Why skin care for men is different: And a dermatopsychological perspective

Have you ever wondered why skin care for men doesn’t always have the same effect as it does on women? As a dermatologist, I notice that skin care for men often differs from that for women. This has to do with genetic differences, specific skin conditions and the way men approach skin care. Men have their own unique skin care needs, which are sometimes overlooked.

In this blog we will look at differences such as skin structure, skin conditions that are more common in men and share some practical tips that can help men develop an effective skin care routine.

The skin structure of men differs significantly from that of women, not only in thickness but also in composition and function. Let’s take a look at how men’s skin differs from women’s skin.

Men generally have skin that is about 25% thicker than women’s, mainly due to higher levels of collagen. This gives their skin more firmness and elasticity, making the signs of aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines, less visible.

Men are also different in terms of sebum production; they produce more skin oil due to their higher testosterone levels. While this can have benefits, such as maintaining hydrated and young-looking skin, it also comes with challenges, such as an increased risk of oily skin and acne, especially during the teen years and young adulthood.

The structure of men’s skin is also thicker, which provides more robustness but at the same time can give a coarser appearance. This can lead to larger pores and a rougher texture compared to women’s skin.

Then there’s the shaving; a daily routine for many men that can put extra strain on the skin. This can result in razor burn, ingrown hairs and razor burn. Shaving also removes the top layer of skin, which can cause the new skin to be more sensitive and need extra care.

Men also have more sweat and scent glands, making their skin more prone to sweating. If not cleaned properly, this can contribute to a higher risk of skin infections and body odor.

Finally, there is UV sensitivity; Despite men’s thicker skin, this does not necessarily provide more protection against UV rays. Men have a higher incidence of skin cancer, highlighting the importance of sun protection regardless of gender.

Skin Care For Men

For effective skin care, it is crucial that men choose products that are tailored to their unique skin needs, taking into account their higher sebum production, thickness, and skin texture. Regular cleansing, hydration, sun protection and customized solutions for specific skin problems are essential for maintaining healthy skin.

There are several skin diseases that are more common in men than in women. This may be due to hormonal, genetic, immunological or environmental factors. Here are some examples of such skin diseases:

Squamous cell carcinoma: a form of skin cancer that arises from the epidermis. It can present as a red, scaly, bleeding, or ulcerated spot, usually on areas exposed to sunlight. Men have a higher risk of squamous cell carcinoma than women, possibly due to more exposure to UV radiation, smoking, alcohol consumption and lower immunity.

Rosacea: a chronic inflammation of the skin on the face, characterized by redness, dilated blood vessels, bumps and pimples. Rosacea is more common in women, but is often more severe in men. Men can also suffer from rhinophyma, a thickening and distortion of the nose due to excessive growth of sebaceous glands and connective tissue.

Seborrheic eczema: a skin condition with redness and flaking, especially on the face and hairy head. Seborrheic dermatitis may be caused by an overgrowth of a species of yeast, Malassezia, which is normally present on the skin. Men are more likely to develop seborrheic dermatitis than women, possibly due to higher sebum production, stress, reduced resistance or genetic factors.

Androgenetic alopecia: a form of hair loss that is influenced by male hormones, androgens. It usually starts with receding of the hairline at the temples and crown, and can lead to complete baldness in men. Women can also have androgenetic alopecia, but usually in a milder form, with diffuse hair thinning across the scalp. Androgenetic alopecia has a strong hereditary component.

Acne: a skin condition with inflammation of the sebaceous glands, which manifests itself in blackheads, pimples and sometimes scars. Acne is more common in men than women, especially during puberty. This is due to the higher production of male hormones, which stimulate the sebaceous glands. Acne can also occur later in life, for example due to stress, medication or hereditary factors

Psoriasis: a chronic, non-contagious skin condition with red, scaly patches that sometimes itch or hurt. Psoriasis can occur anywhere on the body, but especially on the elbows, knees, scalp and nails. Psoriasis is more common in men than women, possibly due to a difference in immune response or genetic factors. Psoriasis can be worsened by stress, infections, medications or alcohol.

Many men tend to limit their skin care to washing their face with water, sometimes with a bar of soap, or even skip it altogether. This is often due to the influence of cultural stereotypes, which view an extensive skin care routine as something feminine or unnecessary.

The influence of these stereotypes cannot be underestimated. They create an image where skin care for men is seen as unnecessary or even unmanly, making some people uncomfortable with the idea of ​​using or purchasing skin care products. This can lead men to neglect the care their skin needs, mistakenly thinking that their skin is naturally resilient and does not require any extra attention.

