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Even if you don’t yet have wrinkles, you still need a wrinkle-fighting cream just as much as your furrowed friends. That’s because wrinkles and fine lines are easy to minimize if you take a proactive approach. They will show up eventually, but that ‘eventually’ can be a lot more gradual if you act now.
That’s frequent advice given by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Milton R. Moore of San Antonio, TX. “I tell my patients that it is more expensive to reverse the negative effects of skin damage than to prevent them,” he says.
But there’s good news for even the wrinkly among us: You can reduce these folds and firm the skin with a targeted approach—let’s say, with a retinol-powered night cream and a peptide-rich eye cream—to make up for the lost time.
What’s the secret to a good wrinkle cream? “All good anti-aging creams generally have a retinol and collagen-producing or enhancing ingredient,” Dr. Moore says. And the following are some of those key ingredients:
Collagen: “There is data to show that marine collagen can be used twice daily to increase skin elasticity after 30 days,” says Dr. Moore.
Algae extract: “Algae extracts improve collagen equilibrium (homeostasis) by blocking a protein which causes collagen degradation.”
Peptides: “Peptides are amino acids, which are the building blocks of the proteins used to make collagen. One good thing about peptides is that they are more tolerable to patients with sensitive skin than retinol, so these can be used in combination with other skincare products,” Dr. Moore says.
Hydroxy Acids: “Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, are commonly used exfoliating agents, but the benefits are far greater. They also have been proven to increase collagen [synthesis] and improve the quality of elastic fibers in our skin.”
Retinol: “Cosmeceutical (OTC) retinol are effective and can be less irritating than prescription retinol,” notes Moore. Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative that brightens skin, reverses and prevents wrinkles, and significantly reduces acne and oil production.
SPF: “SPF is imperative every day, even on cloudy days and especially when working from home,” Moore says. “UV rays have a cumulative detrimental effect on skin and can penetrate clouds and windows. I would suggest a minimum of SPF 40 applied throughout the day.” SPF is particularly imperative if you use retinol, which makes your skin more sensitive to the sun.
So, what are our favorite wrinkle creams for men? Read on and find out.
Best Overall: La Mer Crème de la Mer
This is, quite literally, the crème de la crème. La Mer’s highly concentrated algae-infused cream has achieved cult status—and top-shelf placement—for its trademarked ‘Miracle Broth’ formula that plumps skin, prevents wrinkles, smoothes skin texture, promotes healing, and deflects skin-aging toxins. Yeah, it’s just as famous for costing a pretty penny, but that’s the cost of being pretty. And it is La Mer, after all. There’s no other placement on this list but at the top.
Best Budget: Advanced Clinicals Collagen Skin Rescue Lotion
This lotion helps firm and tighten skin thanks to a high collagen dose. It’s also packed with green tea, aloe, and chamomile for a soothing, invigorating application that promotes circulation and rejuvenation. It doubles as body moisture, too, if you want to target any sagging or wrinkling skin elsewhere.
Best Drugstore: Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Anti-Wrinkle Retinol Cream + Hyaluronic Acid
Neutrogena employs two key ingredients in its anti-wrinkle cream: retinol to smooth wrinkles and reduce acne and hyaluronic acid to boost and preserve moisture levels. It’s also one that Dr. Moore frequently recommends to patients who don’t want to invest in the more costly options.
Best Non-SPF Daily Cream: Holly Hall Supply Co. Daily Repair Moisturizer
Holly Hall has created a lightweight day cream that could moonlight as an overnight recovery cream by combining wrinkle-reducing algae and skin-plumping collagen. It’s how I found Dr. Moore in the first place: He developed this excellent daily cream so that your war on wrinkles never sleeps.
Best with SPF: Supergoop! Sunscreen Daily Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 40
It’s not exactly sunscreen, but this moisturizer does deliver a strong SPF 40 shield over the top of the skin. It simultaneously fuels cells with blue algae to improve texture and firmness and cerium to combat the skin-aging threat of blue light (from our devices).
Best Exfoliating Cream: Origins High-Potency Night-a-Mins Resurfacing Cream with Fruit-Derived AHAs
Citric and lactic acid are both found in Origins’ night cream. They dissolve dead skin cells and keep pores from clogging while also promoting smooth skin texture. This product is also terrific against acne and oily skin because of its oil-free recipe.
