Let’s talk about skincare for men. The black, blue or charcoal bottles scream: we’re for dudes! The products smell earthy-fresh. The bottles are tucked away in the back corner of the beauty. What’s this all about? Do men and women actually need different skincare products or is this just another marketing ploy? The answer is: it’s complicated. So we’re digging into the real differences in our skin to get to the bottom of it.
Is the skin that different?
Yup. It all has to do with glands, hair, and androgens like testosterone, which have a big impact on skin. Since adult males generally produce about 10 times as much testosterone as women those effects play out in some major ways:
Men have thicker skin, and we don’t mean that they can take criticism better. The skin is literally 20% thicker. Men also have a higher collagen density, and while we all lose about 1% density per year women experience a much more rapid dip after menopause.
Men have larger and more active sebaceous glands and release more and thicker sebum (a.k.a. your skin’s natural oils). Men can also have more lactic acid in their sweat. This can account for lower skin pH and better hydration levels. Women, on the other hand, have higher skin pH and are more likely to have drier skin.
Shaving is a really intense form of exfoliation, and if you shave you’re expected to do it 16,000 times in your lifetime. That can result in greater and more consistent sensitivity and inflammation overall.
Do we need different products?
So, do men and women need different skincare? Do these differences really warrant a whole different set of products?
The bottom line is, no. Because—regardless of your testosterone levels—skin always needs the same thing: a thorough cleanse, a dose of moisture, and SPF to defend it. Ultimately, the right products for your skin are the ones that align with your individual needs; oilier skin needs lighter hydration and acne prone skin needs the right ingredients to keep it clear.
The men’s skincare watch-out
Skincare designed specifically for men may have more approachable brand colors, but they can also be packed with ingredients that are awful for your skin. That spicy smell? It may be added fragrance, which can sensitize skin. That ultra-light finish? It could be a drying alcohol that can damage your moisture barrier.
To make sure you’re giving your skin the good stuff, don’t be fooled by packaging—always check the ingredients label. For tips and info, check out of posts check out our posts on alcohol in skincare here and avoiding ingredients that clog pores.
If label-scanning isn’t really your thing, we’re here to help. We started Kura to take the guesswork out of skincare. That means connecting you to the best ingredients and the right products for your unique needs. To get started with routine built around you, create a skin profile at kuraskin.com and we’ll take care of the rest.