Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist - Written by Sritama Dutta (Medical Science) on 20th Nov 2020
Do men need different skincare products than women?
PPampering your skin is bliss! Then why should girls have all the fun?
Can men use skincare products meant for women? Or do they need different skincare products?
If you have flesh, skin conditions are bound to develop over time. There is no gender discrimination there. Every mortal being will expose their skin to adverse environmental factors and the thousands of omnipresent microbes. So the myth "men do not need skincare" is nothing but a timid try at solidifying gender stereotypes.
Ancient scriptures tell us different stories. There we find men with high social stature using several ingredients for skincare. With modernization and increasing gender discrimination over the years, "skincare" was synonymous with "women." But this era brings us a new tale. Not only are men concerned about their skin, but they also invest in personal grooming products.
Market research says the industry for men grooming products will see a rise of about $60 billion by the end of the decade. These stats tell you that pampering one's skin is not limited to girls anymore.
Studies show that great skin plays a significant role in boosting one's self-esteem from a young age.
Skin concerns can bring dejection in life and can also adversely affect your relationships. It has been found that young men between the ages of 15-45 actively solve skin problems and take control of their appearance and hygiene. Men are now embracing ideas of self-care and buying skincare products for use.
However, keeping equality aside, we have to tell you that men and women often need different skincare products. It is because they are built to be different biologically. However, the same cellular structure in males is different from females to some extent. So, before we jump in to compare male and female skincare products, let's see the fundamental differences between male and female skin.
Is Men's Skin Different From Women's Skin?
Men and women are biologically different, and so is their skin. Their skin has different pH levels, sweat rate, sebum generation, and also hair growth. Let's see what factors make male and female skins different.
The masculine characteristics of the male skin are contributed by the male sex hormone: testosterone. This is one of the major factors that makes male and female skin different. The testosterone level in men makes their skin thicker and produce more sebum. Their hormone also makes their skin age differently.
Men's skin is about 20% thicker than women's skin. They have more collagen count that makes their skin tighter and firmer. However, males' collagen content reduces at a constant rate, while females' collagen content gets drastically reduced after they hit menopause.
Men have larger skin pores with more active sebaceous glands than women. They produce almost double the sebum than females, which makes their skin oilier and shinier.
The pH level in males is lower than that of women, making their skin more prone to attract impurities and develop acne.
Male skin shows signs of aging much later than women. However, men are mostly affected by sagging skin and puffy eyes and dark circles.
Regular shaving also has an impact on the skin of males. On average, every man shaves their face about 16000 times in their lifetime. This makes their skin more sensitive.
Daily shaving also stresses the skin, which irritates. Shaving removes the superficial layer of the skin cells. This reveals the newer and younger skin from beneath, which is more susceptible to external influences.
Over 40% of men suffer from shaving-related skin problems. Blunt razor or insufficient lubrication during shaving leads to nicks, cuts, or razor bumps.
Because men's skin is so different from female skin, they require a different and dedicated approach to skincare.
Should men use women's skincare products?
Though there is no harm to men in using women's facial products, it is unnecessary. As men's skin begins to age later than females, they probably won't need all the expensive anti-aging creams. Male skin can generate more sebum. In women, skin stays moisturized for a longer duration. They won't even have to apply moisturizers continuously to keep their skin hydrated.
Regular shaving also plays an exfoliating agent's role, which helps men get rid of dead skin cells and excessive facial hair. This also limits the need for peeling acids or scrubs by men to some extent.
However, men similarly lose collagen as women, which leads to a loss of elasticity of the facial tissues. Thus, the products that enhance protein synthesis in the cells and promote collagen production should be used by men.
The sun does not discriminate! Men's skin is susceptible to photodamage the same way as women's skin. Hence, the need for proper sunscreen is the same in men as in women. Nonetheless, men do require a minimalist skincare regime. Want to know more? Keep scrolling!
How are men's skincare products different from skincare products for women?
Skincare products for females usually focus more on moisturization to compensate for the lower sebum production in women. Also, female products contain exfoliants, calming ingredients, and anti-aging ingredients.
Male skincare products contain retinol, which helps build up collagen in their skin tissues. Also, male-specific products are usually fragrance-free.
Females usually have thinner skin layers than males, which tend to lose moisture faster and are more susceptible to sun damage. Their products are formulated to cater to these needs.
What do men need for their skin?
Regular shaving often causes razor burns or ingrown hairs, which makes the skin bumpy. One of the leading skin concerns among men is uneven skin and pimples. Shaving also causes skin irritation. A simple yet invasive skincare routine will help in combating all the major skin concerns any man has.
The most effective active ingredient to fight these problems might be Salicylic acid or Benzoyl Peroxide. They help in treating folliculitis, in-grown hairs, and more importantly, inflammatory or non-inflammatory acne.
Why should you choose salicylic acid?
With its mild acidic nature, salicylic acid acts as a pre-shave exfoliant. It helps remove dead skin cells and cleanses skin pores thoroughly by washing excess sebum from the skin. This, in turn, helps in reducing acne. Salicylic acid also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which help fighting redness and calms down irritation.
When should you choose benzoyl peroxide?
Benzoyl peroxide also helps in treating acne. It helps in fighting against the bacteria, which causes inflammatory acne. However, Benzoyl peroxide is much harsher than Salicylic Acid, which might cause the skin to burn.
How to pick skincare products for men?
Before you pick any skincare product for your use, there are certain things that you need to consider. Skincare products need not be pricey to be good. Here's what you should look for while you rummage through the men-specific facial care products.
1. Pay Attention to Your Skin Type:
Usually, men have oilier and thicker skin. However, some individuals might also have dry patches on their skin. Some might have sensitive skin too. The solution lies in finding the one which perfectly suits your skin's needs. If you have excess oil, you would want to find something which will wash off the sebum. If you have dry and flaky skin, then proper moisturizer is the answer to your problem.
2. Unisex is the answer to a lot!
Not all skincare products are gender-specific. Many products are suitable for both males and females, such as active ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, squalane, or hyaluronic acid.
Also, paraben and silicone are harmful to both male and female skin. So always look for paraben-free and silicone-free. It is also beneficial for your skin if you choose to avoid fragrance-free products. However, essential oils like cedarwood or sandalwood oil would be suitable for your skin. They have a pleasant and mildly earthy smell and calm down skin irritation.
3. Experiment Sometimes!
There is no sure-fire answer to all your skin problems. The solution lies in trial and error to find your perfect skincare products.
Men's skincare regime: what does a Minimalist have to say?
- Use a moisturizer with a broad spectrum SPF 30+ in the morning before you step out of the house.
- Cleanse at least twice a day. Dermatologists suggest that men with oily skin should use foaming cleansers, while men with sensitive skin should use non-foaming, gentle cleansers. This will prevent the natural pH of the skin from getting disrupted and protect its integrity.
- Use retinol before you retire to bed. This vitamin A derivative acts as a night-time moisturizer and also helps in reversing signs of aging.
The Bottom Line:
When it comes to skincare, men have been known to keep it simple. You need to follow some quick tips. Cleanse your face, try some eye cream to soothe the puffiness, and moisturize. Sun protection is essential too. Never compromise on sunscreen before you step out under the sun. Chemical peels can be used too. It will help in gently exfoliating the skin. However, if you have any skin condition, it is wise to consult your dermatologist.
So boys, don't let your skin concerns affect your self-esteem. Pamper your skin and get ready to take over the world!