SPF prevents sun damage. Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20, available at Boots, priced £29.
The Problem: Razor Burn
The Fix: Allantoin
Allantoin is used to calm, soften and soothe skin, encouraging skin cell regrowth to aid healing. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is non-irritating, which helps alleviate ingrown hairs and razor bumps. Look for it in post-shave balms and slather on liberally.
This formula by Murad combines ingredients such as antibacterial tea tree, skin conditioning vitamin E and allantoin to soothe skin after shaving. Murad Razor Burn Rescue, available at Murad, priced £35.
The Problem: Wrinkles
The Fix: Retinyl Palmitate
Those extra sebaceous glands, and a higher collagen density, mean time isn’t as cruel. This is because the sebum produces more oil and collagen depletes slower, so skin stays plump for longer. But don’t think you’re in the clear. Wrinkles come for everyone eventually; retinoic acid and retinol slow the charge but they can be irritating, causing redness and dry skin. Look instead for eye creams and moisturisers with vitamin A derivatives, such as retinyl palmitate, which are aren’t quite as strong but still stimulate collagen and elastin production to keep you looking younger for longer.
This formula combines retinyl palmitate with peptides, another moisture-binding ingredient, to deliver both short- and long-term results; it supports the production of collagen and cell-renewal to reduce the appearance of wrinkles by tightening and thickening your skin. Menscience Anti-Ageing Formula, available at Mankind, priced £61.
The Problem: Hair Loss
The Fix: Ginger Root Extract
Sorry, redheads, this is a different kind of ginger. Ginger root extract contains magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, vitamins and antioxidants, which improves scalp circulation. This extra blood flow stimulates the hair follicles and encourages growth and a healthier scalp. Don’t expect a Wayne Rooney overnight hair “miracle”, but there should be some notable changes.
This treatment works as you sleep, with the Nioxydine24 and antioxidants combining to promote hair density to prevent hair loss associated with UV exposure and pollution. Nioxin Night Density Restore Overnight Treatment, available at Mankind, priced £31.99.