Understanding skin – How does male and female skin differ?
Men want their skin to look and feel healthy. Just like women, they deal with issues such as skin sensitivity, acne and ageing, but skin varies according to gender. Male skin – on both the face and the body - has some features that differ from female skin and, with regular shaving, it is often treated differently too. Because of this, men benefit from a tailored approach to skincare to help keep their skin at its natural best.
What are the differences?
The hormone testosterone determines the masculine characteristics of male skin and gives it a different structure to female skin. While every man’s skin is unique, in general, male skin – on both the face and the body - is thicker, oilier and ages differently.
- Male skin is, on average, approximately 20% thicker than female skin. It contains more collagen and has a tighter, firmer appearance.
- The collagen content of male skin reduces at a constant rate. Female skin is affected later in life, especially after the menopause. Female skin then thins more dramatically and the effects are more pronounced than in male skin.
- Men have more active sebaceous glands, and therefore more pores, than women. Both their sebaceous glands and their pores are larger than those of women.
- Sebum production is double that of women, so male skin is oilier and shinier than female skin. As a result its pH is lower than that of female skin and is prone to impurities and acne.
- Adult males are less prone to dry skin than adult females.
- Signs of ageing appear later in male skin, but changes occur more quickly once they start.
- Men are most affected by sagging skin combined with puffy eyes and dark circles that make them look tired.
- Men get wrinkles too, though they are often less of a concern than for women. Male wrinkles occur later than female wrinkles but, when they do appear, they are fully grooved.
Regular shaving makes male skin more stressed than female skin
- On average, men who shave subject their skin to 16,000 shaves in a lifetime.
- Skin becomes more sensitive and reacts faster.
- Daily shaving stresses the skin and can cause irritation. It removes the uppermost layer of skin cells, exposing immature skin that is particularly sensitive to external influences.
- Up to 40% of men have shaving-related skin problems. Younger and fair skinned men are particularly prone.
- A blunt razor and/or insufficient lubrication while shaving can lead to nicks and cuts, razor burn and razor bumps.
How to care for male skin
Because male skin is different to female skin, it benefits from a dedicated approach to skincare and from products that respect its unique biological attributes.
Careful shaving is important, particularly for those with sensitive skin or skin conditions such as acne and Atopic Dermatitis:
- Protect and lubricate skin with shaving products. These should help the razor to glide smoothly over the skin to avoid nicks and cuts. They should also be mild and soothing for sensitive skin: harsh products can remove skin’s natural lipids which are already under pressure as the the uppermost layer of skin cells are being removed. We also recommend shaving products that contain anti-bacterial properties to protect skin from shaving irritations.
- Use a clean, sharp razor for the closest shave and to avoid razor burn or razor bumps.
- Shave in the direction that hair grows, not against it.
Moisturisers and anti-ageing products for men should be light in texture. Rich and greasy products may not be well tolerated by skin sensitised by shaving.