Have you ever noticed a trend in skin care articles when it comes to the audience? Does it seem like they are only addressing one group of people? More often than not, they’re geared towards women. Which leads many to assume men either don’t do as much for their skin, or don’t need to. But just because there’s more information out there for women about their skin care doesn’t mean women are the only ones who actually take care of their skin! Contrary to popular belief, many men take similar steps to take care of their skin. Even more should.
When it comes to skin care recommendations, skin is skin. Products and routines that work well for women work well for men too. But, because men’s skin is different than women’s, not all recommendations work for both sexes. Men have to follow a slightly different routine and use different products to get the most benefit for their skin.
So what is it that makes men’s skin different than women’s? How are their skin care routines different? And what should those skin care routines and products be?
Makeup of Men’s Skin
Look at a man and a woman walking down the street together, and you can see significant differences in their skin. Men’s skin looks coarser, and yet seems to age better than women’s. So why the differences? What is it about men and women’s bodies that makes their skin look so different? The differences between the skin types can be attributed to hormones. What else? While both men and women produce the hormone testosterone, men produce 10 times more than women! And that difference makes all the difference when it comes to comparing men and women’s skin.
Did you know that a man’s skin is about 25 percent thicker than a woman’s? That is a significant difference in thickness, especially when it comes to skin care recommendations. That thickness is created in part by that large production of testosterone, which is a big contributor. But that is about where the differences end. As men age, their skin’s thickness gradually decreases from their 30s on. A woman’s skin remains constant (but always thinner) until she turns about 50.
Collagen is all the rage in the skin care world right now. You can even add collagen supplements to your food! That is because collagen keeps the skin looking young, and keeps those fine lines and wrinkles at bay. When it comes to skin, collagen is where the men have the advantage. Men consistently have higher collagen density (the ratio of collagen to skin thickness) than women, also as a result of different hormone production. It is because of this production that, in theory, men tend to age slower than women. In fact, it has been found that, at the same age, the makeup of a women’s skin is 15 years older than a man’s! Which leads to the logical conclusion that men should be aging more slowly than women. And while this is true to an extent, in practice, many men do not protect their skin by using sunscreen, which significantly reduces that number.
No one can deny the texture differences between the face skin of a man and a woman. Men tend to have a rough texture and a thicker outer layer of skin. Men have larger pores and produce more oil than women, which contributes to longer acne breakouts for men. In fact, it is because of this extra oil production, combined with the different hormones men produce, that cause men to have certain skin conditions that women do not get (such as rhinophyman, an extreme form of rosacea where the nose becomes red and swollen and gets significantly larger pores). All of these contribute to that rough texture so common among men.
While more oil on your skin can often seem like a pain, there is an advantage. For men (or women who have more oily skin), that extra oil helps men’s skin retain moisture. And moisturized skin is one of the best ways to combat aging. Hydrating the skin rejuvenates it and provides the essential nutrients to fight off aging. Of course, men also tend to sweat more, which means their skin is naturally hydrated more often than women.
Differences Between Men’s and Women's Skin Care
Now that we know how men and women’s skin is different, what does that mean for skin care treatments? Are all the skin care recommendations you read about able to be applied across the board? Let’s dig into some of the biggest differences and how skin care for men should be approached.
Have you ever noticed how well men seem to age? It often seems that women’s skin begins to develop fine lines and wrinkles much earlier than men’s. While it is true that men tend to age well, it is in part because of their oil production. As mentioned before, men produce more oil than women. So while their skin stays moisturized, aging well, they often produce more blackheads and have to deal with acne breakouts longer. Men have to focus on oil control more so than women to keep those breakouts in check.
As we learned before, men’s bodies naturally produce more collagen than women’s. Which means that, when it comes to products, men aren’t searching for a collagen booster. While in theory this implies that men may age much slower than women, if they don’t use the proper skin care routine (like protecting skin with sunscreen), that extra collagen may not make a difference. Men have to focus more on protecting their skin, rather than building up its collagen defenses.
If you look up information about exfoliation, it likely tells you to exfoliate two or three times a week to really see a difference in your skin. That direction is for women’s skin. Because men have thicker skin, they can exfoliate every day, whether they use an intense chemical exfoliator or a gentler exfoliator. But don’t get too jealous of those with thicker facial skin – while they can exfoliate every day, it means they have to work harder to remove that dead layer of skin!
