Skin Conditions | Skin Care | Men's Skincare

8 Reasons why Mens Skin Care is Different to Womens

It’s true skin is skin no matter how you identify.

However, there are a few striking differences between male and female skin.

This is mainly due to our inherent physiological differences.

Let’s take a look at what makes us different.

Mens Skin Care

It’s truly wonderful to witness the modern man’s meticulous grooming habits.

While the allure of women’s products often captivated us with their time-defying lavender-infused luxury, men’s skin care routines take on a different tone.

Suddenly, we immerse ourselves in vigorous scrubbing, power washing, and turbo-charging our skincare regimen.

But anyway, you lather it (excuse the pun) when exploring men’s products; you are usually in for maximum strength, “woody,” and even “deeply penetrating” luxe good time.

These formulations are tailored specifically to cater to the unique needs of men’s skin.

For those curious about the experience of being a contemporary man in the bathroom—beyond the realm of rich scents and deep-blue aesthetics—our article on men’s skincare products offers some valuable insights.

Decoding Women’s vs Men’s Skin Care

Understanding skin biology and gender-specific disparities is important to unravelling the skincare needs of the modern metro man.

Understanding these differences can help you effectively tailor your skincare routine for optimal results.

Testosterone and Hormones

When looking at men’s skin care, it’s essential to understand the science of skin, which differs from women’s.

Our skin plays a pivotal role in showcasing our unique biology. It all starts with the hormones that kick into high gear during puberty, and these sex hormones create distinct changes in the skin.

There is not just a distant memory from your temperamental teenage years; hormones rule the roost when determining your skin’s anatomy during adulthood.

Most of the physiological differences between men’s and women’s skin can be blamed on differences in hormone levels; testosterone, the male hormone, directly influences skin structure and how men are different from women.

Men are ruled by testosterone, a sex hormone synthesised in the testes and the adrenal cortex, which also occurs in women in the ovaries.

Testosterone is converted to dehydro testosterone (DHT) by the enzyme 5-alpha reductase. Estrogen and progesterone are synthesised in the ovaries in women and play a huge part in women’s hormone regulation.

In males, testosterone and DHT wield overall power over hormone receptors in the skin, which control sebum secretion, sweat production, hair growth, and other factors.

It also influences collagen production and skin thickness, which explains why men’s skin can be up to 15-20% thicker than women’s. This increased thickness is attributed to higher collagen fibre content, giving men’s skin a firmer and more robust appearance.

Collagen is the skin’s main moisture reserve, contributing to its tautness and elasticity. These natural moisture stores help keep men’s skin relatively wrinkle-free, particularly until their mid-30s.

Male oil levels stay pretty constant throughout their lives, while women’s oil levels vary short-term, which is influenced by ovulation cycles (1), and long-term, it can cause oil levels to decrease with age.

This is why post-menopausal women find their skin produces much less sebum, which can lead to dryness issues.

Let’s look at how women’s and men’s skin differs physiologically…

Why Men’s Skin Care is Different

1. Higher Risk for Irritation

Shaving, a common practice among men, can cause skin irritation due to friction and removal of the skin’s top layer. Dull razors and poor hygiene practices can exacerbate these issues, potentially leading to infections.

2. Higher Oil Levels

Higher oil production, driven by testosterone, leads to increased sebum levels in men compared to women. Excess sebum can clog pores and contribute to acne formation. This study (2) shows that men can have up to four times more sebum in their skin than women.

3. Pore Problems

Men tend to have larger pores than women, resulting in more noticeable skin texture and an increased risk of issues like acne.

4. Earlier Decline in Collagen

Collagen production, crucial for skin firmness, declines with age for both genders. However, men experience a steady decline throughout adulthood, while women maintain higher collagen levels until menopause, after which collagen loss accelerates, leading to thinner and sagging skin.

5. Thicker Skin

Men’s skin is naturally thicker, particularly in the dermis layer, which is about 20% thicker than women’s. This thickness variation contributes to differences in wrinkle formation, with men typically experiencing fewer superficial lines, but this tends to make them more prone to deep wrinkles from repetitive facial expressions.

6. Slower wound healing

Studies suggest that men have a slower wound-healing process compared to women; this is possibly due to differences in inflammatory responses and hormonal influences. Estrogen, for instance, has been shown to accelerate wound healing by promoting collagen production and reducing inflammation.

7. Sweat production

Sweat glands, particularly eccrine glands, regulate body temperature through perspiration. Men typically have a higher density of sweat glands compared to women. This higher density and potentially higher testosterone levels may increase men’s sweat production.

8. Hair growth

A significant difference between women’s and men’s skin care is the presence of facial hair.

Most facial hair growth is due to testosterone androgens, including testosterone and DHT, which stimulate hair growth in areas such as the face, chest, and back.

Men generally have more terminal hair (thicker, darker hair) in these areas compared to women, mainly due to the effects of androgens on hair follicles.

Understanding Your Skin Type

Besides these underlying conditions, it is also essential to understand your skin type. This is an important starting point for skincare beginners and will help guide your product choices.

It’s worth noting that using products designed for different skin types is possible, but understanding your skin type provides a solid foundation.

The primary skin types are normal, oily, dry, combination, and sensitive. We good folks here at NC, have put together this article to help you determine your skin type.

To conclude. The naked truth

As we conclude our examination of women’s and men’s skincare, it’s apparent that our dermal landscape is shaped by several physiological differences, highlighting the unique characteristics of each gender’s skin.

Testosterone influences men’s skin care, and they often face challenges such as increased oil production, larger pores, and a thicker dermis layer.

While these factors contribute to certain advantages, like delayed wrinkle formation, they pose potential concerns, such as acne susceptibility and slower wound healing rates. On the other hand, women’s skin is influenced by estrogen, progesterone, and menopause and tends to be thinner and more dry.

By understanding and appreciating these distinctions, men are better positioned to tailor their skin care regime to effectively address specific needs.

Whether adapting to the demands of frequent shaving or mitigating the effects of fluctuating hormone levels, having a personalised skincare approach can empower men to navigate their unique dermal landscape confidently.

This understanding also helps to foster a culture of inclusivity within the skincare community, where individuals of all genders feel represented and valued— one that embraces individuality and prioritises the well-being of every skin type.

References

[1] M. Roh et al, Sebum output as a factor contributing to the size of facial pores, British Journal of Dermatology, 2006, 155(5), pp 890-894

[2] U. Jacobi et al, Gender-related differences in the physiology of the stratum corneum, Dermatology, 2005, 211(4), pp 312-317

 

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