Is men's skin thicker than women's? by Haleigh Couture
In short, yes. Ladies and gentlemen can use the same skincare products—but more importantly, men can use female skincare products just fine. Let’s break down the reasons as to why it is acceptable for males to use skincare products intended for female use.
IS MEN'S SKIN THICKER THAN WOMEN'S?
For the most part, yes men and women have the same type of skin but with minor differences—according to dermatologist Dr. Anna Chacon said that in her clinical experience, men sometimes have rougher skin than women do. Males may also experience facial hair growth and loss of hair in diverse areas due to the presence of androgens (testosterone). Androgens also account for why male skin is thicker than female’s skin.
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Toby Dash founder of fivestarskincare.co said that men’s skin is 25% thicker due to higher collagen content. The lack of collagen within the skin is directly linked to noticeable wrinkles and aged-looking skin. So, in short, men do have an advantage by literally having more youthful skin, which is also said to age slower than females. Male oil glands are more active, which allows for greater moisturization over the years, according to Dash.
Dash also stated that women's skin maintains thickness and moisture content consistently until menopause when decreasing estrogen levels cause dramatic changes. Male skin tends to age more gradually, meaning that the thickness level of their skin will age smoothly and thin naturally. Women’s skin, on the other hand, will appear the same thickness until she hits menopause where the fluctuation in hormones changes the balance of her skin. Thus, men tend to appear with more youthful skin because the gradual thinning process is what presents this slowing in age look.
Men who tend to shave every day will give their skin plenty of exfoliation. Though, overdoing the amount a man shaves his face can also result in extreme dryness and lead to irritation. Dash also stated that shaving cream—which is a form of soap—may dry out the face even more. Both male and female skin does require daily moisturization. If moisturized properly daily, it can reduce the chances of developing extreme dryness or oiliness. Both extremes are harmful to the skin and cause common skin conditions like acne. Using a good quality daily moisturizer ensures that the skin's blemishes are camouflaged too, according to Dash.
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WHAT KIND OF PRODUCTS CAN MEN USE FOR THEIR SKIN THAT WOMEN USE?
Dr. Chacon said that many products for men and women are interchangeable. Examples include vitamin C, topical retinoids, niacinamide, tranexamic acid, glycolic acid, and other alpha hydroxy acids. Men are also thought to spend more time outdoors, thus their skin is more vulnerable to exposure to the sun. Because of this, men must use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50 recommended by most dermatologists.
It is also commonly known that most medical-grade skin products are gender-free—meaning they cater to both male and female use. However, there may be more skincare products that are specifically targeted for female use. A lot of the skincare products that you may find specifically for female use, do contain fragrances. Men may opt for products that contain no fragrance, and also cater to their specific male needs.
IS IT NECESSARY FOR A MALE TO USE FEMALE SKINCARE PRODUCTS?
In short, no. Most dermatologists suggest that men should consider using skincare products that cater to their specific needs which may differ from a female’s. Some products are formulated with ingredients specifically for men. For the most part, according to Dr. Chacon many products are unisex.
“There are no particular benefits other than possibly addressing different goals within skincare,” said Dr. Chacon. “Male products may tend to gear towards unique needs such as beards, hair growth, hair loss, etc. Women’s skincare products are sometimes heavily weighted towards anti-aging. For some men, wrinkles are not as important and are sometimes viewed as a sign of maturity.”
OVERVIEW: Men and women should always consult their dermatologists and do their research when questioning the use of a product for their skin. For men, a lot that comes with using a female skincare product comes down to preferences. Toby Dash does suggest that men opt for skincare products that are specifically used to treat male needs— “Products at the ready to treat ingrown hairs that may get inflamed or irritated from shaving,” said Dash. All in all, to each their own. It is important to understand the differences between male and female skin to ensure whatever skincare products you opt for, are the best for your skin.
Dr. Anna Chacon MD certified dermatologist, MyPsoriasisTeam
Toby Dash founder of fivestarskincare.co