Self-care has been talked about A LOT in the last few years and it looks different to everyone. It can include anything from an overnight getaway alone to a facial tailored to your skincare needs. Skincare for men seems to be relatively new, however. As an esthetician, I have been seeing more men come in for a facial and wanting to know how to care for their skin. That makes my heart happy!
I think we should be teaching men more about their skin and skincare; after all, they have skin just like we do. Right? Nope. Men’s skin is different than ours.
Yes, EVERYONE’S skin is different. If you follow me, you know how strongly I believe in treating your skin as an individual. What worked for Karen may not work for you. Additionally, male and female skin are genetically different to begin with.
Men have way more testosterone and it plays a big role in the composition of the male skin. One of the things that testosterone is responsible for is the thickness of the middle layer of the skin, known as the dermis. The men’s dermis is approximately 20 to 25 percent thicker than the female’s dermis.
The dermis layer of the skin is filled with nerve endings so that we can feel heat/cold, touch, vibration, pressure, and pain. It creates sweat to keep the body cool and gets rid of toxins. The dermis is where oil is produced, keeping the skin soft, smooth, and waterproof. This layer also contains collagen & elastin, responsible for the skin’s natural aging process.⠀⠀
With the dermis being thicker and filled with nerve endings, sebaceous glands, oil glands, collagen, and elastin, you would think that men would have more of each, but studies show men have fewer nerve endings than women, more active sebaceous and oil glands, and more collagen and elastin.
Studies show that women average 34 nerve endings per square centimeter while men average 17. Therefore, we feel pain more than men do. Our nerve endings receive the pain quicker and send the pain signal to our brain.
Sebaceous (oil) glands and sweat glands
Studies show that testosterone increases the production of sebum (oil) and sweat which is why men tend to have larger pores. Testosterone being the cause of the increase of sweat and oil in the skin is the reason for teenage boys being more affected by acne during puberty.
Collagen and elastin
Collagen and elastin are responsible for aging and wrinkles. Male skin has more collagen and elastin making their skin age slower and with fewer wrinkles. Not fair, I know. Studies have shown that female skin is about 15 years older than male skin! What keeps our skin looking about the same age is the use of sunscreen. 85% of ALL aging in the skin comes from sun exposure. That means only 25% of aging is actually happening from natural decay and delay in the skin (loss of collagen and elastin). Males tend to not wear sunscreen while most females do, so the 15-year skin difference is not noticed.
Testosterone is also responsible for facial hair. Although women have facial hair to some degree, it is typically not as thick or coarse as that of men. The shaving of facial hair can cause stress and irritation to the skin as well as compromised skin. Compromised skin is simply skin that is lacking in natural oils, hydration, and so much more, causing the outermost layer of the skin to be damaged. We may all, male and female, experience compromised skin at some point, but the constant shaving may damage male skin.
Men may not be as regimented as women in taking care of their skin, but they do care and it is important to understand the male skin.
Because male skin is different from female skin, and because more men are not as regimented as women, it is not a great idea to have them do nine steps of skincare when they barely even do one.
My father has been coming in to get a facial treatment at least twice a year, and every time he tells me that he wished he would have started caring for his skin earlier. It is hard to break them from their habits of not wearing sunscreen or washing their face with Dove soap, but I am so glad they are putting some effort into wanting to care for their skin.
If you are looking to help the male in your life or gift them some pampering, I, along with other estheticians, would be more than glad to service them. Our men’s skin needs some love. Why not normalize caring for skin for females and males?