From texture and thickness to the ability to grow facial hair, men’s and women’s skin typically have very different characteristics, with these emerging from around puberty onwards.
Catherine Gaucher, a Parisian dermatologist, explains: “Before adolescence, there is no difference. If you look at babies, they all have the same skin, regardless of their sex.”
So, exactly what changes do occur from puberty onwards?
Do Men Have Thicker Skin?
Men’s testosterone levels are significantly higher than women’s – this is the hormone responsible for everything from your deeper voice to your ability to grow a beard.
Your increased testosterone production also means you’re more likely to have a higher density of collagen, causing your skin to be thicker in texture.
Does Men’s Skin Age at a Slower Rate?
Thicker skin and higher collagen density are responsible for slower ageing in men, who tend to notice their first lines and wrinkles later than women. However, this isn’t a given – other factors can determine when your first wrinkles will appear, from genetics to sun exposure and habits such as smoking.
Of course, men do have the option of growing out their facial hair to cover any lines around the mouth – just be aware that a new beard in later life could be peppered with greys.
Are Men More Likely to Have Oily Skin?
Men are typically more likely to have oily skin than women, as their sebaceous glands can be sent into overdrive around the time of puberty, due to their accelerated testosterone production.
Catherine explains: “The sebaceous glands produce sebum and participate in the formation of the hydrolipidic film, which has the role of minimising dryness and protecting the skin from external substances or aggressors.
“While every skin has its own characteristics, men’s skin tends to be characterised by excess sebum and longer-lasting acne than women’s skin.”
Learn more about shaving with acne.
How Shaving Can Affect Men’s Skin
The act of shaving removes the skin cells on the upper layer of the skin, exposing more sensitive skin as a result. This is the case whether you use an electric shaver or a manual razor.
Catherine Gaucher says: “This action, especially if it is done daily, can leave an irritating effect, especially on young and sensitive skin. A soothing cream to calm redness and tightness after shaving is, therefore, necessary.”