There are fundamental physiological differences between male and female skin which would suggest that there should be fundamentally different skin care routines, but whilst the physiology is different the underlying needs are the same.
Both skins need to be cleansed and balanced without stripping, without sensitising and without alcohols. Both skins need acidity regulation. Both skins need exfoliation. Both need hydration. Both need replenishing, nourishing, restoring and calming and both need a daily, AM & PM routine.
The difference that needs considering is the focus on each of the 5 Step Strategy or ‘5 A DAY’.
Choosing ranges with ingredients formulated to focus on softening facial hair pre shave, smoothing skin, cooling irritation, reducing inflammation and calming sensitivity. Choosing products formulated to reduce folliculitis (inflammation of hair follicles resulting in whiteheads, pimples, bumps and infection), balance sebum production and protect from external environmental aggressors. Finding an AM & PM routine to support the physiology of male skin was the thought process behind our range for male skin.
The physiology of male skin
In short, male skins are thicker than female skins due to collagen density. Male skins appear to age more slowly due to this density. Male skin is subject to trauma, inflammation and damage on a daily basis once shaving is introduced into the daily routine. Male skin produces higher levels of sebum, leading to a higher prevalence of breakout and congestion. Male skins are naturally more hydrated, naturally produce more oil/sebum and naturally have a lower (more acidic) pH than female.
Thickness & Texture
Thickness of skin varies with location, age and hormones. Androgens (i.e., testosterone) cause an increase in skin thickness and accounts for the fact that male skin is approx. 25% thicker than women’s skin. The texture of male skin is rougher, and the top layer (Stratum Corneum) is thicker. This means that any line, wrinkle or collapse of structure, takes much longer to show on the surface.
Male skin thins gradually with age. Female skin remains constant until the mid 40’s and into early 50’s and then begins to gradually thin - after menopause it will thin significantly and continue to thin at the same increased & significant rate.
Collagen deterioration, fine lines and wrinkles – the physical signs of the ageing process – skin laxity and lack of ‘bounce’ are closely related to the collagen content of the skin. Both men and women lose around 1% of their collagen per year after the ages of 25/30 yrs, but, because of the naturally occurring collagen density difference described above, it is more common for women to show premature ageing signs faster than men - as male skin has a significantly higher collagen density than women their 1% deterioration is hardly noticeable until much later in years but when the lines do appear they are significantly deeper due to the subcutaneous fat loss.
Apparently (and hugely unfairly) female skin is genetically programmed to be approx. 15 years older than that of male skin at the same age (!)
Shaving causes mild trauma to the skin day after day, time after time. Typical shave products and male skincare routines add to the trauma. They have traditionally been over fragranced, high in alcohol content, drying and sensitising.
The average man spends 6 months of his life shaving. Regular shaving stresses the skin. Regular shaving can lead to sensitivity and irritated, inflamed skin. Shaving can lead to cuts, razor burn, folliculitis, in growing hair and also overexpose the skin to environmental/external factors as it can take the uppermost layers of skin and challenge the integrity of the first line of defence – the acid mantle. Shaving with alcohol based, scrubs or stripping products can damage the skins natural barrier function.
Acid Mantle and Surface Biome
Male skin has more lactic acid in their sweat, which accounts for a lower pH (0.05 lower) than that of female sweat. Men also sweat 2 x as much as women and are more prone to sweating – perhaps the reason why they are more hydrated (see hydration)
Male skin is generally, naturally better hydrated than female skin. This can be put down to the higher levels of facial sweating and production of lactic acid – which acts as a natural humectant for skin and is the reason it is often included in the formulas for combined AHA/BHA exfoliator/toners.
There is a difference in the sebum production and composition between male and female skin. Men have larger pores and produce more sebum. The cells in male sebaceous glands have a greater number of positive receptors for androgens, which causes higher levels of sebum production.
Post puberty there is a greater production of sebum in male than in female skin – due to androgen (testosterone) secretion – which has implications for male acne and its longevity, problem prone skin, breakouts, clogged pores, blackheads and can last longer and be more exacerbated. Male sebum secretion remains the same throughout their life. Women’s sebum secretions deteriorate with age, starting in the early 20’s.
Looking at the physiological make up of male skin, it shows that whilst all 5 steps should be fundamental on a daily basis (CLEANSE, RESURFACE, HYDRATE, DEFENCE & PROTECT) the stronger focus needs to be on the shave/cleansing process – gentle, softening and without stripping. The sebum balancing steps – cleansing and defending and the protection – calming, cooling and soothing.
Our tips for introducing the range into your everyday
• Start with the finishing product. Choosing SKIN PROTECT offers cooling, calming, soothing and moisturising benefits. Is easy to apply and sits on skin in a fine, light layer.
• Try a sample of SKIN CLEAN to see how easy it is to use and how simple to remove – enough product to try us out 2 or 3 times, so use pre, during and post to see just exactly where it fits into your shave routine.
• Apply SKIN HYDRATE to freshly shaved skin to cool and smooth.
• Try a TRIAL KIT and layer your steps to see what sits, what stops and what stays!
• For facial hair, splash SKIN RESURFACE onto palms of hands and massage deep into skin below the beard to reconfigure and stimulate deep down into pores.
• Use a drop of SKIN DEFENCE as a beard oil or moustache manipulator.