What’s the Difference Between Male and Female Skin?

During childhood, there isn’t much of a difference between male and female skin. 

However, once people hit puberty, this all begins to change…

Skin Thickness

One of the main differences between male and female skin is skin thickness. 

Generally, male skin is around 25% thicker than female skin. 

Why? 

One of the reasons for this is due to the fact that male skin contains more collagen. Collagen is one of the structural proteins that make up the building blocks of your skin, and is responsible for how thick, firm and smooth your skin is. 

Illustration of male versus female skin

Your body produces collagen naturally, but the rate at which it does so declines with age. 

Does this apply to both men and women? 

Yes, the rate at which collagen levels in the skin drop is the same between both sexes. However, since women already have less collagen to begin with, the differences in the decline of collagen production tends to be more noticeable in women. 

A woman will also experience a more rapid drop in collagen once menopause is reached, whereas the rate at which collagen declines in male skin is steadier. 

What do these differences in collagen and skin thickness mean? 

It means that female skin is more prone to premature aging, including fine lines, wrinkles and loose skin. This is likely the reason why so many of the anti-aging skin care products out there are targeted at women rather than men. 

Can men use these anti-aging products too? 

Of course! The vitamins and antioxidants within them will do both male and female skin a world of good, but you do need to keep an eye on the texture of the product. Since male skin is naturally more oily, you don’t want to be using a thick and greasy cream on this. 

Why? 

Because it will only lead to clogged pores and possibly an increase in oil production, making the skin even more vulnerable to acne. 

Skin Texture

Due to the fact that male skin has a much thicker outer layer than female skin, this leads to differences when it comes to the texture of male and female skin. 

Male skin tends to be much rougher, as well as tougher, than female skin. 

In a way, this is good, because it keeps male skin more protected from damage. Since male skin takes longer to heal than female skin, which will be discussed in more detail later, the extra toughness can really help in preventing skin injuries in the first place. 

However, there is a downside to this too…

While men may not experience wrinkles at an early age, due to their thicker skin, when the wrinkles finally do appear they will be deeper and more grooved, compared to the finer lines that women tend to develop first. 

Sebum Production

Sebum is the oil that your skin naturally produces, with the sebum being released through your skin’s sebaceous glands. 

What does this oil do? 

It has a few different purposes: 

  • Keeps the skin waterproof 
  • Prevents the skin from losing too much moisture 
  • Prevents bacteria, fungus and other unwanted compounds from entering into the skin

So, what’s the difference between the sebum in male and female skin? 

Well, male skin contains a higher amount of sebaceous glands, which therefore means that men have more pores, as well as larger pores, than women. 

Because of this, male skin produces around double the amount of sebum that female skin does. This means that male skin is generally much oilier and shinier than female skin. 

While this might not seem like a good thing, it actually is….

As mentioned above, sebum has a number of important functions when it comes to preserving the health of the skin. Since women produce less sebum, this makes them much more prone to dry skin. 

Another difference when it comes to the sebum in male and female skin is…

The rate at which female skin produces sebum declines with age, which is another reason why female skin is more prone to dryness than male skin. 

What can women do about this? 

They need to keep their skin moisturized, using ingredients that help to make up for this decline in sebum. 

pH Levels

Due to the extra sebum that male skin produces, male skin tends to have a lower pH level than female skin. 

What does this mean? 

It means that male skin will be much more prone to acne and other pH-related skin issues than female skin. While females obviously experience acne too, acne breakouts in male skin tend to last for longer, and are also often more severe.

This makes it especially important for men to use pH-balancing products, in order to help restore their skin’s pH level. 

Facial Hair

As you already know, men have much more facial hair than women. 

This is why so many men choose to shave their faces, with many doing this on a daily basis. 

While this may keep the face smooth and hair-free, it does also lead to a number of problems, such as: 

  • Increased skin sensitivities 
  • Over-exfoliation, due to the way in which shaving removes the skin’s upper layer of skin cells 
  • Increased skin stress 

Research shows that men tend to shave their faces around 16,000 times in their lifetime, with around 40% of men experiencing skin issues that are related to shaving. This tends to affect those who are younger and have a fair skin tone more, but just about anyone can experience these skin problems. 

Fortunately, there is an easy way to overcome this…

When shaving the face, it is important to ensure that the blade you are using is always sharp, and that you are using a product to lubricate your skin while shaving.

Young woman teasing her man who is using shaving cream, in front of bathroom mirror

Why is this important? 

Because the lubrication provides a cushioned barrier between your skin and your blade, giving it some extra protection. 

