Turns out your partner stealing your skincare products isn’t just irritating, it could actually be wrecking their complexion!
Keep reading to find out why the skin microbiome means different people need different skincare products, especially men and women.
Your Skin Microbiome
Your skin microbiome is made up of trillions of different bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms on your skin, which determine your skin type and needs. Your skin microbiome is unique, so the skincare that works for you, may not work for your friend or partner. Through understanding your skin microbiome better, you can make the right skincare choices to look and feel your best.
Skin Trust Club was built on 15 years of skin science expertise including analysis of skin cells from both men and women. Recently, our scientists revealed exciting new data showing the average key differences between the male and female skin microbiome. However, no two people have the same microbiome, so keep in mind that there will be some variation between individuals, regardless of their gender.
Testosterone And Skin
A lot of the differences between male and female skin stems from differing hormone levels. For example, hormones such as testosterone increase sebum production. Sebum makes up the majority of what you might think of as your body’s natural oils. It is a waxy, oily substance that moisturises, coats and protects your skin from excess water loss. Too little sebum can lead to dry skin, whereas too much sebum (in oily skin) can clog pores and create the perfect environment for acne causing bacteria to thrive.
Men generally have more testosterone in their body, creating more sebum. Therefore, male facial skin may benefit from lighter gel type moisturisers rather than heavy plant oils and butters.
Make Your Skin Microbiome Work For You
Although women’s skin typically has less sebum, women actually tend to have more bacteria in their microbiome that use sebum (and lipids found in cosmetics) as a food source. Consequently, we need to be careful when trying to balance sebum production as some of the bacterial communities are beneficial to our skin health.
The right ingredients need to be used to avoid making oily skin oilier, without harming bacterial diversity. Ideally, we want to use the abilities of different types of skin bacteria to our advantage, rather than trying to get rid of certain ‘bad’ ones. Often they are not ‘bad’, they are just in the wrong environment!
Male Skin Microbiome
You could say that men have gotten pretty lucky with their microbiome as they typically have 2% more Staphylococcus epidermis on their skin. This bacteria helps protect their skin from infections, modulate immune responses to environmental factors such as UV damage, physical or chemical irritation, and reduces inflammation.
In general, men also have greater protection from UV damage thanks to the presence of Cutibacterium granulosum bacteria which produce molecules that help protect against sunburn. This means their skin may be able to cope with lower SPF protection in their sunscreen products, but it is always wise to be wary of the sun’s power!
Female Skin Microbiome
Thankfully, it’s not all bad news for women! Although the female skin microbiome lacks certain bacteria, it has small amounts of other beneficial bacteria instead. For instance, Micrococcus luteus can help protect our skin against the main component of traffic pollution, and even produce substances that can repair DNA following UV damage.
Our skin microbiomes are no better or worse than men’s, just different! Understanding your skin at this microscopic level allows you to make skincare choices for maximum benefits. For example, Lactobacillus bacteria are more often found on female skin and positively respond to prebiotics such as oligosaccharides. Due to the presence of different bacterial species, this type of prebiotics are better suited to feeding bacteria found on female skin. Bacteria on male skin may respond better to ingredients such as certain fatty acids or xylitol.
To Beard Or Not To Beard
In addition to higher levels of oil production, men also typically have larger pores. This is a common characteristic of oilier skin types.
Due to higher levels of testosterone, men’s skin is also around 20% thicker than women’s. This means skincare formulations may require a higher concentration of some ingredients to achieve the same effect.
However, thicker skin does not mean it is not sensitive. The beard area may need extra attention as irritation from shaving can leave skin vulnerable to ingrown hairs. Shaving facial hair strips a layer of skin cells in a form of exfoliation, so an aftershave balm may help soothe the area. Proud owners of beards may experience itchy, dry facial skin as some soaps and shampoos can be too harsh for use on the face, as they strip sebum and natural protective oils from the area.
Why Sharing Is Not Always Caring
Your skin microbiome is specific to you, so your hero products may not suit your friend or partner if they have a different skin type. Differences in facial hair, skin thickness and the skin microbiome means that men and women in particular can benefit from skincare products with different formulations, active ingredients and purposes.
Skincare is not just for women – male skin deserves to be looked after too!
Here are our top tips when choosing skincare for men:
- Choose a gentle cleanser that won’t strip the natural oils from the skin.
- Go for a light gel type moisturiser, rather than heavier plant oils and butters often found in skincare products formulated for women.
- Change razor blade every 6-8 shaves to avoid razor burn and follow with a soothing aftershave balm.
- Those with longer beards may need a beard brush, gentle beard shampoo and beard oil. Washing a beard too frequently, or with soap or shampoo that is too harsh, can strip the natural oils from the skin. Using beard oil will keep the area well moisturised and help prevent it drying out.
So whether you spent the night at your partner’s house without bringing your skincare, robbed your sister’s expensive moisturiser, or looking to buy your Father a birthday present, keep in mind that everyone’s skin is different.
Understanding Your Unique Skin Microbiome
At Skin Trust Club, we have developed the world’s first at-home skin microbiome test so that you can really understand your skin. Let us do the hard work for you and recommend skincare products specifically tailored to your skin’s needs.
For a limited time only, we are offering a free trial of our skin microbiome test kit, analysis of your microbiome at our state of the art laboratory, a skin report with personalised science-backed skincare recommendations, and access to our skin health tracking app!
Sign up here for your free trial: https://www.skintrustclub.com/skin-microbiome-kit-offer/