Are there gender differences in moisturizing?

male close-up smiling face with cream on in studio
Men shouldn't skimp on their moisturizing routine.
Š Rzymanek

Men and women have different communication styles, and countless self-help books are dedicated to bridging the gap. Skin care needs for men and women might not be quite as different as their approach to relationships, but both sexes should keep in mind a few disparities when weighing moisturizer options.

Generally, men experience less skin sensitivity than women. That's because males usually have thicker skin than females. As a consequence, a deodorant soap might work well for a man, but it could irritate a woman's skin. Soaps, moisturizers and other skin care products that contain fragrance, a common irritant for people with sensitive skin, might not bother men, but they could irritate women.


Despite differences in packaging designs and types of fragrance, most cleansing and moisturizing products for men and women contain similar ingredients. The biggest difference between the sexes when it comes to skin care may not be in their skin or the products they use, but in their attitudes about skin care. Women are more likely than men to pay attention to their skin, moisturizing regularly [source: WebMD]. However, men should take heed of their skin health, too. Cleansing and applying a moisturizer with sunscreen every morning can reduce the signs of aging. Anything with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 is fine unless you're spending most of the day outside, in which case an SPF of at least 30 and a hat might be necessary. Moreover, applying a facial moisturizer with retinoid before bedtime can help repair sun-damaged skin. Retinoids encourage cell renewal, reducing wrinkles and softening rough patches of the skin [source: Mayo Clinic].

Some men may already use moisturizer and sunscreen on their face. Other parts of the body, however, especially the lower legs and joints, are also prone to dryness. Ignoring chronic dry skin anywhere can lead to darkening of the skin and encourage other conditions, such as eczema [source: Jaret].

Whether you're from Mars or from Venus, it's good to think about your skin's health. For more information, see the links on the next page.


Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • Jaret, Peter. "Men's Grooming: Skin Care for Your Body." WebMD. July 21, 2009. (Sept. 4, 2009)
  • Jaret, Peter. "Men's Skin Care for Your Face." WebMD. July 21, 2009. (Sept. 4, 2009)
  • Mayo Clinic. "Wrinkles: Treatments and Drugs." Jan. 27, 2009. (Sept. 4, 2009)
  • WebMD. "Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who's the Vainest One of All?" 2007. (Sept. 4, 2009)