Newsflash: just saying you’re going to age just like George Clooney doesn’t mean it’s actually going to happen. As well as genetics (plus not having Hollywood dermatologists on speed dial), there’s the small matter of your lifestyle unknowingly making you look older than your years.
Not bothered about crepe paper skin setting in? Guys might say they’re not fussed about the odd wrinkle or furrowed brow, but stats say otherwise. One fifth of UK men aged 16-34 are armed with specific anti-ageing products on their bathroom shelf – so says Mintel’s 2017 Anti-Aging survey.
Not shampooing and conditioning your hair regularly can exacerbate hair loss
And with guys now caring how their skin’s going to fare in old age, more anti-ageing skincare has launched in the grooming aisles specifically geared towards men. The biggest boom? Male toiletries -which includes men’s skin and hair care products – is expected to outpace that of shaving products and fragrances, projected to reach $60.7 billion by 2020, according to Euromonitor – an almost 250% increase since 2015.
“A guy’s skin is around 20% thicker than a woman’s and is rich in collagen and elastin, which gives it an advantage in the ageing process. However, it’s oilier, has a tendency to sweat more, and is prone to dehydration due to shaving,” says Lesley Reynolds, co-founder of Harley Street Skin Clinic.
If the days of being ID’d for a beer run feel like a distant memory, we’ve got the lowdown on how to step up your anti-ageing game – without calling Clooney’s dermatologist.
The Soap Junkie
Soap has its place in the bathroom sink – but not on your face. It’s the laziest (and harshest) way to keep your skin squeaky clean.
“Don’t use soap, or shower gel, or even shampoo to wash your face,” advises Louise Thomas, skin health therapist. “Many of my male clients tend to do this – and even shave with them – then wonder why their skin is so dry!
Use a dedicated face wash… and pat your skin dry, don’t rub
“They are all very alkaline products that strip the skin’s lipid barrier, which leads to water loss, dryness and can make any lines or wrinkles appear worse.”
Anti-Ageing Fix: Upgrade. A dedicated face wash is the no-fuss way to cleanse your skin. Aim to use one morning and night and always pat your skin dry, don’t rub.
The Aftershave Addict
If a woman can identify your aftershave from 10 paces, you’ve probably gone too far. Overloading on cologne won’t age you, but where you apply it is important, according to Thomas.
Apply your scent to your pulse points instead of your face
“Never apply aftershave directly to your face,” she says. “Contrary to the clichéd fragrance ads, it’s never a good idea to use highly perfumed products on your face and neck because they’re high in alcohol, which is super-drying for your skin.” Fact: nobody wants a turkey neck, no matter how good you smell.
Anti-Ageing Fix: Apply your scent to your pulse points instead, aka the inner wrists, inner elbows and behind your ear lobes. These spots all emanate heat so as your wear your cologne through the day it reacts with your body heat and emits your signature scent.
The City Slicker
Skincare’s latest obsession? Anti-pollution. Yep, turns out living in the smog can actually age you. Factor in other external aggressors/addictions like smoking and UV radiation and city dwellers get a raw deal.
If you’re in a big city, live and work as far away from a main road as possible
“Air pollution can prematurely age you by 10 years,” says Dr. Daniel Glass, leading Harley Street dermatologist. “Increased exposure to air pollutant particles can escalate the loss of the skin’s collagen and elasticity.
“If you’re in a big city, live and work as far away from a main road as possible and try and take the metro less – [underground transport] is much more polluted than traveling by bus, car or train.”
Anti-Ageing Fix: Okay, moving out into the sticks for some country air is an extreme measure but you can take preventative action via your skincare (yes, really). Look for anti-pollution skincare so you get daily defence against the grime from your moisturizer.
The Sunscreen Shirker
You don’t have to wait until your annual vacation to slather on the SPF. Guys are way more likely than women to never use sun protection. A shocking 43.8% of American men admitted they don’t use any sunscreen on their face (compared to 27% of women), according to research by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
UV rays are undoubtedly the biggest cause of skin ageing
“Yes, it’s true that men generally age better than women but that’s no excuse not to slap on the sunscreen,” says Thomas. “It’s not only dangerous from a skin cancer perspective but UV rays are undoubtedly the biggest cause of skin ageing.”
