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This Truly Great Retinol Cream Will Bust Your Wrinkles

Retinol is no fountain of youth, but it is a dermatologist recommended wrinkle buster whose popularity is warranted.

Emma Chao/Courtesy Dermstore; Fatherly; Getty Images
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When it comes to everyday grooming, there’s nothing wrong with a super basic cleanse and moisturizing routine. Even better is a moisturizer with added SPF. But nowadays, more guys are upping their routines even further to include products containing so-called “anti-aging ingredients” like retinol. In fact, a recent survey revealed retinol to be the most popular trend in the beauty and grooming world in 2022 based on Google searches, TikTok views, and Instagram hashtags.

So what’s so great about retinol for men? While as yet there’s no panacea product for the signs of aging, retinol is a close second, thanks to its well-documented ability to lessen the appearance of wrinkles and age-betraying sun damage, help skin appear firmer, and even blur the look of enlarged pores and acne scars. It’s the closest we’ve got to an ingredient that’s capable of “doing it all,” and, in today’s world of men’s skincare that’s more overhyped marketing speak than actual proven results, there’s plenty of research to back up retinol’s benefits.

Plus, it’s easy to use. We suggest starting with a product that was especially formulated for guys seeking a potent anti-aging product that’s no fuss, no muss, like Dr. Dennis Gross Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Intense Wrinkle Cream.

This cream rocks for several reasons. First, it’s loaded with two types of retinol to smooth out wrinkles and help skin to appear brighter and firmer. Second, it also contains bakuchiol, a plant extract commonly known as “phyto-retinol” because of its own skin-smoothing properties. Third, it’s got ferulic acid, an antioxidant that protects skin from free radicals that could otherwise continue to make skin look rough and tired. The icing on the cake is the addition of arnica and centella asiatica, two botanical ingredients that soothe and moisturize skin — a real bonus in a retinol-based product since one of the most common side effects of using retinol is irritation.

Texture-wise, although Dr. Gross Intense Wrinkle Cream feels thick and buttery at first, it goes on surprisingly light and has a nice matte finish. The scent, a subtle citrus, is pleasant and not overpowering. A little goes a long way — a pea-sized amount was more than enough to give a face a healthy looking glow that lasts all day. The main downside about Dr. Dennis Gross is that it’s a bit pricey — some $37 an ounce compared to other brands like Cerave which costs some $27 and ounce. The formula is one-of-a-kind and the lack of harsh side effects makes it worth the investment.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the wrinkle-smoothing magic of retinol takes a few weeks to fully kick in. I noticed my skin looked great almost immediately — it felt softer and smoother after only a few days, but that could be chalked up to the other ingredients. Fast-forward several weeks, and I definitely notice the lines just beneath my eyes are less pronounced and a patch of darker skin on my forehead left over from a bad sunburn a few years back had begun to fade.

How To Properly Use A Retinol Product

  • Start Out Slowly: Retinol has a tendency to cause irritation and skin peeling if used too ambitiously, so if you’re an absolute retinol beginner start by using every other night or every two nights at first, and gradually increasing until your skin builds up a tolerance.
  • Use SPF: Retinol tends to make skin more sensitive to the sun, so if you plan to make a retinol-based product like Dr. Gross Intense Wrinkle Cream part of your daily routine, following it with an SPF product is a must. Otherwise, why go through all that trouble?
  • Alternate with Shaving: This is especially important for retinol newbies—until your skin is able to tolerate a retinol product every day, skip it on shave days or avoid using it immediately after shaving so your skin has some time to recover.
  • Cut Back on Exfoliation: The way retinol works is by prompting the skin to accelerate its natural renewal process, thus pushing fresh skin cells up to the surface faster than usual while shedding the old layer over and over. Therefore, if you’re a regular scrub user, you may want to limit your usage to once a week, even more seldom than that if you’ve got sensitive skin. Otherwise, you could damage your skin’s natural moisture barrier and end up with a condition akin to a full-face razor burn.
  • Don’t Combine with Other Retinol Products: The chances this cream will make your skin look great are high but don’t take that as an invitation to use more retinol-containing products. Dr. Gross Intense Wrinkle Cream has two types of retinol inside that slowly release into the skin, so if you like what it does for you, just stick with it and let it continue working. When it comes to retinol, less is more.