Effects of Gender on Skin Physiology and Biophysical Properties
While there are countless studies on the biophysical properties of human skin, there are fewer that examine gender differences. Many studies are sponsored by the cosmetic industry and not surprisingly focus on women and often compare effects of aging or photoaging. Unfortunately, the literature that explores gender differences does not always present a clear picture as will be seen. This contribution will review sebum production, skin pH, barrier function as assessed by transepidermal water loss (TEWL), stratum corneum (SC) hydration measured by electrical properties and skin viscoelasticity and facial wrinkle formation. Studies consistently show lower sebum production in women especially after the onset of menopause. Several studies have shown women to have higher skin pH compared to men but many have found no difference and at least one has shown higher pH in males. Results on TEWL, elasticity and wrinkle formation are also inconsistent and differences in all these parameters vary with body site. Other confounding factors such as skin care habits and practices, history of sun exposure, diet and exposure to either first or second hand tobacco smoke are discussed.
No significant difference
Transepidermal water loss
The authors wish to thank Aimee Herbel (Amway Corporation) for her help in collecting the pH data in Fig. 1.1.
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