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The Difference Between Male &. Female Skin

By Stephen M. Schleicher, MD, Director, DermDOX Center for Dermatology

How many of you have actually pondered the differences between gal skin and guy skin? Could it be that male skin is indeed from Mars and female skin from Venus? Hopefully, we are all Earthlings, but differences in the sexes certainly carry over to our skin as well. Male skin is indeed thicker than female skin. Increased collagen and elastin fibers in men contribute to firmness and are a main reason why men tend to age with fewer wrinkles and fine lines than women. Another postulated reason for aging disparity is the fact that male skin has a greater number of coarse hair follicles. Over time, exposure to solar radiation breaks down dermal collagen and contributes mightily to wrinkle formation, but facial hair (the male beard) acts as a physical screen to ultraviolet light.

Skin cancer kills more men than women. Why? This is probably due to the fact that men are less likely to practice skin self-examination and seek early treatment than women, rather than to intrinsic differences in the nature of skin.      

Male skin does have more active oil and sweat-gland activity than female skin; thus men have less need to moisturize. However they may have to bathe more; bacteria living on the skin surface degrade sweat, leading to the characteristic musty aroma of the male armpit and the enhanced need for deodorants (at least when out in public!).

The placement of fat, which comprises much of the third layer of skin, is to some degree sex-related and varies in males and females. The distribution in women gives rise to the more rounded contours associated with the feminine figure and in large part contributes to culturally defined “sexiness.”

Yes, there are indeed differences in the skin of the two sexes.

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