We all know that men and women are different, but have you ever wondered if we have different skin? The short answer is no. But the long answer is yes. Let’s clarify a bit.
On the whole, our human skin is very similar regardless of gender. Men and women experience the same internal and external ageing processes. Our skin responds to treatment (or a lack thereof) in much the same way. However, when caring for the male complexion, it’s worth noting that there are a few key differences in the overall function and structure of the skin.
Here’s what you need to know:
Thickness & Texture
No need to grow a thicker skin. One measurable key difference between men and women’s skin is the structure. In fact, dermatologists say a man’s epidermis tends to be about 25% thicker than a woman’s. This is because increases in the hormone testosterone contribute to stimulating epidermal growth.
A man’s skin typically has a rougher texture due to differences in skin composition including larger pores, more dense and coarse facial hair and smaller oil-secreting glands. Regular shaving helps exfoliate the skin and keep it looking smooth but shaving can also cause irritation and lead to ingrown hairs. For this reason, keeping a clean shaving blade and developing proper technique is key.
Oil Production & Hydration
Speaking of oil, another notable difference between a man’s skin and a woman’s is the production of sebum - the oil-like substance your skin makes naturally. Although their oil glands are smaller, men have larger pores and more of them. This combined with higher levels of testosterone post-puberty, means men secrete more oil and tend to have overall oilier complexions.
There are pros and cons to having oily skin. Male skin can be more acne-prone and experience longer-lasting breakouts. However, with proper cleansing and consistent care, oily skin can be easily balanced. It also stays hydrated longer, for an ageing advantage - showing fewer fine lines and wrinkles over time.
Collagen Density & Ageing Processes
As if those extra oil reserves weren’t enough of a boost, a gentleman's skin also has the advantage of having naturally higher collagen density. Collagen is what keeps the skin looking youthful and wrinkle-free, so it’s the stuff you want lots of.
As we age, both men and women will experience a slowdown in collagen synthesis. For men this decline happens steadily and more gradually over time, whereas women tend to hold onto collagen until menopause and then start to experience a rapid loss.
This slow and steady approach to ageing has experts estimating that a woman's skin is about 15 years older than a man of the same age. That’s the good news, guys. The bad news? Because women tend to have better habits around protecting their skin from the sun, accumulated UV damage in men’s skin can speed up premature ageing - thus cancelling out any lead you may have gained.
Do Men Need Different Skin Care?
Although male skin has plenty of unique qualities, none of these exempt men from needing good skincare habits. Building an effective skincare routine and putting it into consistent practice will help balance oily skin, promote healthy ageing and protect the skin from external stressors like UV damage.
To maintain good skin health and keep ageing in check, experts recommend regular cleansing and consistent hydration. (Yes, you still need to moisturise!) Additionally, to keep your skin next-level fresh and looking good, consider treating yourself to the occasional exfoliation or mask treatment. Opt for natural non-toxic ingredients that feed your skin just like the rest of your body.