The latest industry trend of celebrity-backed skin-care lines aren’t just relegated to our favorite female starlets and pop singers. Famous members of the opposite sex like John Legend, Michael Strahan, Brad Pitt and Pharrell have also launched skin-care products that serve their gender. Newer brands like Blue Atlas, ELVY LAB, Disco and Geologie have also launched lines with specifically formulated skin care to meet men’s needs. But what are those needs? Do men need a different cleanser and moisturizer than their female counterparts? Our experts seem to think so.
“Skin is skin, so many of the same principles and products I recommend regardless of sex, however, there are some keys distinctions between skin in men and women that it can be helpful to recognize when customizing a plan,” says Campbell, CA dermatologist Amelia K. Hausauer, MD.
1. Male Skin is Significantly Thicker
If you think men are blessed with tighter skin, you’re not wrong. “On average, men have approximately 20 percent thicker skin than females,” says Dover, OH, facial plastic surgeon David Hartman, MD. “Females have softer, more delicate skin relatively.”
Face creams, moisturizers and serums for men may be more lightweight in comparison to women’s products and formulated for oilier skin. “Male skin, in general, is thicker, oilier and ages differently than female,” adds Dr. Hausauer. “Men also have more collagen.”
2. Men Have Facial Hair
A lot of men hide their skin behind facial hair notes Dr. Hartman. “Beards and whiskers tend to cover acne scars, sun damage and aging skin,” he says.
“Facial hair can have a rejuvenating effect, but it can also lead to razor bumps, itching and more,” says Dr. Hausauer. Newer grooming products like face and beard washes clean pores and remove residue while promoting healthy facial hair growth.
3. Men Put Less Emphasis on a Routine
According to Dr. Hartman, men may not put the same emphasis on a consistent skin-care routines as women. “They may not wash their faces as often and tend not use retinol or sunblock as consistently,” he explains. For this reason, many male-centric lines feature minimized steps that are easy to follow.
Nanuet, NY dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, MD agrees: “Although younger guys seem more willing to follow a skin regimen, my generation and older are tougher to crack. The key difference I find between men and women is what they are willing to do and how they can incorporate it into their shaving routine,” she says.
4. Male Skin Can Handle Harsher Actives
Dr. Waldorf says men should consider upgrading their cleansers and using retinol at night: “Many men use one product for head to toe. If I can switch them to Dove, I’m thrilled. If willing, add a retinoid at night. In general, men tolerate retinoids more because they often have more sebaceous skin. However I still ease them into it.”
“I usually create a routine that prioritizes cleansing, especially after exercise,” adds Dr. Hausauer. “I’ll also recommend the use of a retinoid or prescription tretinoin to combat acne as well as help with skin turnover, pore size and wrinkles; and sunscreen often a moisturizer with SPF.”
5. Men Don’t Experience Menopause-Related Collagen Loss
Another difference between male and female skin is that men don’t experience menopause where collagen takes a dip. At the same time, Dr. Hausauer says they produce more sebum and have larger pores, and acne and blemishes can be more common, especially for those on testosterone therapies.
6. Men Prefer Fewer Steps
Males more successfully adopt skin-care routines that are as simple as humanly possible notes Dr. Hartman. “Men almost always want fewer steps. Having male-specific multi-use products that simplify their routines makes having healthy, younger-looking skin more accessible for men,” says the surgeon.