Male vs. Female Skin: Is There A Difference?
If you're a male and you have skin issues or you're looking into skin care products, you probably feel under-represented. Skin care is definitely an industry mostly geared toward the female demographic.
If you're a female and you're consciously aware, you've probably already noticed it, too.
But lately there have been a lot of product lines coming out geared completely toward men. Male-geared cleansing brushes, moisturizers, cleansers, etc. While the products on the market before these weren't "only" for women, these new products almost unanimously state that they're "just for men". Does this mean that if you're a male and you want to take care of your skin, that you need to buy your skin care products from a male-marketed line?
This begs the question, does male and female skin differ?
Frankly speaking, yes, there are of course differences.
1. Males do tend to have thicker skin, approximately 25% thicker than female skin, in fact. Androgen stimulation causes an increase in skin thickness; however, abnormal production of androgens in females (such is the case in some instances of PCOS) can also result in an increased skin thickness, and since 1 in 10-1 in 20 women may have PCOS, this isn't an issue strictly delegated to men.
2. Males have higher collagen density than females. This sucks for us females, because this essentially means that the average male's skin looks more youthful than the average female's skin of the same age. Males also tend to lose less collagen than females over time.
3. Males tend to have tougher skin, on average. This is why males tend to love the feeling of female skin, and will often comment on how "soft" or "smooth" it is, because their own skin tends to be rougher to a superficial degree.
4. Sebum production differs in males and females on average, also. After puberty males produce more sebum than females, which is why teenage acne is more common in males, and tends to last longer (due to androgen production).
5. However, males also tend to produce more lactic acid in their sweat, which accounts for a lower skin pH in comparison to female sweat. Males also sweat more than twice as much as females do, and are more prone to sweating. Male skin also appears to be better hydrated than female skin, which may be due to the excess sweating and production of lactic acid which is a natural humectant
So we have already established then, that males and females have different skin. However, does male and female skin differ enough to require different skin care ingredients, products, and lines?
When it comes down to it, while there are differences between the skin of males and females, this simply isn't enough reason to buy from skin care lines supposedly formulated "just for men". Although there is nothing to say that you can't try them out, just for the heck of it like any other product.
At the end of the day, male-geared products are just a marketing ploy. More and more men are starting to realize the importance of taking good care of their skin, and so they cleanse and they tone and they use moisturizers with SPF. Companies want their product to sell, and I suppose they're still worried about the male ideal of masculinity, and so they don't want to "humiliate" their male customers by sending them to check out with a fluffy pink moisturizer box. Instead, they make the boxes black and striking, with pictures of wood and sweat and muscles, and somehow that makes everything right in the world.
But in reality, male or female, what it all boils down to is your individual skin, and this means your skin type, not your XX or XY chromosomes. Despite clever marketing ploys, males need to do all the same things females do, and vice versa, and that is to figure out what their skin needs, to protect their skin from the sun, to nourish their skin with skin-identical and skin-healthy ingredients, determine what skin conditions they are dealing with, and decide how to treat them.
That's it. Nothing you put on your skin will alter the way a male's skin behaves or looks any more than it will for females. And this goes for makeup, too. If males want to wear concealer and blush and bronzer, then use it! Don't wait for a male-marketed makeup line to come out. Use it! That's what it is for!