Anti-Ageing Fix: If you know you’re crap at applying SPF, find a daily moisturizer that contains SPF25 minimum and apply generously first thing every morning to get your hydration and UVA/UVB protection ticked off in one product.
The Shampoo Dodger
Skipping hair in your daily shower routine? Don’t. Turns out not shampooing and conditioning your hair regularly can exacerbate hair loss, according to Lloyd Hughes, creative director at men-ü.
Excess oil strangles hair when it goes through its growth cycle
“Keep your scalp as clean and fresh as possible, even if you have to wash it twice a day – do it. It won’t cure hair loss, but it does slow it down,” he explains.
“Excess oil strangles hair when it goes through its growth cycle. Shampoo opens the cuticle which protects the hair – if your cuticle is left open this weakens the hair shaft and the hair snaps off quicker.”
Anti-Ageing Fix: If hair loss is concerning you, use a thickening shampoo to a) cleanse your scalp and b) add a bit of density. Always condition your hair afterwards to close the cuticles.
The Party Animal
Liable of snoring through five snooze buttons before you wake up? If too many all-nighters have turned you into a sleep-deprived zombie, it’s not just eye bags you need to worry about. Lack of sleep leads to a spike in the stress hormone, cortisol.
Sleep deprivation speeds up the ageing process
“Elevated levels of cortisol can cause increased inflammation in the body, damaging your skin’s quality,” says Fatma Shaheen, founder of Skin Design London. “Sleep deprivation speeds up the ageing process but also reduces the skin’s ability to recover from sun damage.”
Factor in sunburn and a sleepless night in Ibiza and you’ve got a double hit of dehydrated man skin.
Anti-Ageing Fix: Pull down that blackout blind and get a decent night’s kip. Use a hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid before bed to help repair your skin as you sleep.
The Dodgy Haircut
It’s easy to get stuck in the same short-back-and-sides-please haircut routine every three weeks. But what if your on-repeat hairstyle is doing you no favors?
Avoid bangs and go for subtle layers that suit your face
“A fresh trim can genuinely knock a few years off your age,” advises Nick Gibbens, male grooming expert at The Bluebeards Revenge.
“The easiest way to freshen up your look and get a more youthful looking appearance is to go for a more stylish and modern haircut. If you want to look younger, avoid keeping hair extra-long, or having it too short.”
Anti-Ageing Fix: Avoid bangs and go for subtle layers that suit your face instead. If you’re clueless, a good barber can advise you on the most flattering haircut for your hair type and face shape.
The Moisturizer Drout
You can’t skip moisturizer completely and expect your skin to be as baby-faced as Justin Bieber.
One of the biggest mistakes men make is not using a moisturizer daily and just whacking on some cream when their face feels drier than the Sahara.
Make sure your man moisturizer actually does something
“Guys tend to skip the moisturizer step in their grooming routine thinking that their skin can take care of itself. It can’t,” Gibbens says. “As you get older, your skin slowly loses its suppleness, so applying moisturizer regularly will keep it hydrated and make your skin look fresher and healthier.”
Anti-Ageing Fix: Make sure your man moisturizer actually does something. Opt for a daily face-specific hydrator with anti-inflammatory hero ingredients like Allantoin and vitamin E.
The Steak Supper
Okay, the odd T-bone steak isn’t going to make a visible difference to your face, but excess meat won’t do your skin (or gut) any favors.
Increase your intake of healthy foods to give your skin a pick-me-up
“Meat, dairy and processed foods cause inflammation in the body, which will age you faster,” says facialist Debbie Thomas. “Also, not eating enough fresh fruit and vegetables is another major diet ager because the oxidants from these food types ward off oxidative damage.” Word from the wise: eat your greens.
Anti-Ageing Fix: Give your shopping basket an overhaul. Try and reduce how many animal-based products you’re eating in an average week. There’s no need to go vegan but increasing your intake of nuts, beans, legumes, grains and veg will give drab skin a pick-me-up.