Do Men Have More Oily Skin Than Women?

by Jay Kang | Posted on February 10th, 2023
man vs woman

Have you ever wondered why some people have oilier skin than others? Are you curious about the differences between men and women in skincare? Well, you’re in luck!

This blog post will explore the differences in oily skin between men and women and what it means for your skincare routine.

Do Men Have More Oily Skin Than Women?

It is a well-known fact that men and women have different biophysical properties in their skin. Men tend to have higher sebum production and larger pores than women, which can lead to more oily skin, which is not necessarily bad.

The differences between male and female skin are mainly due to the higher levels of androgen hormones in men.

The Difference between Hormones in Male and Female Skin

The hormones in men and women also contribute to the difference in skin oiliness. Testosterone, the male sex hormone, increases sebum production, while female hormones, such as estrogen, have a more balanced effect on the skin’s oil production.

This difference in hormone levels is why men usually have oilier skin than women and are more prone to acne. Additionally, testosterone can also lead to enlarged pores and increased inflammation of the skin.

So, although both sexes may produce similar amounts of sebum, the hormonal differences between them can cause men to have greasier skin and more acne than women.

Differences in Skin Structure

Men’s skin is structurally different from women’s in numerous ways. Studies have found that men have thicker skin due to increased collagen production, which contributes to their increased oiliness. The pores on men’s skin are larger than those of women, making them more prone to acne.

Additionally, the pH levels of male skin are higher than those of female skin, making it more alkaline and increased sebum production. These differences combine to create a unique set of needs for caring for men’s skin and preventing issues like dryness and acne.

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Sebum Production

Sebum production is an important factor in skin health, and there are important differences between the sexes. After puberty, men have been reported to have higher sebum production and larger pores than women.

Men also produce about twice as much sebum as women, contributing to the overall oiliness of male skin. Understanding the differences between male and female sebum production can help inform gender-specific skin care strategies.

Pore Size and Acne

Men have larger and more prominent pores than women due to their higher sebum production. This leads to more acne in men, as the larger pores are more prone to trapping dirt and bacteria, leading to breakouts.

In addition, men produce approximately 10 times more testosterone than women do. This could be why men’s skin is typically oilier and more prone to acne breakouts; they have more oil glands or sebaceous glands than women.

The Difference in Sebaceous Glands

Men have more sebaceous glands than women, producing more sebum, the oil that helps keep skin soft and hydrated. As a result, men’s skin tends to be more oily than women’s.

The sebum also helps protect the skin from bacteria and other environmental damage. Additionally, this increase in oil production can lead to increased acne, another common issue for men.

Skin pH Levels

The pH of male and female skin differs slightly, with the average pH of male skin being lower due to a higher rate of sebum production. As such, men produce about twice as much sebum (oil) as women, resulting in skin that appears oilier and shinier than female skin.

According to a study by Luebberding, the skin pH of the cheeks was highest in both sexes, whereas the female forehead and male hand had the lowest pH. This indicates differences in acidity between male and female skin, potentially leading to more oily skin in men. 

In addition, the skin’s pH level is more on the acidic side for both men and women – with 0 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. Interestingly, men have a lower pH level than women and sweat twice as much as women.

This could be one reason men have oilier skin than women, as sweat contains oils that can mix with sebum to create a more oily complexion.

Skin Texture and Softness

One distinction between men’s and women’s skin is that men’s skin is more moisturized than women’s, making them less prone to dryness and flakiness. Women’s skin is softer and smoother than men’s.

Facial hair and weekly shaving can leave men’s skin rough and uneven. Though both genders produce the same amount of sebum, men have thicker skin, which retains more moisture. This means that male skin is not only oilier and shinier than female skin but also more prone to acne due to its larger pores.

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How to Control Oily Skin

The best way to control oily skin is to understand the cause and take the necessary steps to minimize sebum production.

Cleanse Skin Properly

Proper cleansing is essential for people with oily skin as it helps to remove excess oil, dirt, and bacteria from the skin. A gentle face cleanser specifically designed for oily skin can help reduce the amount of oil on the skin’s surface.

It is important to avoid using harsh soaps, as they can strip away the natural oils from the skin, which may lead to further dryness and irritation. A mild exfoliant can help remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, and reduce oiliness.

Be sure to use gentle circular motions when cleansing, as this will help to improve circulation and promote healthy skin cell renewal.

Use an Oil-Absorbing Mask

Using a face mask is an effective way to reduce the amount of oil on the skin. Clay masks are especially helpful, as they can help draw out oils and impurities from the skin. Oil-absorbing masks can also remove excess oil from the skin without stripping it of its natural hydration.

These masks, typically made with kaolin clay, bentonite clay, or other ingredients, can help reduce shine and refresh skin. It’s best to use an oil-absorbing mask once or twice weekly for deep cleansing.

Choose the Right Moisturizer

Men should look for moisturizers for oily skin designed to help reduce shine and control excess oil production. Moisturizers should also contain ingredients stimulating the skin’s hydration mechanisms for a long-lasting moisturizing effect.

Look for products that contain hyaluronic acid, ceramides, antioxidants, and natural oils such as jojoba or sunflower seed oil. It’s also important to ensure the moisturizer is non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores or cause breakouts.

Consider Exfoliation

Exfoliating helps remove the oil and dead skin cells that can accumulate on the skin’s surface and clog pores, leading to breakouts. To exfoliate, use a gentle scrub, such as Daily Microfoliant, specifically designed to help remove excess oil and dead skin cells without irritating or drying out the skin.

A chemical exfoliant like glycolic acid can also help reduce oiliness and balance skin pH levels. With regular exfoliation, you can help keep your skin looking healthy and clear.


Overall, it is clear that there are some distinct differences between male and female skin. Men produce more sebum, have thicker skin, larger pores, and have higher collagen levels.

These factors can all contribute to the appearance of oilier skin in men, although this does not necessarily mean that all men have oily skin. Men need to consider their skin type and choose appropriate skincare products accordingly.

By understanding the differences between male and female skin, both men and women can better manage their skincare needs and keep their skin looking healthy and vibrant.

Last update on 2024-05-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Jay Kang

Just because i'm asian does not mean I don't need shaving. I always wanted to grow a beard when I was young, now I need to shave because hair growth for me is a problem. I'm going through what every man will and has gone through before.