Long gone are the days when men had little regard for terms like "skincare" and "antiageing". Today most men want their skin to look and feel healthy, young and vibrant as much as their female counterparts.
Even so, it's important to note that gender significantly influences our skin's appearance. Male skin does differ from female skin in some ways. Consequently, a tailored approach to skincare helps men keep their skin at its best.
The Differences Between Male and Female Skin
Men have more active sebaceous glands than women, with their sebum (oil) production being almost double that of women.
Also, their pores are larger than those of women. These tiny openings in your skin are crucial as they allow the body to release sweat, oil, and toxins through the skin.
This makes male skin oilier and more prone to blackheads, clogged pores, and breakouts. Oil production in men’s skin does not slow down as they get older either. So, problems with breakouts can last longer and be a life-long struggle.
On the plus side, their skin barrier is stronger and is better at locking in moisture—keeping the skin healthy, supple and hydrated.
Men's skin is about 20%-25% thicker than women's skin. Thanks to testosterone, male skin has a denser network of collagen fibres than that found in female skin.
Collagen is a natural protein component of the skin and the main building block for cells and tissues.
Even though women have thinner skin than men, women's skin generally maintains the same skin thickness until menopause.
In contrast, male skin ages gradually over the years.
With age and UV damage, our bodies stop producing as much collagen as we're losing, so we lose collagen overall. Both men and women lose about one per cent of their collagen per year after their 30th birthday.
That collagen loss makes our skin thinner, saggier, and more prone to wrinkles. For men, this loss remains constant thought their adult life.
For women, menopause can significantly increase that loss over a shorter period of time. At this point, female skin then thins more dramatically, and the effects of ageing are more pronounced than in male skin.
Because males have more lactic acid in their sweat, women tend to have a higher skin surface pH. This may explain why women have a greater tendency for dry skin.
Our skin’s outermost layer, aka the skin barrier, comprises sebum [skin’s natural oils] and lactic and amino acids that create the skin’s pH. The skin pH should hover between 4-6. Anything higher and skin becomes dry, and if it dips below, the skin becomes greasy.
Related: Dry vs Dehydrated Skin
It’s a simple fact of life that both men and women will develop fine lines and wrinkles as they age. However, men and women get them with varying degrees of severity. Men tend to have fewer superficial fine lines than women.
On the other hand, they are more prone to deep-set wrinkles. While signs of ageing appear later in life, the changes occur more quickly once they start.
Related: Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Skin Ageing
Shaving related concerns
While there are plenty of biological differences between men's and women's skin, there's one problem men create themselves: shaving. As much as many of us love the neatly shaven look, this can wreak havoc on a man's skin.
On average, a man will shave up to 16,000 times in their lifetime! Shaving removes the uppermost layer of skin cells, exposing the immature sensitive skin below to external influences like pollution and UV rays.
It's not surprising this stresses the skin and can cause irritation. Studies have shown that up to 40% of men complain of shaving-related side effects such as nicks, cuts, razor burn, razor bumps and ingrown hairs.
Our Top 10 Recommended Skincare Tips for Men
- Since it's harder for oily skin to shed dead cells, men should look for cleansers with exfoliants like salicylic acid, which help dissolve the mixture of oil and dead cells in clogged pores.
- Because it's naturally thicker, men's skin can tolerate a higher concentration of active anti-ageing ingredients such as retinol. A jack-of-all-trades, retinol possesses the ability to correct, smooth and regenerate skin. It can also dramatically reduce fine lines, clear acne and diminish the appearance of sun damage and pigmentation.
- Wearing sunscreen goes beyond maintaining a youthful-looking, attractive appearance," It could save your life, given that 90% of all deadly skin cancers are caused by ultraviolet light from the sun.
- Take some precautions with your shaving routine. We aren't saying you have to stop shaving as often. Just make some changes to your technique. Use plenty of shaving cream on your face. This limits the friction of the razor on your skin, so your skin doesn't get so irritated. Also, replace your razor often.
- More and more men are looking to laser hair removal as the answer to their extensive daily shaving woes. Treating the beard area around the jawline and neck with laser hair removal will minimise cases of skin irritation and ingrown hairs.
- For wrinkles that are already deep-set, topical skincare can achieve very little. We recommend hyaluronic acid dermal filler for men who want to reverse the ageing effect of wrinkles.
- No matter your genetic makeup or sex, it's important to care for your skin every day. Learning how product layering works is one of the most powerful tools to have in your skincare arsenal.
- In the quest to age gracefully, saggy or loose skin is a common concern on many people's minds (both men and women). It's a natural part of ageing, caused by the collagen loss we discussed in the previous section. How do you counter it? Simple answer: radiofrequency skin tightening.
- Shave in the shower or right after you step out. The warm water will make your stubble more pliable and easier for your razor to cut through. Plus, damp skin is easier to trim.
- Serums are your friend. They help target the appearance of specific concerns, reduce the signs of ageing, and improve overall tone and texture. Shop quality skincare serums for men.
While men still have quite a lot to learn about the ins and outs of skincare and the cosmetic treatments industry. It's nice to see more men making an effort to take better care of their skin.
Follow the male skincare tips above and invest in quality, science-backed skincare products. It's never too late to have healthier, radiant and youthful-looking skin.