Thursday, November 18, 2010

Men's skin!

The chemistry of men's skin is just slightly different enough to be interesting and relevant when we're making products for men. (Click here to see an overview of our skin's chemistry.)

Men's skin tends to be thicker than women's skin and they experience more gradual thinning of the skin over their lifetime, whereas women's skin thins quickly after menopause. Men have about 20% more elastin and collagen than women, and they have less subcutaneous fat than women (they tend to gain fat under their muscle, which explains why they don't tend to get cellulite). Because the ratio of skin collagen to skin thickness is higher, they seem to age less quickly than women. Men's skin is more resistant to sun exposure, but you still need to use sunscreen!

And because they tend to have higher levels of sebum over their lifetimes, they are more prone to acne and pimples, larger pores, and blackheads. (Although this sebum production drops after 40, like it does with women, men tend to have higher sebum production at all ages). This might sound like a hardship, but oily skin tends to experience aging slower than dry skin, so again they appear to age more slowly than women!

Men tend to sweat more than women, which can increase the hydration of the skin, but it can also encourage skin cells to remain on the skin instead of shedding.

So when we're formulating for men's skin, we'll want to lean towards ingredients for oily skin and hair. (This isn't to say that all men have oily skin and hair, but if you don't know his skin or hair type, oily is your best bet!) Surfactants like C14-16 olefin sulfonate and disodium laureth sulfosuccinate (DLS mild) are good choices for gentle removal of sebum.

Men will likely want to exfoliate their skin more to help with the removal of skin cells and reduce acne (when skin cells don't desquamate, they can build up and cause more pimple problems). This can be done with a poofy scrubby thing in the shower or by using ingredients like salicylic acid, white willow bark, or AHAs. You don't want to go overboard with the exfoliation - scrubbing skin until it's stingy and pink is a bad idea - but you will want to do it regularly.

And finally, consider the impact of shaving on a man's face. Men's faces tend to be dehydrated because of all that shaving and they can experience increased transepidermal water loss because of the nicks and cuts daily shaving can cause. Although an astringent after shave splash - much like a toner - might feel good, using ingredients that will last longer on the face is a better idea. Humectants and cationic polymers are your friend in this situation! And an after shave lotion is an even better idea, and one filled with oils with loads of linoleic acid or gamma linoleic acid, like sunflower, soy bean, borage, or evening primrose oil will help increase skin's barrier repair abilities.

Join me tomorrow as we formulate a drier feeling lotion especially for men!


Zenobiah said...

SO unfair!!! I am sending this to my hubby. He has perfect skin, not too oily and not dry and does not understand why I keep putting cream on my hands and face. "Just ignore it, that's what I do".

Anne-Marie said...

Your blog is so fantastic Susan. You just do such a great job explaining things and really bringing home the details for those of us that like more in depth information. It makes sense about their skin being more thick AND that they lose some of their oil and moisture during shaving.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan, do you have any ideas for moisturising or maintaining skin during menopause? Is it possible? Thanks again, Rachel.

Tricia Miller said...

Is there any reason we shouldn't or couldn't use beer for the liquid in lotion? I've come across a recipe for it in Wholesale Supplies Plus's Handmade Magazine....
Tricia Miller