Besides having facial hair, there are structural differences between a man's skin and a woman's. Androgen (testosterone) determines the masculine characteristics of male skin and gives it a different structure to female skin. While every man’s skin is unique, in general, male skin – on both the face, and the body, is thicker, oilier and ages differently.
Male skin is on average approximately 20% thicker than female skin. It contains more collagen and has a tighter, firmer, appearance.
The collagen content of male skin reduces at a constant rate whereas female skin is more affected later in life, especially after the menopause. Female skin then thins dramatically and the effects are more pronounced than in the male.
Men have more active sebaceous glands, and therefore have more pores, than women. Both their sebaceous glands and pores are larger than those of women.
Sebum production is double that of women, so male skin is oilier and shiner than female skin. As a result, their pH is lower than that of female skin and is prone to impurities and acne; this accounts for why men have longer lasting acne.
Adult males are less prone to dry skin than adult females.
In addition to being thicker, a man's skin texture is tougher.
Regardless of age, men also have a higher collagen density than women. Because collagen content is directly related to the signs of skin ageing, it has been said a woman's skin is about 15 years older than a man's of the same age. However, men are less sun savvy than women, meaning they don't use sunscreens, and could contribute to why the “15 year” skin age difference is not readily noticed. UV damage from the sun can add years to a man's skin and negate the benefit of slowed intrinsic ageing.
Signs of ageing appear later in male skin, but changes occur more quickly once they start. Men are most affected by sagging skin combined with puffy eyes and dark circles which make them look tired.
Men get wrinkles too, though they are often less of a concern than for women. Male wrinkles occur later than female wrinkles, but, when they do occur they are fully grooved.
On average men who shave subject their skin to 16,000 shaves in a lifetime. This results in skin that is more sensitive and reacts faster. Up to 40% of men have shaving- related skin problems. Younger and fair skinned men are particularly prone.
Because male skin is different to female skin, it benefits from a dedicated approach to skincare.
Protect and lubricate your skin with shaving products. These should help the razor to glide smoothly over the skin to avoid nicks and cuts. They should also be mild and soothing for sensitive skin; harsh products can remove the skin’s natural lipids, which are already under pressure, as the uppermost layer of skin cells are being removed.
As described above, frequent shaving stresses the skin and can cause irritation. It removes the uppermost layer of skin cells, exposing immature skin that is particularly sensitive to external influences.