Our skin is a big part of our appearance, maybe the most important part of it. As a person’s sexual characteristics develop over adolescence, they undergo some changes. We go through various stages of bodily development, and our sexual characteristics become more and more noticeable.
These characteristic differences are split into two categories, primary and secondary: primary being our genitals, and secondary being the ones that develop through our pre and post-pubescent development, such as facial hair and breasts.
More subtle changes occur as our secondary sexual characteristics as we become aware of these changes, which are less noticeable than others, such as the texture and thickness of one’s skin. It is natural for us to ask questions about the role of these secondary characteristics in our bodies and our evolutionary development.
One question that gets asked when these more subtle difference between the sexes gets brought up is this: Why do women have softer skin? Why is women’s skin softer than men’s? What do these differences in our skin qualities accomplish? And why did our evolutionary history bring us into such a place?
Dimorphism and Sexual Characteristics
Humans are part of the dimorphism club of the animal kingdom. While many species only have differences in their primary sexual characteristics, we have quite a few differences in our secondary characteristics. Sexual dimorphism can show up in nature as a size difference, difference in fur or pelt color, difference in horn size, the difference in antler size, difference in tusk size, possession of various weapons such as stings, etc.
These all ensure the continuation of healthy babies, which will produce even more babies, ensuring the species’ survival. For example, female bugs are bigger than males, in general, because they lay eggs in a large number, which requires them to have bigger bodies.
Sexual dimorphism results from evolution taking sexes through different paths to ensure that the species reproduce more successfully. We often think that evolution’s primary function is to ensure our survival: While this is partly true, evolution doesn’t care about our long-term survival or quality of our lives, it only wants to ensure our reproductive success.
Sexual dimorphism in humans mainly occurs at our pubescence and is the direct result of the various hormones in our body rising and falling in their amounts. We have a significant number of hormones in our bodies, 50 in total, pumped through our endocrine system, which is made up of various glands throughout our bodies.
Not all of these 50 hormones affect our sexual characteristics, but we can name 3 of them as our sex hormones: estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. So what do these hormones accomplish? And how can they help us answer our questions about our skin? Why do women have softer skin? Why is women’s skin softer than men’s? How do our hormones affect the qualities of our skin?
So Why Is Women’s Skin Softer?
So let us find an answer to why is women’s skin softer than men’s. Differences in our bodies are noticed early in our pubescent development. Our differing hormonal levels of testosterone, estrogens, and progesterone result in distinct differences in our bodies. One of these differences is the contents and structures of our skins.
While each of the sex hormones: estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone, play a role in the qualities of our skin, estrogen is the main reason women have softer skin and bodies. Estrogen encourages the body to fatten underneath the skin, fat, in turn, naturally produces estrogen, further increasing the softness. Men also produce estrogen through fat, which is why overweight men tend to have softer skin.
So, in general: Women have more fat deposits under their skin, which makes them softer, while men have bigger bones and more muscle density, making them harder to touch. These traits may vary from individual to individual but are generally held between the sexes.
Male and female skin doesn’t only differ in their observed softness, they are also visibly different on micro and macro scales. If you were to observe close-up pictures of male and female skin, you would see the difference in texture immediately, there are also some more noticeable differences between our skins.
Male skin is thicker than female skin, and we aren’t saying that metaphorically. Scientists have observed men have %20 percent thicker dermis, the inner part of your skin, than women.
This makes men more prone to deep wrinkles while making them more durable to impact, which might have been useful in the early years of our evolutionary history, while men needed to dominate other men to ensure reproductive intimacy with women physically.
Men also lose an important protein that provides skin elasticity and tightness at a faster rate than women. Collagen is a naturally produced protein that both women and men store up over our childhoods and throughout our pubescent developments.
While this build-up of collagen is enough to last us a long time, men tend to use theirs up at a faster rate than women, resulting in faster aging after their pubescent development is finished. Men and women also differ in the number of pores on their skin.
Men are more porous. Pores are little dents in your skin that let out certain fluids that help keep your skin healthy while also expanding the surface area, making it easier for the skin to breathe and receive sunlight. One of the fluids your pores release is oils, which men produce much more than women.
Our skin also changes depending on our general habits. Men tend to be more physical, putting their skin through more stress while also tending their skin in harsher ways, such as shaving, which irritates and inflames the skin. While women might take care of their skin more and avoid unnecessary physicality.