Meet the Avengers of Anti-Ageing Skincare for Men
Here are the anti-ageing avengers you need to have by your side today
Nov 10, 2022
Grooming Guru Lee Kynaston is one of the UK’s best-known and most knowledgeable male beauty experts, with over 20 years experience of writing about men's skincare, haircare and fragrance. An award-winning journalist and former magazine editor, his work has appeared in newspapers and magazines and on websites across the world and as an in-demand consultant he has worked with some of the world’s biggest brands. He currently writes for the likes of GQ, Mr. Porter and The Independent – as well as for Humanery.
The quest for younger, brighter, firming looking skin is often described as a battle. And in many respects, it is a battle because Old Father Time is a relentless nemesis – more determined than Ultron and trickier an enemy than Loki. Frankly, you need skin thicker than Iron Man’s to survive his relentless onslaught. Luckily, help is at hand in the shape of the Anti-Ageing Avengers – a team of skincare superheroes who work separately, and sometimes together, to reverse the ravages of Time. Trust us, a better team of wrinkle busters has never been assembled.
Leader of the of the Anti-Ageing Avengers, Retinol was the product of experimentation on vitamin A by a team of skincare scientists back in 1970s. The experiments led to a whole host of Retinoids, though Retinol is the best known of the wrinkle busters thanks to his ability to tackle the signs of ageing from multiple angles. A mostly nocturnal superhero, he prefers to work in the shadows, since sunlight can undo some of his superpowers (see ‘Nemesis’ below). Take care though, encounters with the mighty Retinol can cause temporary skin irritation, dryness, redness and itchiness, especially if you first encounter the avenger at full strength. To allow your skin to become accustomed to his power, start at a low strength (0.5%) and build up your tolerance over time, using regularly over a period of months. Retinol’s true powers are really unlocked at 2%.
- Superpowers: Ability to increase collagen and elastin production, exfoliate, fade age spots and plump up skin.
- Enemies: Wrinkles, fine lines, enlarged pores, acne and age spots.
- Nemesis: Sunlight (Retinol has been known to increase skin’s sensitivity to sunlight so factor up after embracing Retinol’s powers).
- Found in: Ra. Men's Care - Revive Face Serum; Skin Generics Anti-Ageing Face Serum Retinol 20% Active Complex; SBTRCT Rejuvenating Night Balm.
Master of mimicry Squalane, born of ancient olive groves, relies on his ability to mimic skin’s natural oils in order to act a bit like its own naturally protective sebum. Part of the Anti-Ageing Avengers’ essential backup team, he throws a cloak of protection around skin, helping prevent moisture loss and supporting natural barrier function to create a natural defence shield. He also provides antioxidant cover to help neutralise skin ageing free radicals generated by sunlight and pollution and has been known to fade the odd freckle and age spot in his time too.
Squalane has pledged to help all men but is especially useful to ones over 40, whose skin needs a little extra support. So simpatico with humans is he that he rarely irritates or causes allergic reactions.
- Superpowers: Mimics skin’s natural oils; improves texture; strengthens skin.
- Enemies: Free radicals, dryness, fine lines, pigmentation.
- Found in: Shakeup Cosmetics Face 4ward Pro Youth Serum; CELLMEN Face Ultra; SBTRCT Rejuvenating Night Balm.
Vitamin C (or L-ascorbic Acid as she’s known to her parents) joined the Anti-Ageing Avengers a few years ago, quickly becoming one of the highest profile (and most Googled) of the skincare superheroes – much to the chagrin of the two other most important Avengers, Sunscreen and Retinol.
Part of this is due to her three great superpowers. Not only is she able to stimulate the production of collagen (one of the things that gives skin its firmness) but she can also use her powers to break up and fade age spots (and help prevent them forming in the future) and neutralise harmful free radicals. She’s the ninja of skincare. A word of warning though: Like the Incredible Hulk, Vit C has a reputation for being - how can we put this? - a bit unstable. Both light and air can affect her skin brightening powers so keep products that feature her away from sunlight and use them as instructed once opened – she’s not a superhero to be left on the shelf.
- Superpowers: Stimulates collagen; reduces the appearance of dark spots; neutralises free radicals.
- Enemies: Age spots, sagging skin, dullness.
- Found in: Augustinus Bader The Cream; Skin Generics Brightening Face Serum with Vitamin C; REN Glow Daily Vitamin C Gel Cream.
One of the founders of the Anti-Ageing Avengers, Sunscreen’s chief task is to see off enemies so that fellow skincare superheroes Retinol, Squalane and Vitamin C don’t have to work so hard. Able to appear in two forms (as a physical, mineral shield and invisibly, in chemical form) and able to ramp her powers up to a factor of 50+ she has the ability to block the sun’s burning UVB rays and ageing UVA ones, throwing her defence shield around skin to minimise damage.
A tireless anti-wrinkle warrior, often seen working in tandem with Retinol (we think there’s a romance going on there) she works all day long, 365 days a year, guarding skin against damage even in the winter, when the sun’s penetrating rays can still cause damage to skin. Only at night-time, when her services aren’t needed, does she take a well-earned rest.
She’s a defender of all skins, whatever age and colour but, given her ability to prevent damage, she has a soft spot for the younger ones.
- Superpowers: Wrinkle and age spot prevention.
- Enemies: UVA & UVB rays.
- Found in: Auden Age Defence Face Cream SPF30; LifeJacket Skin Protection SPF 30 Daily Protection Face Moisturiser; Dr. David Jack All Day Long Daily SPF 50 Face Moisturiser.
Where Ultron is an artificial intelligence and only wants to wipe out all organic life, anti-ageing legend Hyaluron (or Hyaluronic Acid to give him his full name) is totally natural and only wants to wipe out fine lines from your face.
His main superpower is his ability to draw moisture towards the skin and increase its overall water content, helping plump it up and making fine lines and wrinkles instantly less noticeable.
The gentle giant of the group, Hyaluronic Acid can absorb more than 1,000 times his own weight in water - and still look good. He’s very much on your side in the battle against Old Father Time, especially if you suffer from dry skin, because dry skin is often compromised skin that’s especially prone to premature ageing.
- Superpowers: Attracts moisture, rejuvenates and firms up skin.
- Enemies: Dry skin, fine lines and wrinkles.
- Found in: Auden Hyaluronic Acid Brightening Face Serum; BARBER PRO Skin Renewing Foil Mask For Men; Haeckels Algae Plump + B3 Facial Serum.
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