Probe the shelves of any departmental store, and you will find a plethora of women's skincare products that pop up, outnumbering the meekly stocked men's line of skincare by a wide margin. While it is quite clear that there is a distinctively different market for men’s and women's skincare products, the fact is that men and women have different skin types and hence require specific products targeting their needs. So, not just in terms of fragrance and packaging, men and women require completely different skincare products to suit their needs.
Men Vs. Women: Skin Attributes
According to Dr. Ted Lain, MD, and Chief Medical Officer, Sanova Dermatology, there are various attributes in men’s skin that make it age differently than that of women. Dr.Ted says that the higher collagen content makes a man's skin 25% thicker than that of a woman while the sebum glands in men are quite active and pave the way for balanced moisturization during his adult years, unlike women.
Additionally, in the case of women, the skin consistently maintains a particular level of thickness and moisture content until menopause. Post menopause, there is a drastic change in the skin due to a decrease in estrogen levels. In the case of men, aging happens more stably.
Sebum secretion also affects the skin type. Men tend to have a greater tendency for acne and issues like rosacea on account of higher and more stable sebum secretion in their adult years, whereas women generally tend to have dry skin. Men also tend to have larger pores.
The pH Factor
Men and women also tend to have a diverse pH balance. The skin surface pH in women is higher than that of men, and this adds to the dry skin problems faced by women.
On the other hand, these very factors make men’s skin more robust compared to women’s skin. But what does all this mean for the skincare products that you generally buy?
Well, there are various gender-specific concerns on account of these variations in skin types among men and women. These issues warrant the use of specialized products. Men, for instance, tend to have skin issues that arise from their regular shaving routines. These include problems like burning sensation, irritation, and ingrown hair. Another problem is folliculitis (inflammation of hair follicles due to bacterial or fungal infection) in the beard region. Hence, men require specialized products targeting these issues.
You can learn more about these products here.
Women tend to have various hormone-related skin concerns like melasma, acne issues during menstrual periods, pregnancy-related skin issues, menopausal rashes, and so on. On account of all these, it is common for women's skincare products to have more skin lightening formulas compared to those for men.
According to Dr. Brian Zelickson, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of MD Complete, an exclusive skincare line, the structural differences make men’s skin less sensitive, and thereby they can handle more potent skincare ingredients. Also, men's skins are more acne-prone and, hence they do not prefer more cream-based formulations. Zelickson adds that men prefer fragrance free products, and given their tendency to be minimalistic, they prefer all-in-one products as against using multiple skincare products. Women, on the other hand, prefer scented and luxurious products. As their skin is thinner and tends to lose moisture quickly, women's products have better-formulated moisturizers and cleansers.
Women’s Skin Care Ranges
Women’s skincare products tend to be more complex and richer in texture. They come in several formats like gels, crèmes, lotions, milk, jellies, oil-based formulations, and so on. These are predominantly driven by the urge to use several products based on their diverse preferences. On account of these issues, women's skincare product lines are more segmented like fine lines, wrinkles, oil control, even tone, etc.
Men’s Skin Care Range…Do We Need One?
Do men's skincare ranges contain anything more than women's? Well, they may contain the same general ingredients as those found in women’s products. However, the composition varies.
Apart from the gender-specific skin attributes, the general ingredients in skincare products are for men and women are similar. For instance, if there are spots on the skin, then the skin, irrespective of the gender, may require the same salicylic acid.
The key difference is that men need stronger ingredients on account of their thicker skin type.
- Men's skin is thicker, has more collagen, and increased sebum production.
- Gender-specific skin concerns necessitate more segmentation for women's skincare products.
- Men's skincare products have similar or the same ingredients as those for women.
- Women's skincare is more luxurious and more lavish in texture, given their diverse preferences.
- Men's skincare is more compact, versatile, and are formulated to suit and be effective on men’s thicker skins.
Though many skincare products can be unisex, depending on the specific needs of the skin, a person should pay attention to who the product is intended for and the ingredients it contains.