Do Men Really Need Different Skincare?
No matter what you identify as, if you have a face, you need a solid skincare routine. Whether that’s a basic cleanse and moisturise or a 6-step regimen. But a question that comes up time and time again is whether men need to use different skincare to women?
The answer is no. Skincare goes beyond the boundaries of gender and neither should feel excluded from using a particular product. Despite this, there are a few primary differences between male and female skin that we would like to acknowledge. These are:
- Male skin is, on average, 20-25% thicker than female skin.
- Collagen in male skin reduces consistently with age, whereas for women, levels stay fairly steady until menopause when they drop drastically. This leads to more pronounced wrinkles and thinning of the skin.
- Men have a larger amount of active hair follicles which leads to rougher texture and facial hair.
- Higher testosterone levels in men can lead to more sebum (oil) being produced (and therefore larger pore size), resulting in oilier skin. However, this isn’t always the case.
Aside from the above, the structure of the skin is exactly the same and you generally wouldn’t be able to tell which gender you were viewing if you were to look at them under a microscope.
So, why is ‘skincare for men’ available?
There generally won’t be much difference in the actual formula of the products, with the main changes being the fragrance and packaging design - think woody scents and packaging made in stereotypical ‘male colour palettes’. Most of the products targeted at men are simply created for marketing to:
This is incredibly dated, binary and misleading.
Men can still reap the benefits from the huge range of products that are on the market. They can use the exact same products and whilst the concerns for some men might differ, there is no need to avoid products that aren’t explicitly labelled as “for men”. The key is to choose what works for your individual skin type and concerns.
We asked our Skin Rocks Biochemist, Ashley for her thoughts:
“Although there are physiological skin differences between men and women, are separate skincare products needed? Speaking generally, men can have oilier skin and irritation through shaving with the potential for ingrown hairs. However, when it comes to treating the skin, as per women, the approach to tailoring your skincare routine should focus on your skin type. These include but are not limited to oily, dry, sensitive and combination skin. In the majority of cases, male skincare lines differ by fragrance and packaging, rather than treating skin concerns.
Regardless of gender, understanding your skin type is key. Starting a routine in the form of a gentle cleanser, moisturiser and SPF is a great foundation.”
To summarise, if you feel more comfortable purchasing skincare labelled as ‘for men’, please do so. However, rest assured that you can indeed use any of the products available to buy, regardless of the marketing.
Key takeaway: buy what works for YOU.
Discovering Cosmetic Science, Royal Society of Chemistry