The age-old debate: do men and women really require different, gender-specific skincare? Ladies, if you’ve been noticing your favourite re.form serum depleting faster than usual, it’s fair enough you want to deter your partner off it because it’s not for their skin. But, as it turns out, unfortunately for you, they’ll reap equal rewards.
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The men’s grooming category is booming, with just about every major brand now offering a male sub-brand, but aside from more masculine packaging, are the contents that different? Below we breakdown the differences between men’s and women’s and whether products are as interchangeable as your curious partner thinks.
Men’s vs women’s skin: what’s the difference?
A one-sizes-fits-all approach doesn’t work for men’s and women’s clothing, so it shouldn’t work for skincare then, right? Well, the answer is more complicated than that.
The average man’s grooming routine now extends beyond shaving and fragrance, which has led to the emergence of male-dedicated product lines. Studies show that on average women-specific skincare products on average cost more than men’s, which begs the question: could we save money and borrow moisturiser from the man in our life?
It’s actually a fact: men’s skin is different to women’s, with hormones being the biggest disparity. Men produce about 10 times more testosterone than women.
This results in a few key distinguishing characteristics…
Men don’t just grow thicker facial hair, their skin structure is also thicker overall.
The ageing process also differs, with men’s skin thinning gradually with age, while women’s remains fairly constant until menopause. For this reason, exfoliation is generally only recommended once a week for women, while men can tolerate exfoliation every other day.
The physical signs of ageing, like wrinkles and furrows, are closely related to the collagen content of the skin. Collagen is a naturally occurring protein in my body, which is essential for skin support and firmness. Regardless of age, the ratio of collagen to thickness of the skin is always higher in men. The denser collagen network is often why women of the same age can look older…unfair we know.
From around 30 years old, both men and women will lose about one percent of their collagen per year, although for women in menopause, this is accelerated further. Unfortunately for women (again), collagen retention combined with thinner skin means the odds aren’t in their favour when it comes to ageing. On the flipside, men do tend get more sun exposure, whether through work, play or being less stringent with sun protection, which can counterbalance our intrinsic physiology.
One issue men typically struggle with more is breakouts. This is due to the fact they have larger oil glands and therefore oilier skin and higher sebum production than women, making them more prone to congestion. While sebum levels flare-up during puberty, they usually remain higher in men over time. For this reason, male products are often lighter weight and less rich.
The most obvious difference is of course shaving. During a man’s lifetime, chances are they’ll have some sort of shaving-related skin issue. Shaving removes the uppermost layer of skin cells, revealing a fragile layer of skin that is more sensitive and susceptible to irritation (like razor burn). The stress of shaving on the skin is a pivotal consideration for men, so products with naturally antibacterial ingredients, like squalene and sweet almond oil in re.skin’s re.form serum.
So, what does this all mean?
While there are brands that target a specific gender, this is becoming an outdated way of viewing the skin.
There is no universal formula that will suit all men and likewise all women. This has given rise to a gender-neutral movement, which places emphasis on functionality and results, not gender. While there are common predispositions, any product you decide to use should be suited to your individual skin type, needs and goals.
Here at re.skin, we firmly agree with this stance. That’s why our pared-back two-step system and even our pared-back packaging, resonates with both men and women equally. It’s seamless to integrate into an existing regime or use exclusively on its own.