What’s the Difference Between Men’s and Women’s Skincare?
Is gendered marketing for skincare the pink tax talking or is there a difference between men’s and women’s skincare products? The short answer is yes…kind of.
Skincare is for everyone, but that doesn’t mean everyone can use the same skincare products. That said, it’s less about the label of man or woman and more about other factors, like your skin type.
So how do you know what kinds of products work for men’s skin? Do you really need a whole different skincare routine, or can you use women’s skincare products?
It’s All in the Hormones
When it comes to skin type, hormones are a big deal. The two you’ve got to pay attention to are testosterone and estrogen. They make all the difference in how your skin reacts to products, as well as how it ages and where it’s most sensitive.
Higher testosterone levels mean more sebum and a lower skin pH. You might be thinking, doesn’t sebum make your skin oily? Yes! That’s why many men are more prone to acne whereas women tend to have more dry skin, which means that many moisturizers get marketed toward women.
Here’s where things get tricky. There are plenty of women who have acne troubles, too, and that’s where the marketing ploys come in. Companies market toward the people they think are most likely to use their products.
Still, men’s and women’s products have other differences. If you shave your face, that makes your beard area more sensitive. Plus, men have thicker skin. That has nothing to do with how you take criticism—I mean, you actually have about 25% more collagen in your skin and you lose it more slowly, which is why many men look younger than many women in their age group.
If you’re trans or nonbinary and have hormone replacement therapy, your skincare needs will probably change with your hormones. Pay attention to how your previous skincare routine affects your skin and swap a things out if they no longer work for you.
Can Men Use Women’s Skincare Products?
There may be a real difference between the products, but that doesn’t mean it’s all based on gender. As a man, you might be able to use women’s skincare products, but it’s unlikely that you’ll have the exact same skincare routine as your wife or girlfriend.
You and your partner might not have the same skin type or skincare needs, regardless of gender. Before you massage in the moisturizer, find out your skin type and then decide whether the ingredients in those products work for you. If they don’t, find something else that works better.
Many people find men’s and women’s product labeling exclusionary. What if you’re trans or nonbinary and need a product marketed toward a gender that doesn’t fit your label? In these situations, labels and product marketing matter.
As a nonbinary person myself, I know how hard it can be to find products that aren’t gendered—but it’s not impossible. Brands like Aesop, Panacea, and others have gender-inclusive skincare products that focus on skin type over gender labels. Skincare looks different for everyone, so understand your needs before you start using products.
What Are Some Men’s Skincare Routine Staples?
No matter your gender, you’ll probably need a lot of the same things for your skin. The difference lies in how much of those things you should use, and which ones make your skin feel good. Regardless of gender, your skincare routine at its most basic should include:
The fact is, you’ll see a lot of the same ingredients in women’s products as in men’s—hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, green tea, aloe vera, peptides, ceramides…sound familiar?
Your gender doesn’t mean you stop needing these things. If anything, you should adjust how much of them you put on your skin and learn which ones benefit you most so that you can bring out a healthy complexion and keep your skin strong. And whatever you do, don’t forget the sunscreen!
At Keshoume, we want you to find the right products for your skincare routine. Check out our products and see which ones work for your skin’s unique needs!
Sarah Wood - March 1, 2021
Embleton, Fiona. “4 Reasons Men Should Use Different Skincare to Women.” Marie Claire. https://www.marieclaire.co.uk/beauty/4-reasons-men-should-use-different-skincare-to-women-673872. Accessed 18 February 2021.
Katz, Amber. “So, What’s the Difference Between Men’s and Women’s Skincare?” Aedit. https://aedit.com/aedition/difference-between-mens-womens-skincare-products. Accessed 18 February 2021.
“Men’s vs. Women’s Skincare Products: Is There Really a Difference?” Skincare.com. https://www.skincare.com/article/difference-between-men-and-womens-skin-care-products. Accessed 18 February 2021.
Molvar, Kari. “Do Men and Women Really Need Different Skincare?” The Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/do-men-and-women-really-need-different-skin-care-11565279679. Accessed 18 February 2021.
Rock, Jennifer. “Mythbusting: Is Men’s Skin Different to Women’s Skin?” The Skin Nerd. https://theskinnerd.com/blogs/the-skin-nerd-blog/mythbusting-is-men-s-skin-different-to-women-s-skin. Accessed 18 February 2021.