Back in the days, my staff would giggle if an occasional male patient came to the clinic. Today, male grooming is the norm. In fact, almost 30% of my patients are males. And why not? Men are now open to grooming and bold in their choices in order to look their best. Their hair is still their main concern. However, skin sagging, ageing, and pigmentation are slowly becoming other key skin concerns. The skincare product providers have also seen a great potential in the male grooming market and are therefore coming out with specific male skincare ranges to suit their skin and lifestyle. So what is it that makes the male and female cosmetic products different? And is there really any difference in the first place?
For starters, let us understand the skin structure:
The skin is basically a layered structure which is the same in a man and a woman. The difference simply lies in that male and female skins differ in hormone metabolism, hair growth pattern, the sweat rate, production of sebum, surface pH, and fat accumulation.
Male skin is approximately 20% thicker than female skin. Men have a higher percentage of elastin and collagen. Women have a thicker layer of subcutaneous fat than men but men have more collagen and lose collagen at a slower rate than women when past middle age.
Males sweat more, produce more sebum, and are more prone to develop alopecia (hair loss) and acne. As males sweat more, it creates an environment conducive for bacterial growth which results in the production of odour (one of the reasons why male cosmetic products have a stronger fragrance). Males tend to have more body hair which is also thicker and which gives a higher body surface area for bacterial colonization. Thus, the popularity for antibacterial soaps for men.
Considering these differences, the market is flooded with ‘Gendered cosmetic products’ which are designed keeping in mind these differences promising maximum benefit when one uses them for a specific purpose.
The most commonly demanded cosmetic range by the males are:
> Moisturizers: Because regular usage of razors results in dry skin.
> Beard oils and conditioners: To soften not only the beard hair but also the skin underneath.
> Aftershave lotions: To soften and smoothen the skin.
> Sunscreen lotion/creams: Sun protection from tanning and pigmentation.
> Skin lightening/fairness creams

> Anti-ageing creams: To fade out the fine lines, crow’s feet, and smile lines
How are they special for men
Fragrance: Body odour is stronger in men, thereby the need for a stronger fragrance in the products— lotions, body creams etc. Females prefer a flowery/ sweet smelling cream or lotion as against a male who would prefer a stronger fragrance.
> Packaging: The bottle/tubes have a more strong look, a geometric shape as compared to the female cosmetic product packaging in terms of colour, images, graphics, and shape.
> Habit: Women are more emotional in terms of their purchasing habits whereas men are more technical and functional. Men look for products that will give them results.
> Ingredients: Men prefer products which are invisible, quickly penetrable, easy to use, less process-oriented, pleasant to put, less fragrant, and have a visible effect. The ingredients thus used would be modified as compared to a female product but would be the same type of ingredients. Like the alcohol content could be higher to give a cooler after feel which would not be necessarily needed for a woman. Men prefer creams that seep in rapidly. Thus they generally prefer a lightweight cream or a serum whereas a woman would apply a thick/rich creamy lotion which would leave a velvety after feel.
The ingredients are the same, the difference lies in the composition and the requirement.
> Requirements: The difference in the cosmetic products is also based on requirements. Like, men need aftershave lotions to keep their skin smooth and beard conditioners to keep the beard soft.
6. Skin Functionality: TEWL (Trans-epidermal water loss) is the epidermal barrier which is weaker in men as compared to females. Studies have shown that testosterone can have negative effects on epidermal barrier function. Men’s skincare must therefore be formulated to assist the skin repair itself and protect the integrity of the epidermal barrier layer.
There are a variety of gendered cosmetic products available in the market but basically the male and female cosmetic products are made to serve the same purpose— either to cleanse or moisturize the skin, protect from sun, or reduce wrinkles. They differ mainly in the aesthetic sense and appeal. One could use or exchange products but this should be done only if the product serves your purpose and suits your skin type.
Too high a concentration of either ingredient should not affect your skin. For example, a female having dry skin will benefit from using a heavy moisturizer while the same used by a male could result in an acne outbreak (male skin is considered to be more oily).
Refrain from switching to another product if your current product suits your skin need. Whatever product you choose, select wisely and continue using it for maximum results! In case of a doubt, consult your skin doctor as he/she can correctly guide you in selecting wisely. For as we know our skin is a mirror that reflects radiance if well taken care of, so go ahead and PAMPER it smartly and correctly.