Being a male aesthetic doctor, I have a special interest in skincare for men. One of the most common misconception that bothers me is that many people (guys and ladies alike) feel that skincare is only for men who are vain or metrosexual. Some guys feel or see the need to be conscious about skincare and how they look due to social pressures – be it class reunions, keeping up with good-looking partners, or re-entering the dating scene, etc. The list goes on. Dr. Ian Tan (Medical Professional at IDS Clinic)
Regardless the case, it is never too early for guys to start applying serums or creams on their faces. I am sure most, if not all of us have been awed by how flawless the skin of some Korean celebrities looks on television. Truth is, they start skincare at a really young age.
Vanity For Guys?
To address this misconception. I would like to state that there is nothing effeminate or vain about skincare. Vanity is not and should not be predominantly the prerogative of the ladies. According to the dictionary, being ‘vain’ is defined as showing pride in or concern about one’s appearance, which should not be gender exclusive really.
There’s nothing feminine about it – a guy with a well-maintained face gets noticed as it represents who you are and helps makes an impression. It really doesn’t hurt for a man to be concerned about his appearance. On the contrary, I think it hurts more to see a man who does not bother about his appearance at all. While not the only criterion, looking and feeling good can translate to more success in the workplace. Studies have shown that attractive people are usually hired sooner, get promotions more quickly, and are paid more than their less attractive co-workers. Putting in the effort to improve on your appearance is definitely worth the while.
When it comes to skincare, men have traditionally kept it simple. It is not uncommon to hear guys using their bar soap or body wash for their face, and that being the only step in their skincare regime. Some slightly more diligent ones may use a proper facial cleanser and infrequently include a scrub and a moisturizer. Though I don’t deny having done the same, I generally do not recommend this, as ingredients in body soap are typically very drying. Using a product that’s drying not only makes us feel uncomfortable, but sets us up for having irritated, itchy skin.
Thankfully, the mindset of the modern man is changing. We workout, we follow fashion advice, we diet, we sport great hairstyles, and now… we do skincare. Man today understands the importance of good skin hygiene and skincare. It’s more than just a detail. It’s the final touch to pulling our image together – to present our best in a competitive world where everything matters.
Differences In Men & Women’s Skin
Have you ever pondered about the myriad of products that are found in your female partner’s bathroom shelves? What is in the makeup of their skin that requires so much attention compared to men? Is there a difference apart from the fact that men have more facial hair? The answer is yes. Men’s skin is about 25% thicker with more collagen, more and larger hair follicles and more sebum production, all of which is mostly due to increased testosterone production. These structural differences make men’s skin less sensitive and able to handle stronger ingredients. However, it also makes them a bit more acne-prone. Hyperpigmentation (discoloration of the skin) is also less of an issue for men since they do not experience the type of hormonal activity that contributes to changes in skin color.
So, is it OK to use your girlfriend / wife’s bottle of serum or cream? Using your female partner’s skincare products is perfectly fine! (But FOR SAFETY REASONS, please try to make sure that your significant other gives you the green light.) Many skincare products, even those that are developed for women, are fine for use for both men and women. Most of the products essentially contain the same ingredients but bottled in different packaging and scents. If the scent is too “feminine”, look for one that’s more unisex or fragrance-free instead.
After saying all these, the rebel in some of us may still just want to stick to soap and water. But on a serious note, if one can afford, why deprive the skin of the good stuff? Invest (not indulge) especially in skincare with a focus on acne control and anti-aging and look for ingredients like Vitamin C, retinoids and niacinamide. Speak to your friendly aesthetics doctor if you need any help with your skin assessment and recommendations!