How Sensitive Skin is Different in Women and Men


Susan Fishman

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Recent research has uncovered some surprising information about sensitive skin.
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What to Avoid With Sensitive Skin

It’s difficult to identify the triggers that might bring about sensitive skin flare-ups. Try these tips to minimize irritations.

There’s a lot we don’t yet know about sensitive skin. We don’t know why certain triggers affect some people and not others, or why reactions differ from person to person. We do know, however, that sensitive skin affects men and women in different ways, and understanding these distinctions can help everyone care for their sensitive skin effectively.


A man’s skin is naturally thicker than a woman’s, thanks to androgen (testosterone) stimulation, which also creates a tougher texture. But tougher is not necessarily better. Though men’s skin is thicker, it’s actually more sensitive to ultraviolet radiation and environmental conditions. Men may be more prone to photosensitivity, a condition in which ultraviolet light transforms proteins in the skin, which damages skin cells and causes redness and stinging. In fact, men have a higher incidence of nonmelanoma and melanoma skin cancers than women, and they are more susceptible to aging due to sun exposure. This may be due to the fact that men are exposed greater cumulative lifetime sun exposure and they tend to be less vigilant than women when it comes to consistently using sunscreen to protect their skin.

Dryness and Flaking

A man’s skin may be thicker and tougher, but it’s also naturally drier than a woman’s. That’s why men with skin that’s sensitive to environmental factors like chilly, dry air, gusty winds, and low humidity need to moisturize more to avoid cracking and flaking.

Did you know that almost half of all Americans have sensitive skin? Watch this video for more sensitive skin facts.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: May 12, 2017

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