The discoloration of the skin (or hyperpigmentation) is not as much of an issue for men. And that is all because of those pesky hormones. Men don’t have the hormones that contribute to that skin color change so many women have to deal with. Lucky them! Which means finding a hyperpigmentation correction product is not as big of a priority for men.
Skin Care Treatments for Men
Now that we understand what makes men’s skin different from women’s, and what the big differences are in the actual skin care treatments, let’s dive into what, exactly, men should do when following a skin care routine. When following the right skin care routine, men will find their skin feeling and appearing younger, more vibrant, and refreshed each day.
Because of that extra oil production, keeping those skin follicles clean is essential. Men should wash their face thoroughly twice a day. While a bar or foaming cleanser may seem more appealing, men should look for a dual-purpose cleansing scrub. This will help to effectively remove any dirt and dead skin cells. Cleansing in the morning removes dull skin.
Exfoliation is not only important for men from an anti-aging perspective (removing all that dead skin also helps to reduce any fine lines or wrinkles), but also when it comes to shaving. When men exfoliate, removing dead skin cells and any other oil buildup, they both open their pores and lift facial hair. This helps to prevent ingrown hairs and cuts while shaving. Exfoliation improves the complexion by both revealing new, healthier skin cells and by keeping skin as smooth as possible post shaving.
When it comes to shaving, keeping the face as smooth as possible is the goal. Which can only be accomplished by selected a good shaving cream. A good shaving cream will leave a man’s skin feeling as though the razor barely touches their face. It should create a comfortable shaving experience, and should leave your skin feeling smooth and undamaged.
Moisturizing is one of the easiest steps to follow, but is often skipped. The reality is, skipping the moisturizing step will only do more harm than good, even with men’s skin. As men age, the skin’s ability to hold moisture the same way it did when it was younger begins to diminish. This we can attribute to that slow reduction in collagen mentioned earlier. Which is why moisturizing is such a simple and essential step. By applying moisturizer, men are applying essential nutrients to their skin, keeping the skin looking supple and glowing. Of course, shaving also leaves skin feeling dry. By moisturizing after shaving, the skin is soothed, helping to reduce any irritation brought on by shaving.
Yes, eye cream is important for both men and women. The age is often judged by the eyes. Which means, if men want to keep that youthful look, then eye cream becomes a necessity for skin care. A good eye cream will stimulate the area around the eyes, which will reduce any puffiness and fluid build-up. Eye creams with caffeine are ideal for men, as the caffeine helps to reduce that puffiness and build-up.
It is found that men are much less likely to wear sunscreen than women. But really, sunscreen should be a no-brainer. Sun exposure is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to signs of aging. By protecting the sensitive skin on the face from the damaging effects of harmful UV rays, the skin looks younger longer.
Cleansing in the morning helps brighten the skin. But cleansing at night is the most important in maintaining healthy looking skin. It both washes off any dirt and grim from the day, and prevents any oil or other impurities from sitting on the skin all night, clogging the pores.
No we’re not talking about muscles toning. We’re talking about skin toning. With a higher propensity for oily skin, men benefit greatly from using a toner. It helps to completely cleanse the skin, removing any impurities left behind after washing. And it helps to fight any oil produced by the skin, thus helping to reduce acne breakouts.
In order to fight the fine lines and wrinkles that inevitably appear for both men and women, applying a Vitamin C serum is the best way to keep those aging signs at bay as long as possible. Serums should be applied twice a day, morning and night. The skin restores and rejuvenates itself at night, and when a powerful anti-aging tool is applied, it works on the skin all night long.
Yes, we recommended using an eye cream in the morning to help brighten the skin around the eyes. But using one at night, especially one with retinol, will go far in repairing those fine lines that appear around the eyes. Keeping the skin around the eyes looking young goes a long way in slowing the anti-aging process.
A serum can work wonders on the skin at night. But adding a retinol night cream will provide an even more effective tool for men to keep their skin looking young and healthy. A hydrating cream deeply moisturizes the skin while locking in any anti-aging products, helping to revitalize the skin all night long.
For even more tips, check out these Skin Care Tips for Men from the American Academy of Dermatology.
So, do men need less skin care than women? Absolutely not! While men should approach their skin care differently than women, they should put just as much effort into taking care of it. By taking care of their skin in a way that targets their specific skin care needs, men will age gracefully and will keep their skin as healthy as possible. Isn’t that what we all want?