• Men’s Skin – The Difference

    Dr Claudia AguirreDid you know more men die of melanoma in the US than women? (According to CDC 2006 statistics). Are men more genetically predisposed to get skin cancer? Probably not. The reason may lie in how men care for their skin- and we can make a difference by educating our male clients and patients.

    Men, just like women, deal with issues like aging, pigmentation, sensitivity, and acne. However, just as there are keen differences between the skin conditions of men and women, every man’s skin is as unique as his fingerprint. His skin health is shaped not only by his genes, but also by his lifestyle choices. A 20-year-old surfer’s skin is different than a 50 year-old businessman’s skin and will require different targeted products.

    The biggest difference between male and female skin is due to the male sex hormones known collectively as androgens. It is these higher levels of testosterone that result in all the characteristics of an adult male- muscle development, greater upper body strength, facial and body hair growth, deepened voice, and ‘manly’ odor, as well as a tendency toward more active and aggressive behavior. Testosterone increases oil secretion all over the body, as is particularly evident on the face. This increase begins at puberty and remains relatively constant thereafter. On the plus side, sebum provides natural moisturization for the skin.

    Sebum and sweat, along with epidermal lipids make up the oil on the surface of the skin. Although this mixture provides protection from environmental agents and prevents water loss, it also provides the perfect breeding ground for the bacteria P. acnes. The presence of these bacteria, along with the excess pore-clogging oil, set the stage for the onset of acne. Thus, it is no surprise that acne in young males is more severe and long-lasting than in females. By adulthood, however, most men normalize their oil production so that acne is not a life-long skin problem.

    So how can we get men to care for their skin properly? Men traditionally do not show early signs of skin aging unlike most women. So, they’re not easily persuaded into using moisturizing creams early in life. Despite their thicker skins, we must reassure men that proper skin care is key in resolving the issues that come later in life. As we know, American men have a greater incidence of skin cancer than women .These scary statistics should serve as an impetus to educate men about the need for daily defense against sun damage while providing solutions targeted to male skin.

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