Welcome to Ask Curology, penned by one of our in-house medical providers in response to your questions about all things skincare. This week: skincare routines for men.How are they different from skincare routines for women? And, more importantly, do they need to be different, according to science? Here’s what our in-house expert has to say.
I’m a male with less-than-perfect skin—I get super oily, I get breakouts, and even shaving leaves my skin a razor-bumped mess. My girlfriend is super into skincare, but none of her product recommendations have worked for me. While looking for skincare for men, I came across your blog post about Curology being gender-neutral, and while I’m super curious, I’m not convinced. After all, it looks like most people who use Curology are women. Be honest: do you think your products will actually work for me even though it isn’t specialized for men?
Great question—we actually get this one all the time! First thing’s first, let me be clear that Curology absolutely counts as both gender-neutral skincare and skincare specialized for men—that’s because each member is prescribed a Custom Formula tailored specifically for their skin’s needs. We actually have a very diverse patient body of all different gender identities, including lots of people assigned male at birth!
Regardless, there certainly are some reasons why your girlfriend’s skincare routine would not have the same results in your skin, and the differences between male and female skin do play a role in this.
To be clear, there are no hard and fast rules about differences between men’s and women’s skin—so many different things impact skin beyond the gender binary. So, while we can generalize differences between “male” and “female” skin, keep in mind that factors like diet, genetics, and lifestyle also play a role.
That said, here are a few characteristics that can vary between men’s and women’s skin:
Sebum is the oil in our skin, and it tends to be higher in men due to the role hormones play in sebum production. Higher levels of androgens (like testosterone) = oilier skin.
Men’s skin tends to be thicker than women’s due to differences in collagen production. But as we age, our skin tends to become thinner, regardless of our gender identity.
Whether you prefer a full beard or a clean shave, facial hair and all the possible ways to care for it can definitely impact your skin. One of the best things you can do is to make sure to use shaving products that are free of pore-clogging and potentially irritating ingredients.
In adolescents, acne is equally prevalent across gender identities. While adult acne is more frequently associated with women, men can (and do) break out into adulthood. Acne (especially adult acne) is multifactorial, meaning that it usually results from a combination of causes.
If you’re a man who is dealing with acne, a skincare routine with proven anti-acne ingredients may help, as can making some lifestyle changes. Here are a few common acne triggers that might show up in your day-to-day:
Pillowcases. Rubbing your face against a sweaty, dirty pillowcase is a potential cause of acne. It might help to switch out your sheets once a week.
Comedogenic products. Check your personal care products—particularly beard care products—for potentially pore-clogging or irritating ingredients.
Working out. Be sure to shower and cleanse your face after your workouts. While sweat itself doesn’t cause acne, the moisture plus friction of your sweat-soaked athletic wear can play a role.
So that’s what I know as your friendly local expert. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to your Curology provider. If you’re not already a Curology member, you can get your first month of custom prescription skincare for free (just pay $4.95 to cover shipping and handling)*. Until next time…!
All my best,
Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C
We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
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Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C