If you think it's rare to see a man shopping for skin moisturizer in the beauty aisle of a grocery store, what would you think if you saw a man turning over a package of moisturizer to examine the ingredients list on the back?
A big difference between men's and women's moisturizers is the way they smell. Men's moisturizers usually play it pretty low-key when it comes to fragrance. Often, men's moisturizers are fragrance-free, which is an added bonus for men with sensitive skin because fragrances can cause irritation.
Men are at higher risk of skin cancer than women, and around 20 percent of all people will get skin cancer. For this reason, it's important that any moisturizer -- and especially men's -- provide protection from the sun. Another good reason? As much as 90 percent of the skin's visible aging is caused by sun exposure [source: The Skin Cancer Foundation]. Men's moisturizers should have a minimum SPF of 15, but a higher SPF would be more beneficial. And make sure the moisturizer blocks both UVB and UVA rays -- UVB rays damage the outer layers of skin and cause sunburn, and UVA rays cause premature aging and cancer.
There's practically no limit to what men's moisturizers can contain, so we'll look at some of the more common ingredients:
- Water: This is the main ingredient of moisturizers, and it serves to carry oil-based ingredients onto and into the skin, but oil-based ingredients also help lock water into the skin.
- Glycerin: This humectant draws water to the skin's outer layer from the air and from deeper layers of skin.
- Petrolatum & stearic acid: These occlusives help block the evaporation of water from the skin.
- Triethanolamine (TEA): This emulsifier helps to blend the oil/water mix that makes up moisturizer.
- Magnesium aluminum silicate: This substance is used as filler in moisturizer.
- Mineral oil: Often a primary ingredient in moisturizers, it helps lock in moisture but may also block pores and cause acne.
Next, we'll take a closer look at women's moisturizers.