Men’s Skin Care

Written by Rhonda Allison

It is no secret the men’s grooming market is rapidly gaining market share. Men are becoming savvy consumers of skin care, seeking ways to look and feel better. According to research, and countless predictions, this trend is only going to gain momentum. Many men are already steadfast to their brands, but others have yet to venture out beyond hygiene products and drugstore brands; therefore, opportunity abounds. It will prove essential for skin care professionals to know which products appeal to men and which will solve specific skin challenges and improve their overall well-being.

History of Men’s Skin Care
It would seem the growth trend in the male grooming market is a fairly recent revelation, but a quick glance through history reveals skin care was actually adopted by men as far back as Ancient Egypt. Their interest in grooming and hygiene was sparked by the desire to attract a mate and be prominent in a competitive society, an interest that is still relevant in today’s society.
Dating back to as early as 10,000 BC, men used scented oils and ointments to soften skin and mask body odor. Ancient Egyptians used oils and creams for protection against the sun and dry climate and it became common practice to use dyes and paints as makeup for cheeks and lips. Take a look at some history’s greatest artworks – many depict men of stature donning makeup.
Men’s grooming and skin care continued to grow as trade markets for spices, botanicals and essential oils expanded to other countries. Ingredients like cinnamon, cardamom, aloe, frankincense and roses became popular in men’s skin care and hygiene. Today, many of these ingredients are still sought after.
Throughout history, men’s grooming trends fluctuated in popularity – at times controversial and, at other times, embraced by the masses. For example, shaving has fallen in and out of practice throughout history. Though men drifted away from skin care for several decades, it is seeing a renaissance as they realize the benefits of proper skin care.

The Renaissance of Male Grooming
A recent Mintel report of this important sector reveals 58 percent of men aged 18 to 24 and 63 percent aged 25 to 34 now use a facial moisturizer product. Though percentage levels drop significantly among men aged 55 and older, the men’s personal care market is expected to reach $3.9 billion in 2014 – primarily carried by the younger generations.
What has spurred the growth? It is likely a combination of increased marketing by brands, prevalence in pop culture, the availability of products specifically for men, and pressures to maintain a youthful appearance. Some research even pointed to stress as a contributing factor as more men are seeking out spa visits as a way to relax. In fact, the same report found men now represent 47 percent of overall spa goers.
While primary growth remains among toiletry products – deodorants, shower and hair care products – there is a tremendous opportunity for the facial skin care market. The challenge for the skin care professional will be educating men on the importance of using quality ingredients and presenting it to them in a way that appeals to their senses.
Since men have different skin care needs, the more a product is tailored towards those specific needs and delivers on its promises, the more men are apt to adopt it into their regimen. Men are results-oriented, and if a product smells good, it is an added benefit.

Men and Their Skin
How different is men’s skin from women’s? While there are many similarities, and many products and treatments used for women clientele still work very effectively on men’s skin, there are some key differences to be aware of.
Men typically have a thicker dermis and epidermis, higher sensitivity, a different hormonal makeup, produce more sebum, have larger pores, and grow more facial hair than women. Some studies have also shown that men’s skin has a lower pH level. Additionally, men continually battle shaving-related skin issues such as ingrown hairs, dryness and razor burn.
With possible differences in the acid mantle, the pH level of the cleansers and topicals becomes an important factor. Products with a higher pH may elevate the overall skin pH and disrupt the acid mantle, which serves as an important protective barrier.
Testosterone also regulates men’s skin. In the epidermis and dermis, it is responsible for increasing the number of granular cells, collagen production and blood flow, stimulating the production of sebum, and toughening hair in the follicle. For any treatment or formula to be effective, it must address sebum, hair growth and sensitivities, as well as the thicker epidermis and lower pH.
The other issue is skin cancer rates among men. In the United States, approximately 39,000 new melanoma cases occur in men every year, and this is simply because men are not using sun protection. Getting more men to use natural sun protection ingredients like zinc is priority number one.

What Men Want and Need
There is a delicate balance that must be achieved when working with men in the aesthetic chair. Skin care professionals have to find this sweet spot by appealing to what the male clientele wants (relaxation and hygiene, hair and shaving products) and what they need (skin building and protection formulas).
Currently, products that address hygiene, grooming and hydration remain among the top performers for men. Though they are slowly expanding into other products, men are typically looking for the basics or products that offer dual benefits, such as hydration and age-reversal. Shaving products are also generating a lot of attention. More men are adopting the lost tradition of the wet shave to avoid razor burn and achieve a closer shave. Finally, products and treatments that help with relaxation are also garnering men’s attention.

Knowing what men are looking for and the different nuances of their skin, professionals can help them achieve optimum skin health with the right tools:

  • Cleansers – look to cleansers with salicylic and lactic acid to provide a deep cleanse as well as antioxidant and antibacterial support for men’s skin.
  • Exfoliants – proper exfoliation stimulates the skin and cell turnover, lifts dead cells, and begins the regenerating process. Utilize physical exfoliators like bamboo and jojoba, as well as enzymes and peel solutions like papain and sake rice wine.
  • Protection – zinc oxide along with skin-fortifying ingredients like hematite, superoxide dismutase, retinoids, D-boldine, peptides, malachite and tocopherols will guard against free-radical damage, nourish the skin, and prevent premature aging.
  • Shaving products – dual action shaving products that also help boost skin health will prove popular. This includes shave gels with natural and hydrating ingredients, as well as beard and shave oils that deliver antioxidants from essential oils and spices to the skin.
  • Relaxation and rejuvenation – from simple, 30 minute express treatments that focus on cleansing, toning and protecting, to more corrective treatments, men are looking for ways to be pampered (though they may not admit it).

Regardless of how you market to men, the products you recommend will ultimately determine loyalty. Men are results-oriented and it will pay off to do your due diligence on products specifically geared towards the male clientele before bringing it into your facility.

rhonda.allison.headshotRhonda Allison, a pioneer in the skin care industry, is the founder and CEO of Rhonda Allison Cosmeceuticals and RA for Men. She is also an author and internationally known speaker with more than 30 years of aesthetic experience. and

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