5 Ways Men And Women Age Differently
It's been said that boys and girls mature at different rates, with the latter being much quicker to grow up. But what about growing old?
We're all aware of the vast differences in the way society expects the sexes to age, but we decided to take a look at how aging really affects men and women differently.
According to the CDC, the average life expectancy for men in the US is 76.4 while it's 81.2 for women. That's almost a 5-year difference. Some studies tie the difference to the Y chromosome and higher mortality rates from cancer. Other theories suggest everything from the way men handle stress, a later onset of heart disease for women and even the fact that women are more likely to get regular health checkups. Whatever the reason may be, the World Health Organization says women outliving men on average is a worldwide trend.
Both men and women experience some sexual changes with age. For women, it's commonly known as menopause, which happens around the age of 50. This is when a woman stops menstruating and the ovaries stop producing the hormone estrogen. The common symptoms or side effects are hot flashes, fatigue, vaginal dryness and lower libido.
For men, aging doesn't bring on as sudden a change as it does for women. It's more gradual, with testosterone levels declining slowly over time -- a process sometimes called andropause. Testosterone levels fall about 1 percent, on average, every year after age 30. Lowered testosterone could bring on things like erectile dysfunction, reduced libido and even changes in sleep patterns. Unlike menopause, which brings fertility to an end, men can still reproduce and create sperm well into old age.
3. Thicker skin
It's no doubt that the beauty industry targets women more with anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, pro-youth creams and serums due to societal pressures to stay young. But according to the International Dermal Institute, male skin really is less susceptible to the signs of aging. Men's testosterone levels actually help thicken their skin, making it about 25 percent thicker. Men also have more collagen density, a slightly rougher texture and more natural moisture to their skin because they typically sweat more and have more lactic acid in their sweat.
Both men and women lose collagen after 30 at roughly the same rate, but after menopause, the rate quickens for about five years or so, then slows back down. Mens' skin on the other hand, ages gradually.
But women are typically more likely to use sun protection on their faces as many women's skincare products like moisturizers and even foundations come with some SPF built in.
The middle-age spread is a real struggle, with gradual lean muscle loss after the age of 30. But men and women tend to gain weight differently. According to the NIH, men usually gain weight until their mid-50s when their weight starts to drop off again -- often due to drops in testosterone, which sustains muscle. Women on the other hand typically gain weight for an extra decade, until 65, when they start to lose weight too, often due to muscle loss.
5. Hair loss
Both men and women will lose some hair with age, depending on hormones and genetics, but pattern baldness affects more men than women. It's estimated that half of all men show some hair loss by the time they reach 50. Hereditary hair loss usually happens by 40. Though rare, women can also have pattern baldness, but generally they experience thinning or finer hair.