It’s unsurprising that decades of marketing skincare exclusively to women has left men believing that their skin is different to women's.
Is there any truth to men's skin being different to women's? The short answer is yes.
‘’Men’s skin tends to be slightly thicker than women and produces more sebum, making men's skin, on average, slightly more oily than women.’’
There are notable physical differences between men's and women’s skin. Studies show that the skin parameters of hydration, transepidermal water loss, sebum, microcirculation, pigmentation, and thickness are generally higher in men but skin pH is higher in women.
Let’s dive in and explore these differences in depth.
Men’s Skin and Facial Hair
One of the most obvious differences in men’s skin is the ability to grow facial hair. Your beard hair grows through follicles cells on your faces, the hairs themselves are produced by a hormone known as dihydrotestosterone.
This hormone is produced by testosterone, thus the link between testosterone and men’s beards.
Your beard hair is rooted in the bottom layer of the skin, the root of the hair is made of protein cells and grows via the nutrients of nearby blood vessels.
The hair root grows through microscopic shafts in your skin, which are referred to as follicles. As more cells are created, the hair grows out of the skin and reaches the surface.
Sebaceous glands near the hair follicles produce oil, which nourishes the hair and skin.
The hair follicle is what produces the individual strands of hair, and can be found all over the beard area of your mug. The follicle is responsible for the shape of the hair it produces, as well as the texture.
Interestingly, women have the same amount of face follicles as men but due to women’s naturally lower testosterone, the hair on their faces is much less pronounced.
Generally, women’s bodies make about 1/10th to 1/20th of the amount of testosterone as men’s bodies.
Men’s Skin is More Oily
Many men tend to struggle with oily skin. This is the result of mens more active sebaceous glands producing too much sebum.
Sebum is produced by tiny glands in our skin and is highly influenced by sex hormones, specifically testosterone.
This higher level of testosterone can lead to an overproduction of sebum which can lead to acne.
Studies have found that ‘’after puberty men produce 20 times more testosterone than women (4–7), resulting in circulating testosterone concentrations 15-fold higher than in children or women of any age.’’
Excess oil on our skin can clog our hair follicles and pores, when this is combined with dead skin cells ( if you haven’t washed your face) allows bacteria to grow, which leads to acne.
It's not all bad news though. One of the benefits of men’s oily skin, is that as we age, we are less likely to suffer from dry skin.
Consistently dry skin can lead to a whole host of health problems, specifically weakening our skin's barrier function, making our skin more vulnerable to pollution and free radical damage.
Men’s Skin Produces More Collagen
Men’s skin produces higher levels of collagen than women at any age. The higher collagen content leads to men having skin that is up 20% thicker than women.
Also, skin pigmentation and thickness are significantly higher, facial wrinkles are deeper, and facial sagging is more prominent in the lower eyelids of men, but there is no significant difference in skin elasticity between the sexes.
In short, what this means for men is that if we don’t address wrinkles before they set in, we will permanently look older than we actually are.
More Men Die from their Skin
The fun doesn’t stop there for men’s skin either. Unfortunately, it’s that our skin is more vulnerable to melanoma, more commonly referred to as skin cancer.
‘Men are more likely to die of melanoma than women’ Compared to women, men are at greater risk to develop skin cancer.
The reason for this is more exposure to the sun – men are thought to be more exposed to the sun than women.
Women are typically thought to be better at taking preventive measures to care for their skin and prevent skin cancer’ - Banner Health
What’s depressing here is that the above-mentioned issues are, to an extent, preventable.
A proactive skincare routine of applying sunscreen, moisturising and wearing a hat could help to prevent much of the external environmental damage men’s skin suffers.
Instead, men baked themselves in the sun, largely unprotected, for decades at a time.
Even our naturally oilier skin ( which is our body’s attempt to reduce moisture loss and protect our skin) isn’t enough to undo the harm we’re typically doing.
When it boils down to it, yes, our skin is different but how it ages is more down to how we look after it.
When we started our skincare journey, we truly believed the difference between men and women's skins was superficial, dreamed up by a marketing team to sell more products.
After doing the research for this article though, the results have been surprising. The key takeaway for us is that we need to wash our face more often and wear sunscreen, period.
As always, we appreciate you taking the time to learn more about your skin and grooming with us. Let us know below, what did you find most surprising about the differences of mens skin?