Is There Really a Difference Between Male and Female Skin?

Yes, believe it or not, there is! Though environment, diet, and exercise can all alter skin in a variety of ways, the differences between men’s and women’s skin have a great deal to do with biological makeup. Hormones, pH balance, and sebum play a big part in how skin reacts to aging. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to develop a gender-specific skincare routine. The skin may look the same, but it’s not. When comparing skin between the sexes, the biggest structural differences can be found in density, moisture, collagen, and texture.

Density

Because of testosterone production, male skin is thicker—up to 30% thicker, which means it’s a little tougher to penetrate with cleansers and moisturizers, but it does have the advantage of fewer visible lines and wrinkles. However, being thicker doesn't translate to tougher. Studies show that a thick dermal layer is actually more sensitive to the environment, which is a good reason for men to use sunscreen daily even on those overcast days. Not only is sun damage a leading cause of skin cancer, but UV rays also penetrate beneath the skin, breaking down its elasticity. Ever notice what happens to a rubber band when it loses its stretch? The same thing can happen to the skin on your face if not properly protected. And even though, genetically speaking, women’s skin on the average ages faster than men’s, over-exposure to environmental elements can easily modify these statistics. So do yourself a solid and wear sunscreen. 

Moisture

Lactic acid is a natural humectant the body produces through metabolism and exercise. It helps keep the skin hydrated. Because men have a higher content of lactic acid, their skin naturally contains more moisture than women’s. This may be one of the reasons they don’t feel the need to moisturize, even though it is still a necessary part of keeping the skin healthy. Testosterone contributes to a man’s oiler skin, which is another reason men might not think they need to moisturize. But keep in mind that moisturizing requires water, something that oil produced by sebaceous glands lacks. Men also perspire more than women, and while sweating purges the skin of bacteria, excessive perspiration can cause bacteria to be reabsorbed back into the skin resulting in irritation. Exfoliate regularly to avoid this, and make sure to use a moisturizer even if you have oily skin.

Collagen

Collagen is a protein that makes up about a third of all the protein in the human body. It’s essential for the binding of connective tissue, which among other things supports vital organs (so it’s sort of a big deal.) Collagen also aids in maintaining the elasticity of the skin. (Also a big deal.) Men are fortunate enough to be born with more of it than women, but things like sun exposure and smoking can break it down fairly quickly. Peptides are amino acids that actually help your body produce more collagen, and though both peptides and collagen occur naturally in the body, they can also be absorbed through the skin. Since men’s collagen levels drop daily after the age of 20, using an anti-aging serum like RECHARGE that contain peptides is imperative in the fight against aging.

Texture

Men, for the most part, have rougher skin than women, but some of this roughness is attributed to dead skin cells that need exfoliating. Men also have a higher sebum production and a lower pH level, which means they have more acne and skin irritations. Another reason to exfoliate. Their larger pores can contribute to the texture of the skin, allowing dirt and bacteria to become trapped more easily. But guess what can minimize this? You got it! Exfoliation. And believe it or not, it will also prep the hair follicles for a better shave, something else that can improve the texture of the skin yet also leave it more vulnerable to the elements (hint hint: sunscreen). Lactic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid found in sugary fruit, is a natural exfoliator that helps with moisture but also improves skin tone and texture. And you thought exfoliation was just for women, didn’t you?

So there you have it. The main differences between men’s and women’s skin and the reason why men should develop a skincare routine using products suited for their specific needs. But a man can’t win the battle against Father Time and Mother Nature on this alone. Proper diet and regular exercise are also a necessary part of the war on aging.