Men’s Skin: Why You Need to Care for It Differently

Yes, men and women are biologically different and one of the most obvious differences is in their skin. Male skin is approximately 20-30% thicker than female skin, contains more collagen and elastin, and is therefore slower to thin and show the effects of aging than female skin.

Also, as a result of the male hormone testosterone, men tend to:

Have more sebaceous (oil-producing) glands and larger pores than women, giving their skin a rougher appearance.

Have oilier, more acne-prone skin, which may make them reluctant to use a moisturizer. Read on for why this is a mistake.

Have facial hair. This can complicate male skincare, depending on whether or not they shave.

Given all of these differences, it’s no wonder that men’s skincare differs from female skincare. Here’s what you need to know:

Pay special attention to cleansing. Those larger pores trap dirt, which clings to the oil in your skin. Men need to wash their skin–and especially any areas prone to acne–morning and night with a gentle cleanser that lifts dirt and impurities, while not stripping your skin of oil and over-drying it. (This is especially true if you shave.)

Wear (and eat) your sunscreen. Just like women, men need to protect themselves from the harmful effects of the sun. This means applying a sunscreen rated SPF 30 or higher daily and wearing long sleeves and a hat when you will be outdoors for an extended period of time. Like women, men can also increase the effectiveness of their sunscreen by eating foods rich in lycopene, including pomegranates, watermelon, and tomatoes.

Eat your water…and other essential ingredients. Although male skin is denser, thicker, and contains more collagen and elastin than female skin, men still need to maintain cellular health by eating water-rich foods (particularly fresh fruits and vegetables and proteins) and staying hydrated. Also make sure to take your supplements, particularly Vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids, and a multiple vitamin. As you age and begin to lose collagen (the protein in connective tissue), you might also consider a supplement that includes glucosamine chondroitin and MSM, to help build collagen.

Manage your stress. Stress takes as much of a toll on men as women and shows on your skin. To counter it, men need to get enough sleep (the body’s designated time for healing and repair); get regular exercise (itself a great stress-reliever, plus resistance exercise can help you build muscle mass, while aerobic exercises help keep your heart strong); be kind to your mind with some form of contemplative practice such as meditation or my own Insight cards; and care for yourself socially, emotionally, and spiritually. Stress management is not optional; it is required.

Wear your moisturizer. Even though male skin tends to be oilier than female skin, it still benefits from a protective layer of moisture to hydrate the skin and defend it from the elements. If you’re acne-prone, choose a lightweight moisturizer that also nourishes the skin with antioxidants and vitamins.

Shave like this. Although shaving exfoliates skin, stimulating new cell production and giving it a more youthful appearance, shaving can also dry and irritate the skin, causing rashes, bumps, nicks, ingrown hairs, and dry, flaking skin. So if you shave, do so with a lubricating cream or gel (or perhaps an oil-based cream you cleanse with); shave in the direction the hair grows, not against it; dry the razor after each use (don’t keep it in a moist shower); and follow your shave with a lightweight, nutrient-rich moisturizer.

Consider a facial. A soothing facial is one of the best self-care purchases you can buy, combining stress relief with soothing, moisturizing skincare. Now that personal care services are available again, consider treating yourself to one. Or, as Father’s Day approaches, consider giving one to your favorite Dad.

Anticipate andropause. Just as women experience declining estrogen levels with menopause, men can experience declining testosterone levels, called “andropause,” as they age past their 40s. Declining testosterone levels can result in a loss of collagen and elastin in the skin, making it that much more important to be faithful to your skincare regimen.

Be grateful for the skin you’re in. Do you know how many women would LOVE to have your collagen? Treat it well!

To your health and Modern Wellness!

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