A.F.: How is men’s skin different from women’s?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: In general, men have a slightly thicker epidermis and dermis than women, as well as significantly more terminal (coarse) hair on the face and body.
A.F.: What does this mean when it comes to aging?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: Although a man’s thicker epidermis provides slightly more protection from the sun, in general, men’s and women’s skin ages similarly. Both experience true aging due to the passage of time and photoaging from unprotected sun exposure. The changes due to sun exposure are what we perceive as “old skin”, with increased roughness and coarseness, irregular pigmentation, sun spots, wrinkling and loss of elasticity.
A.F.: What about age spots? What causes them?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: Many spots appear as we age. The two most common are seborrheic keratoses (age spots) and solar lentigines (sun spots). Seborrheic keratoses develop after the age of 30, aren’t cancerous and are very common – some people develop hundreds. They start as flat, brown spots and can become quite warty with age, appearing anywhere on the body, specially the back and chest. They’re caused by epidermal growth factors in the skin. A solar lentigo is a sun-induced freckle, is also common and occurs on those areas that have had significant sun exposure – the face, backs of hands and the trunk.
A.F.: How can you tell if it’s seborrheic keratoses or solar lentigo – or something more serious?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: In general, any new skin lesion or a difference in a pre-existing lesion (such as a change in size, shape, colour or border) is a cause for concern. Skin lesions with an irregular border, asymmetry, multiple colours, a very black colour or bleeding might be a possibly life-threatening malignant melanoma. The best advice is to have a proper assessment with a dermatologist.
Alix Fuller: What’s a good skincare routine for men to keep their skin looking youthful?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: A good sunblock used daily with at least SPF 15, preferably SPF 30, is critical as most skin aging is caused by the sun. For men, I suggest gel formulations or alcohol-based sprays as these tend to be less greasy and messy, and better for hair bearing areas on the face and body. Also, exfoliating daily is a cheap and effective way to rid dead skin cells and smooth the surface of the skin. More expensive options include photorejuvenation in the form of Intense Pulsed Light and/or Radio frequency treatments, and microdermabrasion.