Don't we all, despite our gender, basically want the same things from a body cleanser? It should remove dirt, dead skin cells and any unwelcome bacteria that may be hanging around. Despite these fundamentals, cleansers and other skin-care products designed especially for men are growing into a sizable market, valued roughly at $20 billion in 2009 [source: Packaged Facts].
Men's skin tends to be thicker than women's skin, and we're not speaking metaphorically. Men's skin has a fatter layer of collagen within the dermis, which is the middle layer in our skin's three layers. Men also tend to have oilier skin than women, which you can blame on hormones. The higher level of androgens circulating throughout men's bodies increases the amount of sebum the body produces.
While any cleanser will do the job, men's cleansers may contain stronger ingredients because men's skin can stand up to them. Sodium lauryl sulfate, for example, is a common ingredient in soap. There's no question it'll get you clean, but some people find it to be drying -- it's known to strip away the natural oils from our skin's moisture barrier. Additionally, cleansers that contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can help prevent breakouts on oily skin, but you want to be careful not to remove all the natural skin oils. Even when skin is oily, it's important to keep it hydrated -- so treat oily skin with ingredients that remove oils and treat acne, but balance those treatments with oil-free moisturizing ingredients or risk a full-body dry-out.
Men should also consider the benefits of exfoliation. Body cleansers that double as scrubs contain different types of exfoliating particles, some harsher than others. Men's thick skin can often tolerate a more abrasive exfoliation, such as from ground fruit pits or other rough-edged ingredients. Alternately, men can try a cleanser that contains hydroxy acids to get exfoliation along with anti-aging benefits.
And, speaking of aging, as we age, our skin's needs change. Men over 50, your cleanser may need an update. As men age, the hormones that once caused oily skin are on the decline, and you'll do best to look for products that help retain moisture and prevent skin from getting too dry.