There is no denying that men's skin care is a subject that is filled with curiosity. Is a man's skin the same as women? Do they use the same skin care products? These are some of the questions that remain baffling to many people. Beauty companies have also not made it any easier as they seem to focus more on women’s cosmetics than that of men. Walk into any skincare aisle, and you shall see that most of the products are geared towards women rather than men. This brings us to this intriguing question, is men’s skin different than that of women?
Yes. Yes indeed. But this doesn’t answer the question of why the cosmetic world is clogged with women cosmetics that that of me. The answer to this may be because women are more beauty conscious than men. You hardly see men wear makeup or apply moisturizers before they hit outdoors. However, if you asked people what the difference is, they will quickly tell you the obvious distinction is that a man has the ability to grow a beard or that they are generally hairier than women. You may be forgiven if you think that is the only difference as most of the other differences are from a structural point of view (which makes it less palpable to see with the naked eye). Below is a more detailed breakdown of those differences:
From a superficial perspective, it is evident that the texture of a man's skin is unlike that of a woman. A man's texture is rougher, and his Stratum Corneum (outermost layer of the skin) tends to be thicker. Sebum production and composition also vary with gender; men produce more after puberty than women. This can be ascribed to the fact that the sebaceous glands cells of a man have more receptors for androgen secretion which results in higher production of sebum (1). This assertion can also be used to explain why men have a longer lasting acne and impurities than women. Men also have also more skin pores (which are larger) than women due to the numerous sebaceous glands. With the sebum production being double that of women, it is therefore not surprising that a man's skin is oilier and shinier. This aspect makes females more susceptible to dry skin than their male counterparts.
Thickness of the skin
A human’s skin thickness varies with sex, age and the region of stay (due to weather). Nonetheless, the hormone testosterone makes the skin of a man thicker than their female counterparts. Testosterone is the key male sex hormone and plays a key role in the development of the male reproductive system. Moreover, it plays a major role in stimulating secondary sexual physiognomies such as increased growth of body hair as well as muscle and bone mass. This hormone makes a man’s skin 25% thicker than that of women.
Thinning of skin in a man occurs gradually with age while in a woman, it remains constant until after menopause where it dramatically thins as the years roll by. Also, the thinning effects will be more profound in women than in men at that time. Reports also show that men also have a higher skin surface than female (2).
Loss of Collagen
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body tendons, muscles, bones, muscles, and essentially for this article, the skin. The collagen density of men is higher than that of women (regardless of age) (3), an aspect that determines the thickness of the skin. The collagen content of the skin plays a big role in the physical aging signs such as loosening of skin, laxity, and formation of wrinkles. Although aging signs in men occur later after those of women, those changes occur more quickly the moment they start to show. For instance, men's wrinkles take long before they occur but the moment they do, they tend to be fully grooved.
What’s more, a person loses about one percent of collagen content from 30 years on, regardless of their gender. However, there is a big skin difference after that for women as the collagen level escalates dramatically after menopause while that of men remains constant throughout. After around five years after menopause, the rate of collagen loss slows down to 2% yearly.
As mentioned earlier, men have more facial hairs than women, an aspect that makes them secrete more sweat (2). However, a surprising fact, even though men lose water more through sweating their skin appears to be more hydrated than that of women. That’s why men rarely need a hydrating moisturizer. This level of tissue hydration in men can be attributed to the production of lactic acid and the intense sweating (natural humectant).
Stressing of skin
Most men tend to undergo around 16000 shaves in a lifetime. The regular shaving makes a man's facial skin more stressed than that of a woman. Besides, shaving removes the uppermost layer of skin cells making it more sensitive to external factors and more reactive than that of women. This aspect can be attributed to the fact that around 40% of men have suffered from shaving-related skin problems at least once in their lifetime as shaving stresses the skin.
Why Do Men Require Nutrition to Maintain Their Skin?
Do men need different skin care products than that of women? Absolutely not. Despite the above differences between a man and a woman’s skin, no one can refute that men can suffer the same skin diseases as women—and most would argue that they are at greater risk than women! This is why…
Men carry out approximately 70% of the outside work and, therefore, they are directly exposed to humongous amounts of UV radiations every day. Sadly, unlike women, men do not wear makeups or moisturizers and therefore are more susceptible to more UVA and UVB damages.
Studies have also shown that men are much less likely to eat veggies than women and have a negative attitude about the value of eating fruits and vegetables. In most cases, men would rather go for a bloody steak than seek cabbages, broccoli, kales, etc. Therefore, unlike women, men obtain fewer antioxidants from veggies and fruits that are responsible for maintaining the health of their skin. It has also been noted that men take less nutritional supplements compared to women, and tend to suffer more from nutritional imbalance.
So, this goes without saying that, men also need essential nutrients for their skin. As Doris Day, MD, a dermatologist and the author of the book Forget the Facelift, states "The beauty of the skin is that you can affect it from both inside and out" it is important for men to nourish theirs with everyday nutrients. Foods that are rich in antioxidants such as vitamins A, B, C, E, and D, as well as minerals such as Zinc and Selenium, can be wholesome for men and women’s skin alike.