As we stare into the mirror, that old familiar face looks back. The face from our youth, the oldest it has ever been, and yet the youngest it will ever be again. We know each and every line. Every detail. But paradoxically change is happening right before our eyes and we don’t notice a thing. Why is it that men’s lines run deeper than women? Why do women show signs of age earlier than men? And what difference do differences in our skin make when it comes to matters of skin care and shaving? All will be revealed…
Changes in our skin, that between men and women, are largely caused by testosterone. Until boys begin producing this hormone, our skin is fairly similar. Similar in moisture content, suppleness, thickness. And depending on our ethnicity and environment, largely consistent between sexes.
Yet at the onset of puberty, androgen – which is the name testosterone formally goes by – starts the process of thickening young men’s skin, swelling it to be up to 25% thicker than in women. As well as being thicker, the structures of the middle skin make its appearance tougher in men than women. Other by-products of this process are the increase in the production of skin oils, and a greater stimulation of hair follicles over a man’s face, body and legs.
Differences in skin structure between men and women
Irrespective of age, men have more collagen density than women. Like hair and nails, collagen is the fibrous part of skin: it’s building block. As collagen is directly related to the strength and suppleness of skin, its loss is the main cause of what appears as skin ageing. And as women start from a lower base, some have (somewhat unnecessarily) said that woman’s skin is about 15 years older than men at the same age. Whatever!
Women’s skin is thinner, tends to have a little less pigmentation, and is better able to retain moisture. One other small difference between women and men, is women’s skin tends to be a little more acidic.
Differences between women and men’s skin over time
It is the thinning of our skin over time that causes lines to appear. This combined with the loss of moisture, damage to the surface and losing some fat under our skin, is what causes our skin to look older.
After it’s growth during our teenage years, men’s skin tends to thin slowly and steadily as they get older. This is in contrast to women, whose skin stays roughly the same thickness up until their 40s and 50s, where it thins more rapidly. For both men and women, the loss of collagen is to blame, hence the rise of collagen fillers and cosmetic procedures.
Impact of shaving of men and women’s skin
Shaving stresses the surface of the skin. Whilst men’s skin is slightly more flexible than women’s, women’s skin is better able to respond after stress. This is in quiet contrast to how men and women tend to shave. Men tend to use more force, over shorter areas, with more intricacy and localised pressure. Compare this to women who have to shave upwards of x15 more surface area than men. They tend to shave in boarder strokes, with less pressure, whilst contorting themselves into various positions to access never-before seen parts of their lower calves and ankles.
Surface tension and the taughtness of the skin makes a difference when shaving. Younger firmer skin provides a more consistent springboard upon which to shave. As our skin thins, becomes lined or less astringent, so increases the chance that we cut ourselves of damage our skin through shaving.
Shaving is largely about hair removal. And in general, the passing of a blade over our skin isn’t great for it. True, the light exfoliation that dermaplaning can achieve is increasingly seen as a part of healthy skincare management. But poorly performed shaving does little good for our skin. It cuts it, scrapes it, damages the surface and can weaken it when it comes to acting as a protective boundary to our body. Irritation is often the first sign of damage to the upper surface, but more is going on underneath.
It makes little odds whether the skin is thicker or thinner, younger or older, male or female. When skin is dry, unprepared or uneven, and the right shaving preparation and routine isn’t used, both men and women can suffer shaving irritation and skin damage.
Unisex shaving products: appropriate for men and women?
Countless products for our skin are available, all largely tailored to men and women’s skin. But is this right? At Kairn we’ve taken a stand to say that it isn’t.
Skin preparation before, during and after shaving can absolutely be the same for men and women. We all need to have the surface layer of our skin lightly exfoliated before shaving. This removes debris, dead skin, and with oil-based products – begins the process of coating the upper and surface layers of our skin.
During shaving, both men and women benefit from our shave oils which sit on the surface of your skin to allow for a friction free glide, whilst other oils seep in and nourish the upper skin layer.
After shaving both men and women need nourishment to help repair light surface damage and fuel the next stage of skin growth.
So what’s the difference between our products and those designed for men only, or women only? Probably some combination of price, scent and marketing.
We want you to have brilliant products designed for skin, which are great for you and good on the environment. This, we think, is a unisex shaving experience.
Click to learn more about our plastic free unisex shaving products.