The Influence of Androgen on Acne

Hormonal imbalances in human body can initiate a wide range of physiological complications which could be anything from simple to complex. Androgens are those unique hormones which, though known as male sex hormones, but can be found both in male and female body. Many physiological dysfunctions of human body, regardless of gender, are critically associated with the regularity and amount of secretion of testosterone which belongs to the androgen family. Studies have found that a higher level of testosterone is responsible for shooting up the risk of acne formation even on female skin. Related studies have also revealed a higher serum androgen levels among female acne sufferers.

How It Takes Place?

The impact of male hormones on the pilosebaceous units, embedded inside the epidermis, is the key factor involved in causing a favorable environment on human skin for breeding acne. Since these hormones directly influence the sebaceous glands to discharge body oil or sebum, presence of an excess amount of androgens can trigger a rise in the amount of sebum secretion. At the same time, there is some change in the inner lining of the hair follicles too due to the same reason. The outcome of these changes affects the natural body mechanism of skin exfoliation by increasing the speed of peeling of the skin cells abnormally and sticking up the dead cells into the skin pores filled with excess sebum. The outcome is inevitable the pores are clogged and a perfect breeding ground for acne is ready for subsequent bacterial attack. These bacterial microorganisms always exist on anyone’s skin surface irrespective of the presence or absence of acne. However, they tend to get malicious only in the presence of any lesions like acne. The clogged pores are utterly vulnerable for the microbial growths to enter, proliferate and create a colony. In addition to the presence of trapped sebum, these bacterial growths are liable for causing infection in the affected pilosebaceous units. That is how it all starts with the appearance of tiny spots, and then enlarge into larger pimples or inflamed cysts, some of which are stuffed with pus.

Who Are the Victims?

Acne is not a unique teenage disease. Adult acne sufferers also build up a considerable proportion of the total population of acne victims. Therefore, although the production of androgens sets off between the age of 11 and 14 and is relatively unstable during this early stage of puberty, similar imbalances might also prevail even after reaching adulthood.

Level of male hormone is relatively constant in male body than female in which the level swings as per the menstrual cycle and/or during pregnancy. This is the reason why men are more prone to acne than women. In female body the level of these hormones goes up at the onset of menstruation and remains high during menstruation. As soon as menstruation stops, the level of estrogen or female hormones elevates and consequently androgen diminishes. The entire menstrual cycle repeats like this over and over. Undoubtedly this is the reason behind an increase in the amount of acne among women during menstruation.

A sudden rise in androgen level not only leads to the outbreak of acne on face, but on body as well. And this sudden sprouting of severe body acne due to an excess male hormone level is called as hyperandrogenism.

Detection and Treatments

Hormonal acne, however, are more easily detectable in females rather than males from the following signs:

  • Regular onset and departure of the acne with the menstrual cycle.
  • Sudden appearance of acne during pregnancy.

Apart from the above reasons, acne might also generate as an indirect outcome of stressful situation. If you are going through any stressful condition or emotional disturbances then you might be easily subjected to hormonal imbalances, especially an irregularity in the level of androgen. And both men and women are equally vulnerable under such conditions. So, if you are under any psychological strain, anxiety, tension, or depression and at the same time if you come across a sudden growth of pimples on your face then it is quite likely to be a resultant effect of hormonal imbalance.

Since acne by and large is a hormone induced disorder, it is quite logical that an intervention into the hormonal balance might bring a desirable outcome. And this is acually done through different step by step therapeutic measures which are aimed at preventing male hormones from stimulating the activities of the oil glands. Antiandrogens or androgen blockers are very popular medications for this purpose. Oral contraceptives and oral corticosteroids are used to suppress male hormone production level, thereby preventing acne formation.

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