Should men use different moisturizers than women?

Hormonally Challenged

Another consideration when talking about skin differences is our hormones. Men and women have different levels of hormones circulating throughout their bodies, and those androgens and estrogens affect many bodily functions -- from reproduction to how much hair we have (and where that hair grows) -- and even the physiology of our skin. Researchers have found that our differing hormone levels, specifically the naturally higher levels of androgens in men's bodies, can cause male skin to be oilier than female skin.

Oily skin should be moisturized just like dry skin, but the difference here isn't necessarily between male- and female-designed moisturizers, but rather between the ingredients found in products designed for oily versus dry skin. People with oily skin should look for moisturizers that are oil-free and noncomedogenic, which means they won't clog pores. Moisturizers that contain acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide may also be useful.

As men age, their testosterone levels drop and their skin tends to become drier. Dry skin sufferers should look for products with hydrating, emollient ingredients to help seal water below the skin's natural moisture barrier and attract moisture to the skin. Products that contain petrolatum (petroleum-based ingredients), lanolin, glycerin, shea butter and fatty oils, such as olive or avocado, are all beneficial to dry skin.

And what about one of the most noticeable differences: the way moisturizers made for men versus women smell. If you're choosing your moisturizer based on whether or not you want to smell like lavender, stop. Dermatologists often recommend skipping fragrances altogether because they can cause allergic reactions in sensitive skin.

Dermatologists also recommend combining your daily moisturizer with a sunscreen -- no matter your gender. Men, take note: According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it's not the sun-worshipping bronze goddesses who have the highest rates of melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer. If you're male and over the age of 50, you have the highest risk for developing the condition (although that doesn't mean the sun-worshippers are off the hook) [source: American Academy of Dermatology]. Use a sunscreen-spiked, daily moisturizer (at least SPF 15) to help prevent wrinkles and age spots while reducing your risk of developing skin cancer.

Whether you're male or female, it's important to moisturize daily with a pH-balanced, fragrance-free lotion suited for your age and skin type to keep your skin healthy, as well as looking and feeling great.

Want to learn more about skin care? Check out the next page for lots more information.

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