As you know, the hair and skin care industry is very female oriented. Women have long been the primary users of hair care products and services. This is partly true because of an emphasis on hair and skin care for beauty as well as for health, and partly because women tend to be more concerned about their looks than men.
Over the past few years, we’ve really seen that attitude changing. More and more, men are becoming concerned with good grooming and becoming aware of the health aspects of making sure their hair and skin are cared for properly. Men’s products are a fast-growing segment of the hair and skin care business. This is partially due to the emergence of the “metrosexual”. For those of you who are not familiar with that term, a “metrosexual” is defined as an urban male of any sexual orientation who has a strong aesthetic sense and spends a great amount of time and money on his appearance and lifestyle. The metrosexual male has caused our culture to challenge the traditional notions of masculinity—and taking care of the hair and skin is one of those. The other reason for the increase in men’s care products is that the aging baby boomer (and this means male or female) is scrambling for the fountain of youth. Baby boomers are looking in the mirror and they don’t necessarily like what they see.
The difference between male and female hair and skin
Believe it or not, there ARE some differences between male and female skin. Let’s talk about those for a second. The differences are more along the lines of tendencies rather than structural differences. For instance, a man’s skin is made up of the same kind of layers as a woman’s skin. A man’s skin has all the same numbers and types of cells and sensory receptors for things like heat, cold and pain.
A man’s skin, however, tends to have larger sebaceous glands and thus, produces more sebum than a woman’s skin; men also produce it longer in life. The female hormone, estrogen, influences the production of sebum, so after menopause, the production of sebum slows down considerably. This on the other hand, is not true for men. Therefore, older men will tend to have oilier skin and scalps than older women. In general, men will tend to be more prone to acne than women because of that greater production of sebum.
Men perspire more than women do, their skin tends to be coarser and thicker, and then there’s the biggest difference of all, facial hair. Men and women have the same number of hair follicles, but because of the testosterone levels, they grown coarser, thicker hair on their heads, faces and bodies. Beard hair is really abrasive and tough and grows at a rate of more than 5 inches a year.
And, with the added increase of testosterone, men tend to begin to lose hair younger and more rapidly than females – thus male pattern baldness. (Of course, genetics and environment also tend to have an influence over hair loss as well).
High levels of Testosterone can lead to the loss of connective tissue that surrounds the hair follicle, making it weak and eventually, non-functional.
Men need to take care of their hair and skin just as much as women do. On the average, men are exposed to harsher conditions in their work environment, so they really need to protect their hair and skin more than women do because:
- They tend to get dirtier because of grease, oil and dirt in the workplace and;
- They have a greater exposure to pollution and harsh environments because they don’t have the protective barrier of makeup that women do.
Because they produce more sebum, men also tend to have more acne-prone skin than women do.
Men as a whole haven’t been conditioned to care for their hair and skin like women have been. The typical routine for a man is to use the soap that’s in the shower to wash their face and hair, lather up with shaving cream, then splash on an alcohol-based after shave or cologne. An optimal routine for good grooming? Probably not. Think of this as an educational opportunity!!
It’s important to for men to know that proper hair and skin care is an effective and valuable aid to healthy aging as well a prevention no matter what their age.