However, this minimalist approach to skin care can have detrimental effects on men’s skin health and appearance. Failure to properly cleanse, moisturize and protect the skin can cause the skin to age faster, become dry or oily, become irritated or inflamed, and become susceptible to acne, eczema, skin cancer and other skin problems.

Collagen plays a crucial role in the skin aging process, with a notable difference between men and women. Men naturally have a thicker collagen layer in their skin, which contributes to a higher collagen density. This means that signs of aging, such as wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity, often appear later in men than in women. This later onset of skin aging in men has meant that many of them do not routinely include skin care products in their grooming routine simply because they did not experience the need for them in their younger years.

However, the natural decline in collagen production begins around the same age for both men and women, approximately from age 30. From this point on, collagen levels can decrease by about 1% each year. Despite this decrease, the originally thicker collagen layer and higher density in men means that the effects of aging are slower and less noticeable compared to women in the same age range. This gradual process ultimately results in the visible signs of skin aging.

Skin Care For Men

A study conducted by researchers at The Procter & Gamble Company also focused on the differences between men and women in their attitudes and habits regarding skin care. However, the study examined the skin care needs that both men and women have, such as the need for dry skin treatment and the use of moisturizers.

The study included a questionnaire completed by 303 men and 313 women, focusing on their perception of their skin condition, skin care habits, and attitudes toward cosmetic procedures. The results showed a clear difference between men and women in the use of body skin care products. Women use a body care product more often than men.

Despite this, dry skin was a common concern for both sexes, and moisturizer was recognized as the best treatment. However, men were found to be less likely to use moisturizer, often due to the perception that it takes too much time. Notably, men were more likely to consult a dermatologist for their dry skin than women.

  1. Cleanse and wash your skin daily: Use a mild cleanser to remove dirt, excess oil and pollutants. Twice a day is enough to reduce your acne problem and keep your skin clean.
  2. Moisturize regularly: Choose a cream or ointment to keep the skin hydrated. The difference between the two depends on how dry your skin is. If your skin is normal to oily, a cream is suitable, but if it is dry and tight, use an ointment.
  3. Protect from the sun: Use sunscreen daily to protect the skin from UV rays. That cannot be said often enough. Every day I diagnose skin cancer in patients at my dermatological consultation. It is not uncommon for me to see multiple skin cancers in one person over time. The youngest patient is 6 years old, and in 1 patient more than 60 skin cancers were diagnosed and removed.
  4. Treat specific problems: Use targeted treatments for problems such as acne, redness or dry skin.
  5. Shave smart: Use a sharp razor, shave with the hair growth and use a soothing shaving gel.
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Get your day off to a refreshing start by initiating your skincare routine with the Cleansing Lotion and Cleansing Milk from Iconic Elements. Start with the Cleansing Lotion as the first step to rid your skin of impurities and excess sebum. Continue with the Cleansing Milk as a second step, which provides a deep cleanse and leaves your skin fresh and hydrated.

Follow with a day cream that contains a natural UVA filter to protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays, minimizing the risk of premature aging and sun damage. This step helps keep your skin healthy, protected and radiant throughout the day.

End your day by thoroughly cleansing your skin with the Cleansing Lotion and Cleansing Milk from Iconic Elements. In the evening it is crucial to remove all traces of the day. Follow the cleansing steps to ensure your skin is free of built-up impurities.

After cleansing, it is a perfect time to take extra care of your skin with the Firming Booster Serum. This serum is ideal for pampering your skin and reducing signs of fine lines. It helps to firm and revitalize your skin.

End your evening routine with a nourishing night cream rich in coenzyme Q10. This powerful antioxidant supports your skin’s nightly recovery process, helping you wake up with a renewed and rejuvenated appearance. This step ensures that your skin can optimally benefit from the restorative power of a night’s sleep.

Skin Care For Men
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Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu, een vooraanstaande dermatoloog, is de drijvende kracht achter Iconic Elements. Hij heeft sinds 2004 zijn expertise ingezet om een veilige en effectieve huidverzorgingslijn te creëren, geschikt voor zowel gezonde huid als huidproblemen. Iconic Elements, opgericht in 2016, is de eerste brede skincare lijn in Nederland ontwikkeld door een dermatoloog. Als medisch specialist streeft Dr. Wu naar het bevorderen van het welzijn van mensen door hoogwaardige en effectieve huidverzorgingsproducten te bieden. De proefdiervrije en vegan producten vermijden schadelijke chemicaliën en bevatten natuurlijke ingrediënten.
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