Male Skincare | Dr Lauren Knight | WITC

By Dr Lauren Knight

To quote a well-known brand “Your eye cream is not his face cream” and here’s why…

Male skin is unique in that it is about 20% thicker than female skin. Collagen (the protein which makes our skin appear plumper and fuller) decreases at a more constant rate giving it a tighter, firmer appearance for longer. Thicker skin is more protected from the early signs of ageing and this could explain why men tend to age slower than females and even maybe get better with age. Yet, ageing tends to happen quicker once it starts and eventually be more prominent.

portrait of man with skincare product put under his eye

Other differences:

  • Skin tends to be oilier as a result of increased activity of the sebaceous glands, which produce sebum. Acne and breakouts are common, but dryness is not.
  • Pores are larger, altering the texture of male skin.
  • Regular shaving also causes additional stress to the skin and can cause irritation and shaving-related skin problems. Close shaves particularly with blunt razors or insufficient lubrication remove the outer protective layer (epidermis) of the skin exposing the more sensitive layers of the skin to external harm.


Many brands showcase a “male” or “for men” range. These products usually boast masculine packaging and a strong scent so when you happen to whip out your toiletry bag in the gym change room you are still one of the boets. These ranges usually come at a higher cost than the “female” equivalent.

While male skin has a somewhat different composition, the same basic rules apply across the sexes. Know your skin type and select products that best compliment it.

As male skin is oilier, light and non-greasy moisturisers and anti-ageing products can be selected as a default.

Day cream should have a substantial sun protection factor (SPF). “Male” day creams usually have SPF 15 if any at all which is unfortunate as without the added coverage and protection offered by foundation/base, this is inadequate. This is where buying a unisex or “female” cream may be of benefit or one would need to apply an additional sunscreen. Daily sunscreen application is of the utmost importance as even the light from PCs and laptops have been shown to induce photoageing.

A good eye cream is an investment in preventing those crowfeet, which we remember will appear as grooves when they come.

Night creams should be light and contain a retinol to fight signs of ageing.

Facewash, should be unscented and moisturising rather than drying while avoiding products with microbes and other exfoliants. Here is where you can choose a product that is more directed at your area of concern e.g. acne-prone skin.

Shaving: Skin should be protected by products that moisturise and lubricate the skin, enabling the razor to glide smoothly along the hairline. Again these should be mild as harsh products tend to disrupt the skins natural lipids. Use a sharp blade and shave in the direction of hair growth not against it.

Male skin, like female skin, benefits from quality products and a regular skincare regimen. Products need to be tailored to ones specific skin and while standard regimens are a good place to start, products should be interchanged based on your areas of concern and response to various products as well as preferably after consultation with a specialist.

males arm throwing up a skincare product

Image credit:

Lauren Knight
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