Best Retinol: Clark’s Botanicals Retinol Rescue Overnight Cream
This night cream sends a double dose of retinol into the skin while you slumber: one is a high-potency form absorbed on contact, while the other releases over time. Along with complexion-brightening vitamin C, this retinol ensures you wake up routinely with firm, clear, and even-toned skin.
Best Eye Cream: epi.logic Eye Contact 360 Night Repair Cream
Powered by collagen-boosting peptides and skin-smoothing vitamin A, this top-tier eye cream targets those fine lines and wrinkles that form around your eyes. It also utilizes moisture-boosting and preserving squalane and hyaluronic acid. Eye creams are far denser and concentrated than standard hydration, which is terrific, seeing how delicate and susceptible the skin is around the eyes.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream
Elemis calls on algae to reduce wrinkles since the ingredient is a super smoother (in addition to boosting moisture levels in the skin). The fragrance-free formula is gentle on sensitive skin, while shea butter and jojoba nourish and soothe simultaneously.
Best for Dry Skin: BeautyStat Cosmetics Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream
The ceramides and hyaluronic acid in BeautyStat’s cream ensure that you’ll never experience unnecessary moisture loss. The ceramides also combat any skin-aging toxins, which in turn fortifies the dermis. By prioritizing moisture retention and maximizing hydration levels, this one significantly slows down those visible signs of aging—chief among them, wrinkles and fine lines.
Best for Combination Skin: Murad Clarifying Oil-Free Water Gel
Combination skin can be tricky to balance since parts of your face are oily and other parts are dry. So, first, use a targeted treatment or toner on the oily parts, and then apply this clarifying, oil-free water gel to your mug for a balanced, unbothered complexion all around. It even combines salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid to help clear pores, smooth skin, and preserve high moisture levels all around the face—no matter its oil levels or lack thereof.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Paula’s Choice CLINICAL 1% Retinol Treatment
Retinol is both a wrinkle reducer and an acne mitigator, so using a potent OTC retinol cream could cover both bases. You could also talk to your board-certified dermatologist to find the best prescription retinol product. We love this clinical strength retinol cream from Paula’s Choice for its clinical-strength powers that border on the potency of a prescription and for utilizing Vitamin C to counter any hyperpigmentation caused by breakouts or the sun.
Best Natural: Naturopathica Argan & Peptide Wrinkle Repair Cream
Enriched with plant stem cells, Naturpathica’s daily hydrator is armed with argan and peptides to soften skin while promoting firmness and collagen production. It wears light and carries a subtle but refreshing citrus scent, too.
OK, so La Mer costs nearly $200 for the smaller bottle, but it makes for a terrific gift to self or for truly investing in your skin’s well-being. However, nothing on this list falls short of keeping your skin firm. Pick Neutrogena if you want a stellar entry-level wrinkle reducer, Paula’s Choice for a retinol-packed and acne-fighting punch, and epi.logic for a targeted fine-line treatment around the eyes. Still, if you want to spoil yourself at some point, everyone deserves at least one deep dive with La Mer; the hype around it is real.
What to Look For When Buying Wrinkle Cream
The Key Ingredients
A good night cream relies on a hero ingredient or two to smooth the skin. These range from wrinkle reducers like retinol, to collagen boosters and enablers like algae extract and peptides, or straight-up collagen itself.
Is It a Day Cream or a Night Cream?
Oftentimes, night creams are more highly concentrated, heavier, or have more active ingredients (like retinol) to sync up with your body’s regenerative cycle and boost efficacy. Many day creams wear lighter, use SPF, and lack ingredients like salicylic acid or retinol since they’re a little too aggressive to wear out while you accumulate sweat, sunshine, and grime. So, plan a 24-hour approach, but keep your day and night creams separate.
Let the Eyes Have It
You ought to keep a separate eye cream, too, due to their high concentration of ingredients (namely peptides when it comes to firming fine lines). Wear them day and night, too, to help wake up the eyes come morning, and to double down on the firming and smoothing while you get some shuteye.
Why Trust Us?
Byrdie contributor Adam Hurly has been covering grooming for nearly 8 years. He began working for Birchbox in 2013, then became a freelance writer/editor in 2016. Since then, he has written for GQ, Men’s Journal, Men’s Health, Esquire, Gear Patrol, Bloomberg, Men’s Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, Forbes...and of course, Byrdie.