Skin is skin…or is it? Science tells us men’s and women’s skin have some differences, but we still have a lot in common. So let’s toss out those gender labels and learn about healthy skin care solutions that work for both sexes.
What’s the difference?
Well, maybe not as much as originally thought. Until recently, scientists thought men’s skin was significantly thicker than women’s. But new studies show that’s not really accurate. What matters more is a person’s age, since as we age, everyone’s skin beings to thin.
Collagen density is another story. Men do have a higher density of collagen than women, and that’s why wrinkles show up faster in women, generally about 15 years earlier (boo!). Men also have oilier skin due to the fact that they produce more sebum (oily secretions), and that’s why, for men, acne that starts in their teen years may last longer. As for hydration, women’s skin is naturally less hydrated because they produce less lactic acid in their sweat (especially compared to men under age 40)—and this acid is naturally moisturizing.
Can we, should we, share products?
Regardless of gender skin differences, good skin care means we all need to clean, moisturize and protect our skin on a daily basis. But sharing skin care essentials means we take up less counter space in the bathroom and we can pack a lot less when we travel. Natural, skin-nourishing products make great gifts, too (especially if our partner needs an upgrade from basic bar soap and water).
Here’s what to look for when choosing unisex products that work for both men and women:
- Natural products, free of parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfates or artificial dyes are ideal for all skin types
- Science-based skin care brands that target improved delivery systems, innovative ingredients and clinical-strength formulations
- Products that feel clean and lightweight—think gels and lotions instead of heavy creams
- Unscented, fragrance-free products
SCIOTE’s CEO tells us this: “To me, skin is skin. My main focus therefore is finding the perfect balance between natural, botanical, certified organic ingredients and the latest science. At Sciote we always like to say that all skin is created equally and deserves love!” A few to try from SCIOTE: Their Advanced Retinol Serum, a targeted treatment that renews skin, speeds up cell turnover, moisturizes and spot treats acne. Their Gira Sole Body Wash hydrates with coconut oil and shea butter and features an invigorating natural citrus scent.
Here’s what some of our other favorite skin care brands tell us about their universal appeal.
LIFTLAB: “Our products work to improve skin health with one key ingredient: Cell Protection Protein®. Naturally produced by marine life in harsh climates, CPP is clinically proven to boost collagen type 1, elastin and 41 other proteins to strengthen skin cells, which promotes skin’s natural ability for self-repair and regeneration on a cellular level.”
Try: Purify+Clarify, a multi-tasker, a 3-in-1 cleanser, purifying mask and gentle exfoliator.
Jeffrey James Botanicals: “We tried to eliminate the wall of indecision. Keep it simple! We have packed our line full of active botanicals, organic nutrients and oils that feed, nourish and hydrate the skin—sophisticated ingredients that all carry a purpose.”
Try: The Eye Gel. It’s a cooling gel made with cucumber, hydrating hyaluronic acid and inflammation-fighting periwinkle to soothe and renew the skin around the eyes. The Wash Purifying Cleanser uses healing ocean minerals and is great for all skin types as it nourishes dry, rough, blemished or age-damaged skin.
Sanitas: “We choose active ingredients that are already present in the skin, like vitamins, ceramides and hyaluronic acid, so that when our products are applied topically, your body recognizes the ingredients, invites them in and they enhance how your skin functions, man or woman.”
Try: Sanitas Skincare Balancing Moisturizer, which is lightweight and absorbs quickly without a greasy feel. Their Normal Skin Intro Kit is ideal to pack when traveling, and includes all the skin care you’ll need in mini sizes.
COSMEDIX: “COSMEDIX formulas were designed by professional estheticians that wanted a healthier, plant-based option to use on their clients as opposed to products that could be sensitizing due to ingredients like synthetic colors or fragrances. When you take away polarizing colors and scents in your formulas and packaging, it opens up the brand to a wider audience that can benefit from the active ingredients.”
Try: C.P.R. Skin Recovery Serum, which repairs dry, chapped or rough skin with agave and arnica (ideal for winter outdoor enthusiasts). Reflect Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen is a fast-absorbing, non-greasy and easy spray-on mineral sunscreen that’s full of skin-saving antioxidants and peptides (and don’t forget that sunscreen needs to be used year round!).
So go ahead—get ready to share!