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Sharing skin care items with your other half

Woman raids man’s closet for clothes, and man borrows woman’s skincare. It’s a heteronormative narrative that has nonetheless given us boyfriend jeans, and it usually ends with the woman hiding her jar of Crème de la Mer in a corner of the cabinet under the bathroom sink. 

Over the past two decades, skincare-curious dudes have helped expand the men’s section of the grooming aisle. And according to consumer market researchers Euromonitor International, that will only continue, with the men’s skincare category set to grow 24 percent over the next five years. Once stocked with basics like deodorant and shower gel, retail shelves are now heaving with serums, mois- turizers, lip balms and beard oils—oten in black, grey or navy-blue packaging and emblazoned with product names that convey they’ve been formulated especially for men. Clearly, there’s no need for guys to borrow their girlfriends’ eye cream anymore— they can just buy their own. 

But can we borrow theirs? In other words, is there that much difference between male and female skin? Yes and no, says Dr. Dendy Engelman, a New York-based dermatologist. “We all have the same components: oil glands, hair follicles, epidermis, dermis, collagen and elastin,” she says. “But if we look under a microscope, structurally there are some key differences.” For one, men have more sebaceous glands, which makes their skin oilier, the silver lining being that the added moisture means they are “less prone to developing wrinkles as they age.” They also have a higher density of collagen, the structural protein molecule that acts like scafold- ing, helping to keep skin taut. According to a London SEO agency, our hormones affect skin behaviour differently, so there’s that, too. For women, this can mean monthly breakouts. “Men have fluctuations as well, but it’s more of a gradual decline in testosterone versus the peaks and valleys women have through our menstrual cycles,” says Engelman.

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