Ideally, men's soap should account for the unique qualities of men's skin. Compared to females, males have skin that's thicker, sweatier and oilier. These are good traits to have when it comes to extending the shelf life of attractive-looking skin. The signs of facial aging are caused, in part, by your skin's thinning collagen. Men have more collagen than women, helping hold wrinkles at bay for longer. However, due to their thicker skin, men can have a buildup of dead skin cells. For this reason, find a men's soap that has a humectant such as sorbitol that facilitates desquamation (shedding of the outer layer of skin).
Men's skin produces more sweat and oil, which helps form a protective layer that prevents damage from pollutants and toxins. However, this extra sweat and oil also means that men are more likely to have bad acne breakouts. Once this oil has been stripped away, it's important for an added moisturizer in the soap -- such as glycerin -- to provide a protective covering while sealing moisture into the skin.
Washing your face with standard hand soap isn't recommended. While perfectly good for washing hands, normal soap can be irritating to the more sensitive skin of the face. Men who use a "traditional" or basic soap are more apt to have dry, tight-feeling skin.
Men with sensitive skin may discover that many soaps contain additives that can cause irritation. An easy rule of thumb: The shorter the ingredients list, the better. There are also many companies that produce all-natural and organic soaps for men, and soaps without fragrances.
When we talk about the differences between men's soap and women's soap, the most obvious are in packaging and fragrance. Women's soaps usually come in packaging that evokes thoughts of riding a swan into a fluffy cloud of clean babies, while men's packaging usually is pretty basic, featuring a solid color and often a masculine word, such as "power" or "blast."
Women's fragrances are generally fruity, and they come in countless variations. You won't see such scents as Juniper Breeze or Cotton Blossom used in soaps marketed toward men. Men's soaps come in scents more associated with masculinity, such as sandalwood or musk, or none at all.
Want to learn more about men's soaps? See the next page for lots more information.
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Cutting Through the Clutter: Making the Most of Your Facial Cleansing Routine." Feb. 21, 2005. (Feb. 25, 2011)http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/american-academy-of-dermatology-cutting-through-the-clutter-making-the-most-of-your-facial-cleansing-routine-66336867.html
- The Chemical Reporter. "How does soap clean our hands?" BASF. Sept. 26, 2007. (Feb. 25, 2011)http://www.basf.com/group/corporate/en/content/news-and-media-relations/podcasts/chemical-reporter/soap
- Gibson, Lawrence E., M.D. "Thin skin: What causes it?" Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Sept. 26, 2009. (Feb. 25, 2011)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/thin-skin/AN01688
- Mario Badescu Skin Care. "Do Men Need to Treat Their Skin Differently?" (Feb. 25, 2011)http://www.mariobadescu.com/mens-skin-care
- Ophardt, Charles E. "Soap." Virtual Chembook. 2003. (Feb. 25, 2011)http://www.elmhurst.edu/~chm/vchembook/554soap.html
- Persadsingh, Neil, Ph.D. "Do men and women have different skin types?" Jamaica Observer. March 29, 2010. (Feb. 25, 2011)http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/different-skin-types_7504868
- Winter, Ruth, M.S. "A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, 7th Edition." Three Rivers Press - Random House, Inc. 2009.