Urban Myth: men need their own special cosmetics! Women’s stuff does not work for male skin.
Indeed, one hears such statements often enough. ‘Cosmetics for men’ is set on separate shelves in stores, it looks manly and intimidating with all the metal, dark packaging and aggressive brand names—one of the most popular men’s lines is called ‘Bulldog’. But do men really need special solutions?
Male skin is actually different from female in several interesting ways.
- Men’s skin is about 25% thicker. Male hormones, androgens, make the dermis thicker and more solid. And with men the skin’s thickness and density only start decreasing after the age of 50.
- It’s got more collagen too! Some might even say, that women who choose to age naturally appear 10–15 years older then men of the same age. However, since men use sunscreens less often and are generally more negligent when it comes to skin care, they lose this advantage fairly quickly.
- Men and women lose approximately the same amount of collagen for natural causes—about 1% a year starting from the age of 30. But since men have more collagen to begin with they get wrinkles later in life then women. (Life is so unfair!)
- Male skin looks different too: it’s rougher because of a thicker keratinous layer. Besides, male skin produces more oil (sebum), that is also different from the female skin’s sebum. Men get acne more often, and the rosacea-associated nose deformity is practically never found among women.
- Men sweat more—about twice as much as women. Their sweat contains more lactic acid and the pH of male skin is lower—men’s skin has a more acidic reaction. However, it’s moisture balance is better than that of female skin—perhaps thanks to lactic acid, a powerful moisturiser.
So, with all of the above in mind, what would be the difference between men’s and women’s cosmetics?
- Men need less cosmetics. For most men under 50–55 a quality cleanser and some sunscreen are sufficient skin care.
- Men rarely need special moisturising and nourishing solutions.
- Those who shave regularly may experience shaving-related skin problems, like inflammations, ingrown hairs, etc, but all these can be solved with quality shaving products. Unfortunately, standard inexpensive creams are not always effective—try special ‘shaving brands’.
- After shaving all cosmetics penetrate deeper and more effectively into the skin, jumping on the express, so to speak, through the naked hair follicles. So if you’re using anti-age cosmetics, it is best to apply it after shaving onto still moist skin.
All in all special men’s cosmetics is not all that necessary—you can by all means find what you need among women’s cosmetic products. Especially now, when a lot of cosmetic brands have switched to modern packaging standards—airless pump bottles, that do not look anything like ‘mum’s cream jars’.