The sharpness of the blade is important when it comes to avoiding razor burns and bumps, and will also ensure that you get the closest shave possible, meaning that you won’t need to keep going over the same area of skin multiple times.

A moisturizer should always be used after shaving. 

Why? 

Because, as mentioned above, shaving is a form of exfoliation, clearing away the top layer of skin cells. This then leaves the younger and more delicate skin cells exposed to the environment. A moisturizer will form a protective layer over these skin cells, giving them more time to mature while providing your skin with an added layer of protection. 

UV Damage

The sun’s UV rays cause so much damage to the skin, in both men and women. 

While there isn’t a difference in the amount of damage that UV rays cause to male and female skin, women tend to be more aware of sun protection than men are. 

The over-exfoliation caused by the extra shaving that men do also leaves their skin more susceptible to sun damage, with research showing that male skin reacts more intensely to UV damage than female skin. Other studies show that female skin tends to be better at repairing UV damage than male skin. 

As you can imagine, this can then lead to some serious health problems for men…

Research shows that by the time men reach the age of 65, they are twice as likely to develop melanoma than women. Once men reach the age of 80, they are then three times as likely to develop this fatal form of skin cancer than women.

Of course, there is an easy way to prevent this from happening, and it all comes down to wearing sunscreen regularly. 

Not only that, but there are additional steps that men can take to protect their skin from the sun, such as: 

  • Wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat
  • Staying in the shade during the hottest hours of the day, usually between 10am and 3pm, although this varies depending on your location 
  • Keeping the body covered up with clothing 

Sweat Production

Another difference between male and female skin is in the amount of sweat the skin produces. 

Due to their larger body size, as well as the fact that their sweat glands tend to be more active, men produce double the amount of sweat that women do. 

While this helps to keep their bodies cool, it does also lead to a few problems…

The excess sweat can easily trigger acne breakouts, and also leads to a higher amount of bacterial growth on male skin. 

This is why cleansers designed for men will usually contain antibacterial ingredients, to help counter the effects of the extra sweat. 

In order to prevent the skin problems that excess sweat can cause, it is important for men to keep their skin clear of sweat as much as possible. Showering after excessive sweating is important, as is simply wiping the sweat off of the skin when showering is not an option. 

Cellulite

Cellulite is something that around 90% of women will experience, but is much rarer in men. 

What exactly is cellulite? 

Cellulite refers to small pockets of fat that end up squeezing through the connective tissues between the skin and the muscles beneath, resulting in that dreaded dimpled appearance. 

Why do women experience cellulite so much more than men? 

There are a few different reasons for this, including: 

  • The collagen fibers in male skin are much more tightly woven together, preventing any pockets of fat from pushing through this structure 
  • Women tend to have more body fat than men, meaning that they are much more likely to develop cellulite. This is why cellulite is so commonly experienced in the skin on the lower half of the body, as this is where women tend to store the majority of their excess fat 

Illustration of the formation of cellulite

Unfortunately, there is no way to completely get rid of cellulite, and any skin care products out there that claim to do this are likely to be falsely advertising. 

However, don’t despair, there are ways in which you can minimize the appearance of your cellulite…

Exercising is the most effective way, since this helps to build lean muscle mass, reducing the visibility of the fat pockets beneath the skin. 

Recent research also suggests that your diet can make a difference too. A specific amino acid, known as L-leucine, helps to stimulate the rate at which the body burns fat and maintains its lean muscle mass, therefore preventing cellulite from forming. 

Where do you get L-leucine from? 

Some of the best sources include: 

Skin Healing

When the skin experiences an injury, the rate at which it heals is extremely important. 

Rapid healing is obviously preferred, as this not only reduces the chance of scarring but also prevents infection and helps to maintain the integrity of the skin. 

When it comes to male and female skin, female skin tends to heal much more efficiently after an injury than male skin. 

This means that men would benefit from encouraging the rate at which their skin heals after an injury. 

How? 

There are a number of ingredients out there that can help with this, such as: 

  • Aloe Verareduces inflammation and calms the skin, enabling it to heal more effectively 
  • Green Teaencourages skin cells to repair themselves while soothing and calming the skin too 
  • Vitamin C and Vitamin Ethese two vitamins work hand-in-hand together when it comes to healing damaged skin 
  • Tamanu Oilhelps with the formation of new skin cells, while also providing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties 
  • Turmericeffective at healing chronic skin conditions, such as dermatitis, acne and psoriasis

As you can see, there are several differences between male and female skin, and this means that the way in which men and women care for their skin should differ. If you have ever wondered why skin care products are often targeted at one gender, rather than being unisex, this is the reason why, as this enables each sex to cater for their skin’s unique needs. 

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