There are multiple differences between male and female skin including thickness, oiliness, aging, and texture. It isn’t just an industry ploy to try and get people to buy specific products based on their gender. Keep on reading to find out what exactly makes male and female skin so different and what this means for our skin care routines!
Tough and calloused is what we think of when we imagine male skin. It’s nearly the polar opposite from female’s soft and more delicate skin. According to Dr. Brian Zelickson, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and Founder of MD Complete,
“Men’s skin is about 25% thicker with more collagen, more and larger hair follicles and more sebum production, all of which is mostly due to increased testosterone production. These structural differences make men’s skin less sensitive and able to handle stronger ingredients. However, it also makes them a bit more acne-prone, so they don’t need as heavy cream-based products.”
The ability to grow a beard is just one obvious distinction among many others that are not so evident. From a structural point of view, some of the differences include skin thickness, collagen density, loss of collagen as we age, texture and hydration. These differences in the skin may in fact create differences in the treatment room. Let’s look at each of these aspects in more detail.
We know that the thickness of the skin varies with the location, age and sex of the individual. Additionally, androgens like testosterone, cause an increase in skin thickness. Since men produce more testosterone than females it accounts for why a man’s skin is about 25 percent thicker than that of a woman’s. A man’s skin also thins gradually with age, where as the thickness of a woman’s skin remains constant until about the age of fifty. After menopause, her skin will thin significantly and will continue as she ages. This is why men need thicker face cremes to reach the lower layers of the skin and help retain skin elasticity. Women on the other hand can choose between either a light moisturizer or a heavy night creme for a more intense treatment.
Regardless of age, men have a higher collagen density than women; this is the ratio of collagen to the thickness of the skin. Researchers believe that the higher collagen density accounts for why women appear to age faster than men of the same age. When considering intrinsic (genetically-programmed) aging of the skin, it has been said that women are about 15 years older than men of the same age. Of course, the role of daylight exposure in skin aging, combined with the fact that men do not use sunscreen as often as women, may account for why we do not readily notice. Extrinsic aging from UV radiation can add years to a man’s skin and negate the benefit of slower intrinsic aging. SPF protection is extremely important regardless of the type of skin you have!
Loss of Collagen
The physical signs of aging in adults, such as wrinkles and laxity to the tissue, are closely related to the collagen content of the skin. Both men and women lose about one percent of their collagen per year after their 30th birthday. For women, however, this escalates significantly in the first five years after menopause then slows down again. Using products geared towards more mature skin can make a huge difference in the way the skin reacts to certain ingredients in the product. Our Anti-Aging Complexion Soap is perfect for delicate skin and improves elasticity!
From a superficial perspective, the texture of a man’s skin is very different than a woman’s. The texture (on a man) is rougher, and the Stratum Corneum is thicker. There is also a difference in the composition of sebum and its production. After puberty, sebum production is greater in males than in females, which is attributed to androgen production and accounts for why men have longer lasting acne. Interestingly, redness, rapid production of the sebaceous glands, and swelling of the skin on the nose, is only seen in males. It is unknown if this condition is controlled by androgens in a similar capacity as sebum production.
Puberty also stimulates the appearance of facial hair in men and gives rise to sweat production. Males have more Lactic Acid in their sweat, which accounts for a lower pH (.05 lower) when compared to female sweat. We discussed the importance of the skins pH levels in our Skin 101 post.
Men also sweat more than twice as much as women and are more prone to sweating, which is stimulated by an increase in body temperature. However, male skin appears to be better hydrated than women’s, which is fortunate, as men are less likely to apply a hydrating moisturizer to their body or face. Perhaps the excess sweating and production of Lactic Acid, a known natural humectant for the skin, is responsible for the level of tissue hydration.
So what have we learned? In short summary, a man’s skin is thicker thus providing them with different skin issues which need specially formulated products, like our Men’s Chimere Skin Care Line, to penetrate past the thicker skin to really make a difference in male’s skin care. Remember to use sunscreen and keep your skin moisturized!