In today’s fiercely competitive job market, research shows an increased demand for cosmetic procedures among men hoping that a fresh look will improve their chances of advancing their careers. While men are seeking the same treatments women have long embraced, dermatologists find the distinct differences between men’s and women’s skin biology, facial anatomy and aging process play a role as to why genders have different rejuvenation needs.
Information is provided by Ivan D. Camacho, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in private practice and a voluntary assistant professor of dermatology and cutaneous surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami.
Men's skin differs from women's
While men have traditionally spent less time caring for their skin than women, growing social acceptance of cosmetic procedures and increased awareness of nonsurgical options has resulted in more men pursing these treatments. Primarily driven by hormonal differences, Camacho explains what makes men’s skin different:
- Men’s skin is thicker, has larger pores, less subcutaneous fat, and generates more sweat and four times more sebum than women’s skin.
- The presence of facial hair provides structural support and contributes to fewer wrinkles in the beard area.
- Shorter hairstyles leaving the ears uncovered and balding scalps combined with outdoor occupations and hobbies more frequently exposes men’s skin to ultraviolet radiation, the most important risk factor for skin cancer and premature aging. In fact, men have a higher incidence of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
- Men’s skin also has a greater susceptibility to ultraviolet-induced immunosuppression, which also may contribute to the increased incidence of skin cancer.
- Men’s facial bone structure is stronger and more prominent.
- Men naturally have less subcutaneous fat and it decreases with aging, making men “sinkers” more than “wrinklers.”
Beyond shaving cream and aftershave
From overall concerns about looking tired to specific complaints about deep expression lines, uneven complexions, excessive hair, hair loss, shaving rashes, sweating, and age spots, men are becoming more interested in achieving greater results than at-home skin care can offer. Camacho highlighted the following treatment options that specifically address common concerns among men:
- Volume loss is one of the most noticeable characteristics of aging in men, and dermal fillers are great tools to restore a youthful appearance.
- Skin resurfacing—done with chemical peels, microdermabrasion or laser devicesis used to improve fine wrinkles, uneven skin tones, age spots and acne scarring.
- Neurotoxins, such as botulinum toxin type A, are used to soften facial expression lines and treat localized sweating.
- Laser hair removal is one of the most common nonsurgical cosmetic procedures performed for men, with the most common treatment areas being the neck (which is prone to ingrown hairs) and the back.
- Laser devices also are used to treat facial blood vessels.
Camacho's tips for men
Camacho cautioned that men should not look for a “one size fits all” approach to skin care. Rather, they should consult a board-certified dermatologist about establishing a skin-care routine based on their individual skin type and their goals for slowing the aging process. However, he offered the following basic skin care tips that all men can incorporate into their routine:
- Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more as part of your daily skin care regimen.
- Wash your face daily and after working out using a mild cleanser
- Moisturize daily. This practice is often neglected by men, especially those with acne; however, this is an important step in skin care
AAD expert advice
“The best way to slow the skin aging process is to protect your skin daily from the sun, because sun exposure causes wrinkles, age spots, and also can increase your risk of skin cancer,” said Camacho. “In addition to a basic at-home skin care routine, there is a full spectrum of options that men can consider and discuss with a board-certified dermatologist to determine the best treatments to reduce the signs of aging.
Note: treatments that a licensed esthetician may perform in a medical spa space vary by state. Please consult with your state board before adopting or performing any unfamiliar treatment.