Do guys have naturally better skin? How come guys can do absolutely nothing to their skin and it can be really flawless? Some of my male friends have never applied anything on their face ever and use soap even! And yet they have always had flawless skin, even through their teenage years. It seems interesting that we ladies invest so much in skincare and hardly anyone can boast perfectly flawless skin all the time. Why does this happen? Are we making our skin worse by putting so many products on it?

As much as I love my beauty products and the daily ritual of slathering them on my face, there have been times when I envy my boyfriend’s low-maintenance skincare routine. Actually, I should clarify- he doesn’t even have a skincare routine. He never washes his face, unless he feels compelled to toss some extra body soap lather on his cheeks while he is in the shower. I have seen him use a moisturizer maybe two or three times and that was only when he needed something to do with the extra bit of coconut oil left on his spoon. But here is the kicker: he has gorgeous skin. It glows, it is flawless, it is infuriating.

On the contrary, here is how mine goes. Every morning I rinse my face with cool water, apply serum and put on a non-comedogenic moisturizer with broad spectrum SPF 30. At night, I wash my face with a gentle cleanser; apply toner, serum and organic coconut oil as a night moisturizer. Every third night, I put on a thin layer of a topical cream that treats acne and hyper-pigmentation, right before coconut oil. As skincare addicts, we are cursed with the compulsion to find out how everything in the world impacts our skin from the foods we eat and our environment to our daily product routines. But we rarely stop to think about what is going on within our bodies.

Ever wondered why we people think that men have better skin than us? There are men who have tons and tons of skin problems like acne, still we do not count them in the category! Okay, a fair enough question then- So why do women have bad skin?

For one thing, many women grow up learning how to use makeup every day. Younger women, especially others, wear too much product on their faces, resulting in clogged pores and blemishes from the overuse of products that have oils or creams in them. Some- mostly younger women- go to bed without taking their makeup off. This is one of the cardinal sins of skincare. And let’s not forget! Women’s skin is thinner than men’s. This factor alone accounts for more wrinkles as women get older and what better way to hide wrinkles than using more products on them? I have met some women who use multiple serums and who glow like the sun as a result. If you load up your face with three, four or even five layers of products then naturally your skin cannot breathe, it may misbehave. Many guys, on the flip side, shave their faces and neck every day, so that helps to exfoliate their skin.

Your skin is the window to your body that reveals the stories of your life. There is a range of factors that affect your skin- a chunk of which is controllable- let’s unpack them:

  • Anatomically, the skin of men and women is the same. Physiologically, there are hormonal differences; typically causing variations in the level of oil production, thickness of his skin, amount of facial hair growth, and amount of blood flow.
  • Good Genes? Well, it really does boil to that. The combination of a genetic predisposition to less oily skin with a higher tolerance to irritants, less sensitivity will lead to what we tend to call “good skin”.
  • One of the cardinal sins of skincare is that if you are unhealthy your body will spend more time trying to repair it than things like your face. Your skin regulates itself when it is healthy.
  • Ever wondered how people in the past kept their skin looking good, without any skincare products? A fact to state is that there has been a 500% increase in skin allergies in the last 100 years and this is not happening in the developing world, where they have much less access to health and skincare. Why is that? Well, because of what is going into these skincare products. Chemicals that disrupt the skin microbiome and cause long term damage!
  • Good news! That whole ‘glow’ thing people associate with being in love is, on some level, actually true. Those giddy butterflies and mushy feelings you experience while falling in love reflect a physiological process that can benefit your skin, unlike any sheet mask. We have the hormone Oxytocin to thank for this.  
  • Personally, I sometimes feel like no matter how many serums I slather on my face, my skin never looks better than it does after an intense rush of adrenaline. Or if I receive a piece of exciting news, and bam! – a healthy glow floods my cheeks! That is because the face contains “thousands of tiny capillaries that can become dilated anytime you feel an emotional rush of adrenaline.”
  • Physiologically, stress and anxiety do have one thing in common: cortisol and its yucky effects on the skin. Cortisol enlarges blood vessels that enhance dark circles because there is more blood in the veins under your eyes. Yes! The cause of that exhausted look we experience when we are racing toward a work deadline or doing our taxes!

To summarize it all:

  • Not all guys have better skin than women. Indeed, some guys have awful skin.
  • If you load up on skin care or makeup, you may run into trouble.

However, this does not get guys off the hook for needing to take care of their skin. Washing your face with a gentle pH-balanced cleanser twice a day is a must for anyone who wants to avoid looking like zits are having a field day on your face. Everyone, male, female and otherwise- should use SPF every day at the very least. A good moisturizer can also be helpful for both men and women.

And I speak from my experience. My food habits are great. I exercise. Try to lead a stress free life. I do need skincare products but not many. Educate yourself! Know what your skin needs!  


Virtually Yours!

Mahima Arora