If you were to think about the differences between males and females, where would your thoughts go? Would you start from a position of neutrality and think that we’re all just the same anyway? Or are you a Mars vs Venus sort of person?
I’m somewhere in the middle, and could go on about gender roles, blue vs pink and nature vs nurture all day.
In This Article
But what is clear is the difference between male and female skin. This starts at the most obvious - facial hair, and goes as far as our hormonal make up. For the purpose of this article, I’m also going to refer to male as someone who is biologically male, and female as someone who is biologically female.
So, what are these differences in our skin, and how do they therefore need to be looked after? Let’s take a look!
How Does Male and Female Skin Differ?
As with most of the influencing factors that govern our skin type, our hormones are at play when it comes to male vs female skin. This time, it’s down to the male sex hormone, testosterone.
Testosterone is present in female bodies, just generally to a lesser extent than in male bodies. It’s this hormone that makes male skin typically ‘male’, and by that, I mean thicker, oilier and with coarser hair. Male skin typically ages later than female skin, but the signs of ageing tend to occur faster when they do start to appear.
Skin Thickness, Collagen and Ageing
Male skin is, on average, around 20% thicker than female skin. This is because it contains a higher level of collagen than female skin, meaning that it retains its tightness for longer.
We all lose collagen as we age, but in females, the influence of oestrogen loss during the perimenopause and the menopause causes this decline of collagen to speed up. This means that the effects of ageing are often more pronounced at an earlier age in females than in males.
But this also means that whilst in females, aging is a gradual process, often in males, it can appear to be quite sudden. Over a shorter period of time, males may notice that the signs of aging make themselves known quite unexpectedly.
Wrinkles and lines in male skin are often deeper than those in female skin that tend to be finer and less deep set.
Testosterone is also responsible for oil production. The oil naturally secreted by the skin is called sebum, and it helps to keep the skin moisturised and protected. Without it, we’d have very dry, cracked skin.
Some of us produce more sebum than others - in fact, oily skin in all genders is due in part to an excess of sebum (and dry skin is down to too little sebum).
Sebum is produced by sebaceous glands in the pores and male skin tends to have larger pores than female skin. Larger pores equals more sebum production which in turn equals oiler skin. It’s estimated that male skin produces twice as much sebum as female skin.
Oily skin can also mean a higher chance of developing or having acne prone skin and caring for oily skin using products designed to help balance sebum levels without stripping the skin is helpful for keeping shine and acne spots to a minimum.
Larger pores can also mean that male skin is more prone to blockages and blackheads, so using a pore cleansing clay mask can help to reduce excess sebum as well as unblock the pores.
On the flip side, this excess sebum production means that male skin has less of a tendency towards dryness than female skin.
The Effects of Shaving Away Facial Hair
I’ve always been obsessed with my skin, and used to love giving my nan a kiss on the cheek as her skin was always so soft. My nan was obsessed with skincare too, and so she passed the obsession down to me the minute she showed me all the tubs, pots, tubes and bottles in her bathroom cabinet.
So from a young age watching my dad shave his face, the very idea of using a blade anywhere near my face has always been alarming.
And I’m not wrong - the act of shaving away hairs from the delicate skin of the face is irritating. All that friction isn’t good for our skin. (Male skin might not be as ‘delicate’ in the soft sense as female, but it’s still more delicate than the skin on male bodies.)
Shaver’s rash is a very real problem for lots of men, as well as the obvious cuts (no matter how high tech the razor, it’s still a blade, and a sharp one at that) and the familiar bumps of ingrown hairs.
This generally means that male skin can become more stressed than female skin. Shaving not only removes hairs, but it removes the top layers of skin too, leaving the fresh, new skin cells exposed to the elements.
Male skin can therefore react to extremes of temperature, weather conditions and indoor central heating and air conditioning. Using a sharp, clean razor (rather than a blunt, dirty one that can cause more harm) is best, along with soap or shaving gel to provide a good glide.
Post shave moisturising to add back stripped moisture and to help protect the barrier function of the skin is essential!
Sönd - Your Gender Neutral Skin Best Friend!
Here at Sönd, we create good, simple, honest skincare products. We don’t have a male or a female range, because our products have been designed to work deep in the lower levels of skin, to suit all skin needs.
Whether oily, dry, acne prone, sensitive, male or female - it doesn’t matter, all are welcome! Everything from our cream cleanser and moisturisers to our toner and serum can be used on your skin, whoever you are.
There’s no male this or female that. And there’s certainly no pink or blue.
So if you haven’t tried us already, it’s probably high time you did!
Referenceshttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6116811/ https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1550857907800611 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0738081X96001058
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.