Are Men's Moisturizers Different from Women's?

While the anatomy of the skin is the same from person to person, there are some gender differences in the physiology of our skin. But is there really a need for skin care products based on gender, and specifically something as universal as moisturizer? To answer this question, we take a look at the differences between male and female skin.

The role of moisturizers

Moisturizers are generally grouped into four main categories depending on their mechanism of action: emollients, humectants, occlusives and protein rejuvenators.* 

The main role of a moisturizers is to hydrate, balance and restore the skin. High active, low moisture blends naturally support the skin’s ability to produce and maintain its own hydration, instead of layering on moisture for temporary gain. While antioxidant, nutrient-rich blends also stimulate collagen production to repair, restore and condition the skin, making it stronger and fitter.

But is there really a need for skin care products based on gender, and specifically something as universal as moisturizer? To answer this question, we'll first take a look at how the skin works for men and women.

Is male skin different to female’s?

While the anatomy of the skin is the same from person to person, there are some gender differences in the physiology of our skin.

Skin Texture

  • Androgen stimulation causes an increase in skin thickness, which accounts for why a men skin is about 25% thicker than a women’s. In addition to being thicker, a men skin texture is tougher.* 
  • Differing hormone levels, specifically the naturally higher levels of androgens in men's bodies, can cause male skin to be oilier than female skin.* 

    Collagen and Elastin

    • Regardless of age, men have a higher collagen density than women - the ratio of collagen to the thickness of the skin, and their collagen and elastin levels in male skin degrade at a slower rate. This is why women appear to age faster than men of the same age - by about 15 years!
    • Both men and women start losing about one percent of their collagen once they turn 30.* 

    Behavioural Factors

    • Regular shaving makes male skin more stressed than female skin. Daily shaving can cause irritation because it removes the uppermost layer of skin cells, exposing immature skin to external influences.
    • Men are less likely to engage in preventative measures to limit the effect of extrinsic factors in their aging process. For example, men use sunscreens less often than women. The damage caused by UV radiation can counter the benefits men experience from slowed intrinsic ageing.

    Should men use different moisturizers than women?

    Not really. The difference here isn't necessarily between male and female-designed moisturizers, but rather between the ingredients found in products designed for oily versus dry skin. People with oily skin should look for moisturizers that are oil-free and noncomedogenic - they won't clog pores.* 

    Whether you're male or female, you should moisturize daily with a product that is suited for your age and skin type, to make your skin healthy and strong so it can protect and defend itself naturally. Instead of slathering moisture on the surface of your skin where it can only be marginally effective, use products that optimize your skin function, helping you produce and retain more of your own natural moisture, both on and below the surface.

    Sources:
    Research Gate
    Dermalogica
    How Stuff Works
    Dermal Institute