All right, you guys. Listen up.
Put down the power tools a minute, and pay attention.
We’ve got to talk about your skin.
No, your skin isn’t like your wife’s skin
Men’s skin doesn’t look like women’s skin. That’s because it isn’t women’s skin. It’s different.
The typical male dermis is about 20 percent thicker than female dermis. You’ve also got a higher collagen density than your wife has. Your skin is harder than hers, and less flexible.
You can read about it if you want.1
No, men’s skin isn’t like women’s at all. Men get bald a lot, and women kind of don’t. That’s androgen and estrogen, and all that. Men also produce about four times more sebum than women do. That’s why you get large pores, and acne, that scars. Men even have different skin bacteria than women do. It’s why you’re more prone to skin infections. Shaving every day doesn’t exactly help, either.
And where men are a lot more likely to get infectious diseases in their skin, women get more psychosomatic problems, pigmentary changes, hair diseases (certain kinds, anyway), and autoimmune and allergic disorders.2
So, that’s pretty different. Kind of looks like women get all the problems, doesn’t it? And men, who are rugged and everything, don’t have to worry that much.
But the thing is …
That thicker dermal layer turns out to be more sensitive to environmental conditions than thinner female skin is. More!
Ultraviolet radiation, for instance, messes up male skin worse than female skin. That’s been shown. Men also have higher incidences of skin cancers than women do. (And they die from comparable skin cancers more often … about two times as much.)
Wound recovery is also slower in men than in women. That’s because of androgen, apparently.
And – get this – with their thick old dermis layers, men have drier skin than women do … and so they have a greater need to moisturize.
Yep. Really sorry about that last one.
So, the thing is – now, pay attention here – it turns out that there’s actually some man-specific maintenance that you need to be doing on your skin.
Here’s what you do
First, stop moaning. This is okay.
Next, memorize the following list of things you’re going to do. You have to do these things. You don’t have to do them in order, or anything. But you have to do them.
1. Wash your face if it gets sweaty. Go easy on the soap. Don’t make the water real hot.
2. Moisturize. Yes, we know. But it’s good for you. And you don’t have to use your wife’s kind, that smells like lilies. There’s regular man kind, that doesn’t smell like anything. Use that.
3. Watch how you shave. Razor-burn bad. Shaving cream good. Wet your skin first, and don’t hold it taut. Shave in the direction that your whiskers grow. Rinse a lot, and use sharp blades so you don’t press too hard.
4. Keep the sun off you. Don’t be a jerk about UV radiation. Skin cancer is tougher than you. Check your scalp, ears, neck and lips. If you’re working out in the yard, use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and reapply it every couple hours. If you’re at the beach, or something, make the SPF higher. Also, wear long sleeves, and sunglasses. And hats. Hats are excellent. You can get ones that say ‘John Deere’, or ‘Husqvarna Chain Saws’. Get a hat like that.
5. Know your skin. New spot? Mole that itches, or bleeds, or changes? Go to the dermatologist. Step lively about it if you’re over 50. Don’t mess around with this.
And … that’s about it. That’ll do.
Go back to work. But look after your skin a little.
We won’t tell anyone. Course not.
1AAD “Hot Topics in Men’s Medical and Cosmetic Dermatology” (U018) on Aug. 8 2004. https://aadmeetingnews.org/2014-summer-academy-wrap-up/biological-differences-in-skin-create-challenges-in-treating-men/
2Rahrovan S, Int J Womens Dermatol.* 2018 Sep; 4(3): 122–130.
* Notice: Women's Dermatology. See? Different.
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