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How Testosterone Affects the Booming Male Skin Care Market

The number of men seeking cosmetic procedures continues to rise annually and as skin care professionals work to bolster their palette of services to accommodate this growing market, an understanding of how testosterone impacts the skin will prove essential for effectively delivering results.

Males of all ages are increasingly seeking out cosmetic procedures to correct certain features and address skin aging. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons men accounted for 1.1 million cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries in 2010, and minimally invasive skin treatments and fillers among men are up 110 percent from a decade ago. This, of course, creates a tremendous opportunity for aestheticians, but we first must understand how the male hormone, testosterone, affects skin.

The Masculine Hormone Effect

Skin is a hormone-sensitive organ and men’s skin is constantly affected by testosterone. Understanding this helps explain the differences in men’s skin. For example, testosterone impacts skin structure, facial hair, texture and sensitivity. More specifically, there are six primary ways in which the masculine hormone influences men’s skin:

  • Increases the acidity to a pH of 4.5
  • Increases sebum production, resulting in oilier skin and larger pores
  • Thickens the epidermis by increasing the number of cellular layers
  • Creates more active fibroblast with more collagen
  • Increases sensitivity – skin is more prone to redness and under-eye puffiness
  • Strengthens facial hair – skin becomes prone to irritation from shaving

In essence, testosterone will dictate the effectiveness of ingredients and the types of corrective treatments used. Since men are results-driven, skin care professionals must understand how to most effectively work with the male hormone.

Working with Testosterone

Any skin, regardless of sex or race, that produces more testosterone will require active products that support the balance of oils and reduce susceptibility to acne. Similarly, thicker skin will be able to tolerate more active ingredients like retinol, and lactic and salicylic acid, but a balance is required since men’s skin is often more sensitive.

With men, the visible signs of aging are often more sudden and pronounced. Early signs include thinner skin, and loss of moisture and elasticity. As it progresses, they often form deep-set wrinkles and lines, jowls and sagging skin on the cheeks. Though men and women can use many of the same skin care ingredients, a few that most effectively work with testosterone include:

  • Sake (rice ferment) – a naturally derived antioxidant, it provides hydration, smoothing and soothing properties, and detoxifies and regenerates skin cells.
  • Hematite extract – an iron-rich extract that stimulates collagen, and restores, tones and strengthens mature skin.
  • Peptides – particularly dipeptide diaminobutyroyl benzylamide diacetate, a small peptide that mimics the polypeptide found in viper venom. It inhibits the repetitive muscle contractions that form deep lines.
  • Kombuchka – a black tea ferment, it has a “lipo-filling” active that offers a natural, non-invasive alternative to plump and smooth skin.
  • Salicylic acid – helps keep acne-prone skin clear, supports cell turnover, and provides anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antioxidant properties. It is ideal for sensitive skin.

In addition to testosterone, lifestyle will also influence the quality of men’s skin. All of these factors should be taken into account when determining a treatment plan and skin care regimen.

Question: What major differences have you seen in working with men’s skin?

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