Mens skin care is a subject of much curiosity. Anyone who has ever wandered the skin care aisle at their local pharmacy or grocery store has no doubt noticed a tremendous amount of products geared toward women and considerably fewer that are specifically designed for men. Which brings up the obvious question: Is there really a difference or can’t we all just use the same skin care product? After all, skin is skin…right?
Wrong. While we do share many of the same basic skin related concerns, including acne, sun damage, drying and wrinkling, there are some very distinct differences between men’s and women’s skin and that means the approach to skin care needs to be different as well.
The basic areas of difference are thickness, collagen content, texture and hydration. Each of these plays a very real part in mens skin care and that’s why products targeting men can be so different. It’s not just about packaging or scent; often it is the content and what a particular product is intended to do that makes the difference. Men need some very specific types of protection and treatment for their skin and men’s products are developed with this in mind.
First and foremost, men tend to have thicker skin than women, as much as 25% thicker, thanks to the abundance of testosterone in their systems. A man’s skin will also thin gradually as he ages, whereas women’s skin tends to remain the same thickness until she reaches menopause, when it will begin to thin significantly. This difference in thickness can affect how an individual displays the outward signs of aging. The more gradual the thinning, the less the skin will appear to age.
Signs of aging can also be affected by collagen density. Collagen is the substance that gives our skin elasticity and suppleness. Again, men seem to have won the genetic lottery on this count, having a significantly higher collagen density than women. This is why it is often said that a woman can look as much as 15 years old than a man of the same age. While they may have more collagen, though, men also tend to spend more time exposed to the sun and don’t use sunscreen as often, which tends to balance out those aging effects, making them less noticable.
The texture of the skin can play a significant role in mens skin care. Because men’s skin tends to be rougher, it can withstand more abuse on a daily basis. At the same time, men tend to produce more sebum, or oil, than women, which makes them more prone to acne. For this reason, acne fighting ingredients are a large factor in men’s skin care products, where women lean more heavily towards moisturizers and products that protect delicate skin.
Hydration is another area where the sexes vary greatly. Men tend to sweat more than women, but fortunately for them they also produce more lactic acid in their sweat, which acts as a natural humectant, protecting the skin from drying out. This is another reason that men aren’t as prone to using moisturizers as they seem to get all of the moisture they need naturally, which is good since daily shaving, another reality of life for men, can take a toll on the skin if it’s not properly moisturized.
So now you can begin to see why mens skin care is so very different from women’s. It’s not just that men don’t care about organic ingredients or like delicate scents, there are very real biological reasons why a man’s skin needs specific treatment. So the bottom line is that you can’t necessarily assume that you can share skin care products. Men and women are built differently and so is their skin, so you need to give your skin the treatment it deserves in order to keep it healthy and vibrant throughout your life.