Men are from Mars and women are from…well, you know the story.
But is it the same when it comes to our skin? And why should we care?
Well, there is the “sharing products” thing. Is your body wash okay for your husband to use? Should you both be moisturizing with a night cream? What about acne, aging, and shaving?
We decided to dig into it and give you some answers.
How the Skin is Different in Men and Women
First of all, the basic question: are they different?
The short answer is, “yes.” In general:
- Thickness: A man’s skin is about 25 percent thicker than a woman’s.
- Thinning: A man’s skin will thin gradually with age, whereas a woman’s will remain constant until after menopause when it will suddenly thin significantly and then continue as she ages.
- Collagen: Men have a higher collagen density than women—meaning there’s more collagen per square inch of skin, making the skin stronger and more resistant to aging. In general, men’s skin appears to age more slowly than women’s for this reason, though sun exposure can affect that.
- Texture: The texture of a man’s skin is rougher, and the outer layer is thicker.
- Sebum: In general, sebum (skin oil) production is greater in men after puberty, which is why men may have a greater struggle with acne.
- Sweat: Men sweat more than twice as much as women and are more prone to sweating. This results in a male’s skin appearing more hydrated than a woman’s.
- Shaving sensitivities: Because men shave so often, they can develop sensitive skin on their faces, requiring more careful treatment.
- Aging issues: Aging appears to affect male skin later in life. When it does, common issues include sagging, puffy eyes, and dark circles. Men have fewer fine lines than women, but when wrinkles form, they tend to be deeper grooves, particularly along expression lines.
- Cancer: Men are more likely to die of melanoma—the most serious type of skin cancer—than women are. By the age of 50, they are also more likely to develop melanoma in the first place. By the age of 65, men are 2 times as likely to get it. Part of the problem is that many men don’t protect their skin from the sun, but it’s also true that men’s skin is more likely to be damaged by the sun’s UV rays.
Considering these differences, should men be caring for their skin differently than women?
How Men’s Skin Care Differs from Women’s
The basics of good skin care are the same for both men and women. Both need to cleanse, tone, and moisturize twice a day, as well as protect against skin cancer. But there are key differences men may want to pay attention to.
1. Protect from the Sun!
Since men are more at risk for deadly skin cancer, they need to step up their sun protection. Sunscreens can reduce the risk by up to 50 percent, but it’s important to wear hats and long-sleeved shirts and pants, as well, particularly if you are out in during peak hours.
The main objective is to avoid getting burned. Both men and women need to watch out for this, but men in particular need to have a better understanding of their risk.
2. Protect When Shaving
Consistent shaving takes off the very thin top layer of skin. This acts as a form of exfoliation, which can help encourage cell turnover but can also lead to sensitivity. If the skin is getting red and irritated from shaving, follow these steps:
- Always soak the skin in warm water first.
- Apply a little oil under your shaving cream—try jojoba, coconut, or almond.
- Use a rich, lathering cream that will protect your skin.
- Use a quality razor, and throw it out after 5-10 shaves. If your skin starts getting irritated, that’s a sign it’s time for a new razor.
- Shave with the hair growth and lighten up on your pressure.
- Follow with an anti-inflammatory and fuss-free spray, like our Rescue + Relief Spray.
- Moisture after every shave, no exceptions!
3. Treat Acne Constantly
A man prone to acne needs to stay on top of it with consistent care. Men’s pores are typically larger and can more easily become clogged. Try these tips:
- Keep the skin clean. Wash a few times a day if you need to. Use a gentle, creamy cleanser that won’t dry out your skin. Always moisturize afterward. Dry skin reacts by producing more oil.
- Use salicylic acid. Look for a cleanser or moisturizer (or both) with salicylic acid in it. It’s proven to help fight acne and can keep your skin pimple-free. Use it as needed.
- Keep your hands away from your face. Oils on your fingers and palms can very quickly transfer to pimples on your face.
- Use a cleansing brush. A cleansing brush for your face and/or body can be very effective at cleansing pores. If you have acne on your back, a brush can be a life-changer. Go gentle, though—brushes that are too rough or stiff can cause damage and redness, sometimes leading to more acne.
- Disinfect your razor. Razors can harbor bacteria that can then be redeposited back on your face. Store your razor in a dry place (not in the shower) and after each use, dunk it into rubbing alcohol to clear away any germs.
- Exfoliate: Using gentle acids like glycolic and lactic can help improve your shaving experience and reduce the appearance of pores. Use gentle exfoliating serums once or twice a week.
4. Moisturize As Needed
Men generally produce more sebum than women, so they don’t usually need as thick a moisturizer as women do. They do still need moisture, however, particularly after shaving and showering.
Choose a light, fragrance-free moisturizer with anti-inflammatory ingredients to help deter acne. We’d recommend our Body Repair Lotion and Calming Moisture for the Face, Neck, and Scalp. They both have anti-inflammatory ingredients and natural oils so they won’t clog pores. Our Calming Moisture has oat extract too, which can help soothe sensitive skin and prevent itch after shaving.