If you suffer with acne as a woman, using make-up to deal with it is quite straight forward.
In fact, you would probably be actively encouraged to try it by others and you’d have plenty of brands to choose from. There’s a good chance it would boost your confidence, at a time when you might be feeling at your most vulnerable.
So, why isn’t it the same for men?
Our founder, Nic, suffered with acne for most of his teenage years and early twenties before he found our unique formula.
“I was so self-conscious about my skin but I never felt like make-up was an option for me, as a man. I was too scared that people would make fun of me if they found out. Looking back, I wish I had used some concealer or foundation, as I think it could have made a real difference to my self-confidence.” Nic, 47 Skin Founder
We think it’s really sad that so many men feel like this about make-up.
For men suffering with acne, wearing foundation and concealer can be a lifeline to feeling confident enough to leave the house.
With each generation, gender fluidity and the boundaries of stereotypical gender norms are thankfully starting to blur.
More men are openly wearing make-up and there are more male make-up ranges and beauty influencers than ever before.
Why is it still not fully accepted?
We set about trying to find out why by reaching out to a few men for their thoughts. Here are some of the responses we got:
“I’ve never worn make-up and never would. Also pretty camp for a guy to be wearing make-up I think. Even if I had severe acne, I don’t think my opinion would change.”
“If men want to wear makeup that's their call. I don't have a problem with it (I might think it's a bit odd if I'm being honest but not to an extent I'd mention it). I think it's certainly a thing more commonly seen in the LGBTQ community but even then I think it's a pretty small number of men."
“I personally wouldn't wear it (one because I never really had bad acne as a teen) but also I think spots/blemishes is one of those things as a guy you just have to get on with it and own. Now that’s not saying girls shouldn't shrug it off or not be bothered. I more mean that just covering it has never been "an option" for me as a guy.”
“I would wear make up if I had scars or blemishes although I wouldn't feel comfortable talking about it as a 'man'. It seems to have a stigma attached which is surprising since we are a lot more liberal as a society regarding the gender divide. Maybe we need to look at the younger generation to pave the way for this way of thinking. Additionally, men's brands seem less available or familiar so I wouldn't know where to start either!”
“Luckily I don’t suffer very severely from acne, but I have covered particularly bad spots in the past with makeup and would do it again if it impeded on my confidence”
“If I had acne and there was something to cover it up, be it make up or whatever, if it made me feel more confident I would definitely do it. Men should feel comfortable in themselves, and whatever helps that the more the better.”
“I have never covered up my acne because I don't personally like the look of make up on the skin, I think it draws more attention to it. But if it was socially acceptable for men to wear make up, I would cover up the odd spot here and there. The only time I've ever done it was when I was in a school play and I was self conscious about a spot I had, and that really helped. I wouldn't feel comfortable meeting friends with make-up over my spots though, definitely not.”
“I guess I’m broadly supportive of men wearing makeup if they want to. I can’t help but think of it as something for women and gay men though, even if I’d rather not feel that way! I’ve never worn make up before, and to be honest I don’t think I’d consider it for myself, but if I had a skin condition then maybe I would?”
It seems that even in a society which is progressing so quickly in terms of gender equality, there is still a big divide on this subject. It’s still ‘taboo’ for straight men to wear make-up, in most communities.
This is bizarre really as if we look at the history of make-up, centuries ago, it was actually worn by both men and women (the ancient Egyptians wore eye shadow and eye liner, and Elizabethan men wore rouge, wigs and powder).
In the last few decades, make-up for men made a comeback but it still wasn’t mainstream. Instead, it was reserved for rock 'n' rollers, celebrities and pop-punk bands like Pete Wentz, David Bowie and Prince.
Over the last few years, it’s become more normalised for men to wear make-up in day to day life, particularly amongst the LGBTQ+ community.
But, it still seems there is a divide between the men who wear a full face of make-up and aren’t afraid to flaunt it, and the men who are embarrassed and feel like ‘it’s not right’ to use concealer and foundation to cover up their blemishes.
So, what's the solution?
We asked US based make-up artist, Adrian Rios, who has been wearing make-up since he was a teenager for his thoughts:
“Men should learn that objective products do not define their masculinity. I would say to anyone that makes that claim to do some research. They would discover that in many cultures around the world men would embellish themselves with colour for many reasons. […]
I would even go so far as to argue men should wear makeup for their daughters, their sisters, and that men wearing makeup are part of the feminist movement. I love this idea!
Let young girls see men wearing makeup. I believe this will disconnect the notion that makeup is for women to wear to impress a man, or keep up with impossible beauty standards. Ultimately, this would be a moment to teach young people that it’s part of self-expression and not gender identity.
Normalize men wearing makeup. Normalize self-expression.”
Brands such as War Paint are doing a fantastic job of closing this divide, and normalising men wearing make-up. For any men reading this, 'War Paint' a great place to begin if you want to start using make-up. They have fantastic application videos and guides for what products to use.
If you're a man and wearing make-up will help your self confidence, especially if you're suffering with skin concerns, then why not wear it? It's time to start questioning these social taboos and start doing what you want to do.
We asked skin care and make-up influencer, Sunny for his opinion:
"It's one's choice' to wear or not wear makeup. Be it any gender, race or colour […] Why do we keep 'men' & 'women' in a shell with boundaries? It's my skin, my face, my body… Let me wear or not wear whatever I like.”