Best Retinol For Men 2023

What is Retinol and Should You Use It?

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Why Use Retinol For Men?

Thankfully it's become more normal for men to moisturize, it used to be something that men would shy away from with the exception of a post shaving cream, which was largely alcohol based and in many cases probably did more harm for your skin than any good. The best thing any man can do, to keep his skin looking good is to start moisturizing early, and the younger you start, the better it works[1]. 

If you're reading this mind, the odds are that you already know that moisturizing is a good idea, and you're looking for something with retinol specifically, knowing that it's the most potent ingredient currently available for delaying the ageing process.

The problem of course being that, much like the argon oil trend a few years ago, many of the mens retinol moisturizers on the market, only contain a tiny drop of the ingredient, and not enough to actually be effective. Realistically it's not going to turn back the clock all that much, but using retinol cream can substantially slow the ageing process meaning that you can keep your skin looking good for longer.

Typically speaking men's skin can tolerate (and needs) a higher volume of retinol than women's skin initially, over time higher concentration can be used, but you shouldn't start with the strongest retinol creams available, side effects are unlikely to be particularly bad, but it won't do your face any good and could result in inflammation or irritation.


Liomen - Best Retinol Cream Overall

Dennis Gross - Best Retinol Eye Cream For Men

BP Vitamin C
- Best Nightime Retinol Cream For Men

Sunday Riley A+
- Best High Concentration Retinol For Men

Murad Retinol- Best Retinol For Men With Sensitive Skin

How Does Retinol Cream For Men Work?

Retinol belongs to a class of compounds called retinoids, which are derived from vitamin A. Unlike other skincare products that primarily focus on removing dead skin cells, retinol works differently. Its small molecules penetrate deep into the middle layer of the skin, known as the dermis, where they neutralize harmful free radicals. This process stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, resulting in a "plumping" effect that can reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and enlarged pores. Typically due to differences between men and womens skin, men need slightly stronger concentrations of retinoids than women.

Retinoids thin the skin for the short term, but promote new skin production and thicken it over time. They encourage new skin cells to grow at a faster rate. As men's skin cells as typically more compacted than women's a higher volume is needed to function, but for most people. the highest concentration creams will still be too strong to start with. They're particularly effective at dealing with dark spots and fine lines.

Retinol FAQ

What Is Retinol? What Do You Need To Know?

Is Retinol Clinically Proven?

Yes, retinoids are proven to work[3], the strongest variations cause slightly too much discomfort to be used on the mass market, but the retinoids in consumer products are more than effective enough to have anti wrinkle effects. It's also been shown to be even more effective when combined with some other skincare ingredients to enhance its effects. One popular combination is retinol and alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), such as glycolic and citric acids. AHAs provide additional exfoliation and anti-aging benefits, further improving skin texture and appearance.

Does Retinol Work For Oily Skin?

Retinol products can be used with any skin type depending on the concentration and other ingredients.

Does Retinol Smooth Fine Lines?

Yes retinol is one of very few ways that we can stimulate collagen production as we age[2], it also increases blood flow to the skin and increases skin cell turnover, resulting in noticeable reduction of small wrinkles. It is not strong enough to reduce deep links, but will smooth out surface level issues.

Does Retinol Work For Crow's Feet?

The strongest retinol creams will reduce crow's feet, however, a general retinol product, will have some effect, but it is better to get specially formulated creams for around the eyes. These typically contain other moisturizing ingredients, that are not harmful to have near your eyes.

Does Retinol Have Side Effects?

Yes, using too strong a retinol cream early on will result in a rash, retinol is relatively abrasive to the skin, and until your cell turnover has improved after exposure irritation is common. However, other than that initial period it's unlikely to be an issue. In fact if there is no irritation at all there is a reasonable chance that the cream you are using is too weak. You should probably feel a very mild irritation for the first week, any noticeable discomfort however means your retinol products are too strong or another ingredient is causing irritation.

Can Retinol Help Acne?

Retinol can help treat acne, as well as acne scarring[4], both sunken and raised scars. .It effects both the surface and middle layers of the skin smoothing scars and unclogging pores.

Can you put moisturizer over retinol?

Yes, it is recommended to apply moisturizer after retinol. Allow a few minutes for the retinol to absorb into the skin before applying moisturizer

Best Retinol Cream For Men Overall - Liomen

Liomen is one of very few brands dedicated solely to producing retinol creams for men. They're a relatively new brand, but the ingredients list is solid, and the initial reviews are fantastic. Our tests were positive, and it's become the go to product for several of the staff at Center TRT. 

Liomen has a concentration that's designed for mens skin, whereas some of the creams on this list are predominantly aimed at women (they just happen to be better than most of the mens options at the moment). 

Liomen scored top in improvements to skin's surface, reduction of razor bumps, improvements to pores and overall wrinkle reduction. As a replacement to a normal daily moisturizer there is no contest, although as with all retinol creams it will take your skin a week or two before it has adjusted. 


Liomen also contains hyaluronic acid, this works synergistically with retinol and using them together is often seen as the gold standard for any skincare routine, retinol stimulates your body's natural production of hyaluronic acid, but adding it externally will help dramatically improve skin texture. It also contains various minerals and vitamins, that do have minor beneficial effects with the two most notable being Vitamin E, which minimises skin greying (the thing that makes you look tired), and aloe vera, which is effective and moisturizing, which you'd expect from any skin cream. 

When it comes to retinol for men, Liomen should be everyone's go to moisturizer, it's got everything you need, it's good for the whole face, and is by far the best new product to hit the market for some time. Go with Liomen, add it to your morning routine and thank us later.

Criteria Rating
Moisturizing 10/10
Fine Lines 10/10
Deep Wrinkles 8/10
Dark Spots 10/10
Value 9/10
Recommended 9.5/10
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1 - - Biophysical assessment of persistent effects of moisturizers after their daily applications

2 - - Retinoids: active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic and dermatological treatments

3 - Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety

4 - - Why Topical Retinoids Are Mainstay of Therapy for Acne

5 - - Ferulic Acid: Therapeutic Potential Through Its Antioxidant Property

6 - - Ferulic acid stabilizes a solution of vitamins C and E and doubles its photoprotection of skin