beauty, skin care
Photo: Max Von Gumppenberg & Patrick Bienert

Question: Are skin care products targeted to men any different from those targeted to women? Isn’t it just marketing to get men to wash their faces, moisturise and use SPF?

Answer:​ Men are simple: Heavy gold jars of creams and phrases like “rose oil harvested from Grasse” do nothing for them and most seem to think cleanser and lotion are frills—all they need is a razor and some shaving cream. Of course, that’s not the case, and according to Dr Brian Zelickson, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and Founder of MD Complete, men’s general skin care needs do in fact vary from those of women.

“Men’s skin is about 25% thicker with more collagen, more and larger hair follicles and more sebum production, all of which is mostly due to increased testosterone production. These structural differences make men’s skin less sensitive and able to handle stronger ingredients. However, it also makes them a bit more acne-prone, so they don’t need as heavy cream-based products,” says Dr. Zelickson.

Other factors, like daily shaving, spending more time outdoors on average and being at a higher risk for skin cancer, make skin-repairing ingredients and SPF even more essential for men. “Men generally prefer fragrance-free, all-in-one products that are easy to use,” says Zelickson, whereas women tend to prefer pretty scents and longer, luxurious routines. “Women’s products should have ingredients that will to cater to the fact that they have thinner skin and tend to lose moisture to a greater degree and get photodamage at an earlier age in general. There are many similarities, but well-formulated moisturisers, cleansers and scrubs will have significant differences for both sexes.”