Facial hair aside, a man's skin is about 25 percent thicker and tougher than a woman's skin due to testosterone. This creates differences in how their skin ages. For instance, a man's skin produces more sebum (oil) for a longer period of time than a woman's. They tend to be acne-prone longer as a result. Yet the oil protects their skin, keeping it naturally hydrated longer than a woman's skin. With these marked differences, can men and women use the same skin care products with a reasonable certainty of the same results? Yes and no--that's as clear as a mud mask, right?
Naturally Thick-Skinned Men
While men's thicker-skinned faces can withstand stronger formulations, they can still use the same brands of skin products as women. However, men tend to prefer products that cover all the bases--clean, moisturize, protect--all in one product and without all the fragrance. Women's skin care products tend to be honed to one type of skin issue than mens skin care product. For instance, since women's skin is biologically thinner, it tends to wrinkle more and wrinkle more quickly. Thus, women tend to buy products that they feel will address their particular skin care issue--in this case, a wrinkle-reducing moisturizer or a product that will "fill-in" wrinkles.
Crow's Feet And Laugh Lines: The Oily Solutions--Years Apart
Do men need all that heavier, extra-creamy moisturizer? Since men tend to produce more sebum, not really. It just might make their face more acne-prone. This tends to change as men traipse into middle age. It's all about the oil and the collagen. Men tend to retain oil and collagen longer, making their skin stronger and more able to snap back from life's biological and emotional stresses. Women begin to lose collagen in their thirties due to hormonal changes, which is why skin-replenishing formulations are marketed heavily to that demographic. In a nutshell, men tend to wrinkle, get crow's feet and those inevitable laugh lines later than women do, so they don't look for or buy products in the same way that women do.
One note: many men shave their face regularly. This exfoliates the outer layer of skin, usually on a daily basis. Since men tend, as a rule, to spend more time outdoors than women, they may be at higher risk for skin cancer. Both men and women need to use skin care products with SPF added. Men's after-shave and moisturizer with an SPF 30 is recommended.
Cost: The Pink Tax
Women's skin care products cost more than men's skin care products. This is called the pink tax or gender-based pricing. You will pay the pink tax unless you live in California, which is the only state currently opting to ban it. The pink tax isn't an arbitrary practice. Women's products are packaged to entice women with their containers, colors, and fragrances. Men's packaging and marketing--even if they have the same product formulations--are designed with straightforward, often bold coloring containers and sans fragrance.
Men can use the same formulations as women, but there's enough biological difference in skin type, texture, and cost to warrant product comparison. Keep in mind your lifestyle, gender, and unique needs for best product results.