Putting ‘Men’ in Treatments

According to Euromonitor, the men’s segment is one of the primary drivers of growth in the U.S. skincare market, having grown 42 per cent between 2000 and 2005, compared to 23 per cent for the market as a whole. By Howard Murad, M.D., and Jeff Murad.

Men and skincare are two things that traditionally have not gone together – until recently. In today’s culture, there is a newfound acceptance among men of taking an interest in their looks and paying extra attention to grooming. Men are no longer considered effeminate when they request skincare products by name. The stigma of using skincare products has faded, and the man who cares about his looks is finally in style. Today’s increasingly appearance and health conscious man is starting to notice that he is not immune to common skin concerns – and he wants to do something about them.

As men have become more aware of their skin, more are able to identify what skin type they have, be it oily, dry, sensitive or combination. Men are also starting to pay more attention to the quality of products and be brave about their purchasing decisions – using more than just soap and water or drugstore shaving cream. Today’s man is venturing into new product categories such as cleansers, scrubs, toners, wrinkle creams and eye treatments in numbers unprecedented by his no-fuss counterpart of the past.

In order to meet this new demand, brands and service providers must keep two factors in mind. The first is the unique physiology and skin conditions that men face. The second is that the way men view products and treatments is different from the way women do. This is something we in the industry need to be sensitive about.

Men’s Skin Physiology and Concerns
Men’s unique set of skincare needs often necessitates their own product category. Borrowing their wife or girlfriend’s moisturiser might work in the short-term, but it is not a long-term solution. Men’s skin is typically thicker and more oily then women’s, and their products should reflect this. Also, men generally prefer less fragrance in their products than traditional “female” products contain.

Shaving is often the factor that causes the biggest discrepancy in the skincare needs of men and women. Along with the general irritation and razor burn that result from dragging a blade across one’s face every day, many men also suffer from pseudofolliculitis, a condition in which hair grows back into the skin, irritating the hair follicles and causing itchiness, inflammation and bumps. For these reasons, men need products that exfoliate the skin to uncover ingrown hairs, while simultaneously delivering soothing and hydrating ingredients to alleviate redness, irritation and dryness. The market is now beginning to address these concerns with high-quality products that enumerate these benefits in a way that is more compelling to men.

Men’s Views on Skincare
The industry is now devising products and treatments that not only address men’s unique skin concerns, but that are also more receptive to their perceptions of skincare. Men are becoming more aware of wrinkles, acne and discolouration and are realising that they too can benefit from products that, in the past, have mostly been used by women. However, they also tend to focus on products that address specific skin care concerns they are currently experiencing, rather than choosing products that are preventative. In a market research study we recently conducted, most respondents said that acne, razor-burn, and dryness are their only skin concern. Due to this tendency towards a narrow focus on their needs, men often avoid caring for their skin until the damage has already been done in the form of acne scarring, wrinkles or discolouration. Already damaged skin increases the need for targeted treatment products. It is our job as industry innovators to educate our male clients about treatment options that can address future as well as current needs.

Men are surprisingly unaware of the importance of sun protection, and typically don’t incorporate sunscreens with SPF into their daily regimen. This should be the easiest and most self-evident step in grooming and overall health prevention for both genders. There are several opportunities to introduce men to SPF products – to both educate them on the importance of protection, as well as on how to combat environmental damage. Many new products targeted at men contain an SPF to help streamline the grooming process.

Nobody wants to add more tasks to an already busy schedule. Men are certainly no exception, and prefer easy 1-2-3 step systems of products to make the grooming task fast, easy and efficient. They are particularly interested in products that do two things at once – such as combining an acne and anti-ageing formula into one. Regimens containing more than four steps are intimidating to many men and can hinder them from trying a new system. With men, simplicity works best.

In this vein, we are now seeing an influx of simplified, multi-functional products with names and packaging that speak to men specifically. Studies show that men gravitate towards products that easily identify their purpose and specify the benefits provided. Product benefit call-outs have a stronger effect on men then do specific ingredients. As long as the products are perceived to work, men are not concerned with why or how they do so. Research also suggests that men are more drawn towards products that call out to them, with words such as “MEN” or “MAN” appearing somewhere in the packaging.

Due to its relative youth, men’s skincare is a constantly evolving market. As men become more and more interested in grooming and skin care products, professional salon facial services are following close behind. At the Murad Medical Spa and Murad Inclusive Health® Center, we find that male clients are committed to following their aesthetician’s recommendation, and they are very open to booking a series of services. The key to success is scheduling their services when they are there and making the confirmation calls. Once they write it in their calendar, the male client is a loyal one.

Classifications of the Male Consumer
While gay men have traditionally been the pioneers in the areas of style and grooming, straight men are beginning to follow their lead. Building a loyal male clientele starts with matching various age groups and classifications of men to the benefits and needs that most closely match their type.

The Three Types of Straight Men
Metrosexual – The metrosexual is an upwardly mobile, heterosexual male who is very interested in his appearance and grooming, and is always willing to try a new product or spa service.

Ubersexual – Ubersexual is a new classification among today’s men. He is interested in his appearance and grooming, but tends to be more traditionally manly and rugged than the metrosexual man. The ubersexual man is open to products and services, but often requires that they be presented in a masculine way, with more appropriate names and packaging.
Traditional – Depending on his age, the traditional heterosexual man is generally considered a non-skin care user, with the exception of soap, deodorant, and shaving products. Once introduced to one or two products, usually through a female, however, he can become quite a loyal user as he begins to notice the quality of his skin improve. The traditional man is often more interested in health than beauty. For example, he will respond more to a product that will help “prevent skin cancer,” then one that will “prevent spots.”

Age targets will further help to focus the best product or service to the man.

The Three Age Groups of Men
15 – 25:
Acne on face, chest and back are the most common concern for this age group. Keep their regimens simple – one to two products starting with a cleanser and treatment. Deep cleansing facials and back facials should be kept within a 30-minute timeframe.

25 – 40: This age group is most interested in grooming and relaxation. They look for ways to get a close shave and leave their skin soft and smooth. They are more open to eye treatments and sun protection products then their younger counterparts, as well as longer, more relaxing spa treatments.

40 and over: To stay competitive in the workplace, these men look for ways to improve their looks and reduce signs of ageing. They are open to products and services that are problem/solution focused. Sun damage, broken capillaries, wrinkles and eye puffiness are common concerns. This age category is an ideal target for internal skincare® supplements.

The “average Joe” is starting to change his ways and use above-average skin care products and regimens. It’s the dawn of a new day for men’s products, as the market will only continue to grow. Clear, healthy skin doesn’t have to take a lot of effort, and using the right skin regimen will separate the men from the boys.

Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, has devoted his life to the science of internal and external skincare. An Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA, board certified dermatologist, pharmacist, researcher and author, Dr. Murad collaborated with his son Jeff Murad, VP of Business Development, in the creation of the Murad Man line. For more information about the full range of Murad products and treatments please call 1300 362 027 or visit www.murad.com.au

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