You’re a man and you’re worried about your appearance: we applaud you for admitting it! But there’s just one problem: you’re totally confused about the active ingredients (and we don’t blame you): retinol, vitamin C, acids… You don’t know where or how to find them, which are for you, and the most frustrating part of all, skin care products for men are pretty limited. But, do you really need to limit yourself to buying skin care products “for men”?
Every day more and more men are becoming concerned about their physical appearance and invest in products to help them look more put together. Times have changed and the stereotypes that once relegated skin care to the female population are luckily now dead and buried. The skin care industry has taken notice and reacted quickly during the last few decades, going from only having a few traditionally male products (shaving, cleansing and hair gel products and not much else) to creating a wide range that includes everything from moisturisers for face and body to exfoliators, masks, anti-aging treatments, etc.
This may surprise you: the needs for male and female skin from a dermatological perspective are the same, although it is true that male skin in general has some unique characteristics:
- Even though the structure of men and women’s skin is identical, meaning they have the same layers, the thickness of the stratum corneum (the outermost layer) is about 20-24% greater in men.
- Men produce a greater amount of androgenic hormones, like testosterone among others. Their sebaceous secretion (the oil in your skin) regulated by testosterone, tends to be greater in men than in women throughout their lifespan. That’s why men normally have more blocked pores than women and that their acne tends to be more severe and long-lasting.
- The male dermis (the innermost layer of the epidermis) contains a higher amount of collagen, with a rougher, bumpier texture, which from the outside, presents as firmer, tighter skin. That’s why the signs of aging (wrinkles, under eye circles and bags) tend to appear later in men, although they appear more suddenly.
- Men’s sweat glands produce a more acidic eccrine secretion, which means that their skin is better hydrated.
- Lastly, facial and body hair is more abundant in general in men. If they shave frequently, the direct consequence is that the stratum corneum is constantly being exfoliated, and since the cutaneous barrier is being damaged, skin is more irritable or sensitive.
Skin care for men
In that case, are there enough differences to justify taking home a skin care product for “men” over one that’s unisex or for women? Well… yes and no.
Skin care lines for men focus on the general needs of men’s skin, and above all, on their subjective preferences. Men usually look for products that are fast and easy to use with immediate results, light and liquid textures that don’t leave an oily residue, and that comfort their skin. They also prefer fresh and subtle scents so it seems like they’re not using anything.
Skin care products are also highly visual products with a look and feel we like to identify with. That’s why the male lines tend to have more serious, minimalist packaging with darker, more neutral colours.
Another interesting fact is that men are more loyal to their favourite brands and products! It’s hard for them to change once they’ve found the product that works perfectly for them. They also tend to be more minimalistic in the amount of products in their routines and choose shorter routines.
At MiiN, we’re big on choosing the perfect products for every skin type, for your skin, regardless of where you fall on the gender spectrum. We believe that pretty, attractive packaging that represents our personality is a sensory pleasure, but not the main reason we should choose a product, since that, just like with people, what’s on the outside isn’t as important as what’s on the inside of a skin care product: its formula.
Which products should I use if I’m just starting out and I’m lost?
If you want to start taking care of yourself, the basic principals are the same as for any skin type in the world: cleansing, hydration and sunscreen.
The first thing you should ask yourself when choosing products is, what’s my skin type? As we’ve already said, men tend to produce more oil, but that might not be your case. One easy tip is to check if you get a lot of oily build-up on your T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) during the day, giving you an oily shine. If the answer is yes, you probably have oily skin. If you have any questions about your skin type or what it needs, write us! We’d be happy to help.
Cleansing in the morning and at night is fundamental for giving your skin a healthy appearance. With the right cleanser that’s suitable for your skin type, in the morning you’ll remove the oil that built up while you were sleeping, and at night you’ll cleanse away any remaining pollution, dust, sweat and dirt that adhered to your skin during the day. The best of all is that you can use these cleansers while you’re showering: just apply the product to your face, and while it’s taking effect, you can wash the rest of your body, your hair or brush your teeth.
Do you go to the gym? Pack a bottle of your favourite cleanser in your gym bag and cleanse your skin right after working out.
If you have oily skin, choose gel textures that create a foam and don’t leave your skin feeling tight, like the Low pH Good Morning Gel de Cosrx. Dry skin? You’ll love the mousse texture of the Rich Moist Foaming Cleanser Klairs and its star ingredients: hyaluronic acid and olive oil. Do you travel a lot or are you always in the gym? We think you’ll love the enzyme powder wash by Dr. Oracle, which is perfect for travel (you can even bring it in your carry-on) and easy to use. But please, never wash your face with body wash or hand soap! Its pH isn’t right for your face and could damage your skin’s properties as a protective barrier.
After cleansing, you need to hydrate your skin. Why hydrate? Your skin is constantly losing water and the goal is to replenish it to make it bouncier and softer and less tight. A good practice is to use a product that you like the texture of. It’s been proven that if you like using the product, you’ll use it more often and you’ll see its effects sooner. There are products for everyone!
You’ll prefer serum, gel or light cream textures if you have oily or acne-prone skin. The serum textures tend to be watery, absorb quickly, and even though they’re designed as the step before hydrating, they can also work well as a single step: we recommend using the Hyaluronic Acid 100 from Mizon. One lotion you’re sure to love since it absorbs ultra-fast is the Green Tea Lotion by Benton, and a cream that’s specifically designed to treat imperfections like blackheads and blemishes it the Goodbye Redness Centella Gel by Benton.
Tight or irritated skin after shaving? The Midnight Blue Calming Cream by Klairs will soothe and regenerate the epidermis thanks to its centella asiatica extract. Do you have dry skin and prefer fragrance-free products? Try the Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream from Benton. Are you looking for an all-in-one? Klairs has the perfect product for you, the Supple Preparation All Over Lotion: 250 millilitres of hydration for your face and body.
Did you know that the sun is the main factor that speeds up the skin’s aging process? It’s not enough just to protect your skin when you go to the beach. You need to protect it every day of the year (just during the day, or course). To have the most youthful looking skin, you have to use sunscreen.
Just like in the hydration step, with sunscreen, you need to find a texture that you like. There’s no better defense against the sun than using sunscreen!
Looking for more? There’s something for everyone.
If you’re on the go all day long and your eyes are tired, you could definitely benefit from using an eye cream like Benton’s Fermentation Eye Cream, or why not? Some cooling under eye patches fresh from the fridge to help de-puff and refresh your eyes like the Marine Energy Eye Mask from Shangpree.
If you have blocked pores and visible blackheads, there’s no question: the salicylic acid in the BHA Blackhead Power Liquid from Cosrx will help cleanse your pores and give your skin a more even texture. It also works wonders for acne-prone skin to prevent breakouts.
To treat unfortunate blemishes and banish them in a hurry (a TOP product for the night before a big meeting or in the hours before a big date): Acence Blemish Out Pink Spot by Mizon.
Want to treat yourself? Once a week, use an exfoliator like the Radicalclear Mild Peel Pearl by Dr. Oracle followed by a sheet mask for your specific skin type. You’ll notice a big difference!
And finally, one last note. Who cares if the formula of your dreams comes in pink packaging? The important thing is that it’s perfect for your skin and leaves it feeling irresistible!
We hope you enjoyed our article – we made it just for you!