Do Men Really Need Different Skin Care Products Than Women?

Anti Aging SkinThese days it seems as if more and more men are taking an interest in skin care.   My husband is diligent about using a great cleanser (at least in the AM) and a high quality anti-aging skin cream on a daily basis.   In fact when I first met him I jokingly told him I was glad he was a "metrosexual," because I could talk to him about exfoliators and sun block.

Several skin care companies now have skin care lines targeted just for men.  These include not only shaving creams and aftershave, but moisturizers, anti-aging treatment creams, cleansers and sun blocks.  The most obvious difference is the packaging; designs targeted for men have more masculine appeal such as the use of dark colors (e.g. black).  Many of these products do not contain scents and if fragrance is used, it is more musky and masculine than those targeted for women.

Many skin care manufacturers insist that men need different products than those developed for women because they have very different skin than women do.  And while it is true that men tend to have thicker and oilier skin due to higher testosterone levels (and this is a broad generalization), should men avoid using products typically geared toward women?  In my opinion, the answer is "no."

Because men shave they do have some unique issues and some added benefits; shaving provides daily exfoliation, which can help keep skin softer and smoother.  However, shaving can cause ingrown hairs on the face and neck along with possible irritation.  Also some men use bar soap for the facial area which can be very drying (particularly deodorant soaps).  Soaps tend to be very alkaline and therefore drying.  Educating men on the merits of gentle skin care suitable for their skin type could go a long way in keeping their skin more youthful, comfortable and balanced.

What it really comes down to is an examination of the ingredients typically found in a men's skin care line compared to those that were developed for a female demographic.  If we were to compare a moisturizer targeted for women versus one for men, would we see a significant difference?   The answer is probably not.  For example, one lotion specifically developed for men contained the following "primary" ingredients: aloe vera, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, green tea, vitamin A, vitamin C, retinyl palmitate and lactic acid.  A facial cleanser from another company specifically designed for men contained a number of typical detergent cleansers such as ammonium lauryl sulfate (also used in many shampoos), Cocamide DEA, plus several botanical extracts and lavender oil.  None of the above ingredients are different than those used in products that have been primarily sold to women.  In fact, it is not unheard of for some companies to repackage a line typically sold to women (with the exact same ingredients) and sell it to men. 

Is there anything wrong with men having their own unique skin care lines?  Not necessarily, if this is something that makes them feel good.    But, in my opinion, it just isn't a necessity and is basically a marketing ploy.   Both men and women can enjoy using the same skin care lines!


Dr. Teri Dourmashkin holds a doctorate in Health Education from Columbia University and is the Founder and President of La Vie Celeste Skin Care, Inc.  She is a passionate believer in gentle and safe skin care which is simple, yet remarkably effective.  To learn more visit   

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