Nothing illustrates the difference between men and women better than the title of a famous book – ‘Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus.’ While we all know the stereotypical differences between the two sexes, there are many who wonder if skin care is also different for men and women. Many men consider special male skincare products as a marketing gimmick and prefer to borrow products from their wives and girlfriends.
But there is a reason why most skincare brands are coming up with a special range of male products and that is because - men’s skin is very different from women’s.
The difference between male and female skin
To understand why men need products developed especially for them, it is important to understand how male skin differs from female skin. Here are some prominent differences:
Size of oil glands
While women have bigger a sebaceous or oil glands in their skin, men have smaller glands. When you apply any skincare product, the active ingredients are absorbed in the oil glands. Since these glands are smaller in men, many products that are formulated especially for female skin will not be properly absorbed by male skin.
Amount of oil secretion
Men tend to have more oily skin compared to women. Although oil glands in men’s skin are smaller, it is the high level of male hormone testosterone that makes men skin oilier. Compared to men, even women with oily skin have less oil secretion and most female skin care products are formulated to deal with limited oil secretion only. Men need products that can control even high oil production to fight acne and other blemishes.
The structural difference between a man’s skin and a woman’s is huge because of the skin thickness. A man’s skin is 25% thicker than a woman’s skin. Testosterone in men increases the skin thickness and makes it tougher. Using products that reach deeper in the skin might help men keep their skin healthy. A man’s skin thins gradually with age, but thickness of a woman’s skin remains constant till 50 and only starts to thin after menopause.
Think women age faster than men? There’s a reason. Women have a lower collagen density than men. Collagen density is basically the ratio of collagen to the thickness of the skin. The amount of collagen decreases faster in women than in men. And as we know that signs of ageing, such as wrinkles and laxity to the tissue, are closely related to the collagen content of the skin. Women with a similar history of sun exposure and stress to men, appear older than men of the same age.
Male skin sweats more than female skin. In fact males have more Lactic Acid in their sweat, which lowers the pH level (.05 lower) when compared to female sweat. Also, male skin has better water retention quality than female skin and this is why male skin appears to be better hydrated than women’s.
Male skincare VS Female skincare
Although there are many differences between male and female skin, the key to healthy skin remains the same – cleansing, toning, exfoliating, moisturising and protecting skin from sun damage. If you are doing all these properly with the right products, you can easily get healthy skin and stay away from skin problems.
Regardless of gender, it is essential to use products that are suitable for your skin type. It is also essential to check the ingredients before buying a particular product as some ingredients are hormonally active and can be linked to male reproductive system disorders. For instance, it has been found that phthalates are linked with altered hormone levels in men and can cause sperm damage. So, men must stay away from products containing phthalates.
The bottom line is while using a good quality product (either men or women) formulated for your skin type won’t cause any serious harm to your skin, it is always better to use products that are specially made for you.
Read more on skin care tips for men here.