Testosterone and Acne: How Hormones Contribute to Breakouts
Testosterone plays a vital role in keeping you healthy. It is responsible to regulate your sex drive, maintain your muscle mass and strength, stimulate sperm production, and keep your bones strong and healthy. Is there a relationship between testosterone and acne?
Testosterone may also play a key role in maintaining mental health by helping to control and regulate your mood. Unfortunately, it can also play a role in the development of acne that affects your face and body.
Here's how hormones can affect your skin and potentially contribute to breakouts. Also what you can do to control acne if you are prone to whiteheads, blackheads and other types of pimples.
Does testosterone cause acne?
Acne is a very common condition. Despite its reputation as a condition that primarily affects teenagers and young adults, many people develop acne in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and even 50s. This type of acne is known as "adult acne" and, although it is more common in adult women, it also affects men.
In a 2019 study on the relationship between androgens and acne involving more than 300 subjects, of which 40 percent were men, the researchers concluded that testosterone levels were one of the key markers in subjects with acne.
Another 2019 study of transgender men receiving testosterone noted an increased incidence of sebum and acne that correlated with increased testosterone levels. These findings, according to the authors, are consistent with multiple other studies showing that "testosterone therapy increases the development of acne."
There is no one thing that causes acne. Instead, a variety of different factors can contribute to acne breakouts.
What is sebum?
One of these factors is sebum, a type of natural skin oil produced by the body's sebaceous glands.
To explain testosterone's relationship to acne, we first need to understand how sebum and other factors can contribute to the development of pimples, blackheads, and other acne lesions.
Acne develops when hair follicles in the skin become blocked. Hair follicles are found all over the body, from the scalp to the face, back, arms, etc.
Hair follicles contain small oil-producing glands called sebaceous glands. These glands are responsible for producing sebum, an oily, waxy substance that plays a critical role in maintaining skin health and protecting it against bacteria.
How does sebum create acne?
Sebum is vital to maintaining skin health. However, over time, excess sebum, along with other substances such as dead skin cells, can build up inside the hair follicles, causing them to become clogged.
These blocked hair follicles turn into pimples, blackheads, if they are inflamed and infected it is considered a type of painful acne called cystic acne.
Where does testosterone come into play?
Although testosterone doesn't directly cause acne, research shows that androgens like testosterone play a role in stimulating your body's sebum production, which means you may be more likely to develop acne when your testosterone levels are low. tall.
Testosterone levels rise suddenly and dramatically during puberty, which could be one of several reasons acne is common in teens. However, it is also common for acne to continue well into their 20s, 30s and 40s and beyond for some people.
How to manage and treat acne?
Unfortunately, if it's testosterone that increases sebum production and makes you more susceptible to breakouts, there's not much you can do to stop it.
Fortunately, there are several ways to control and treat acne, from topical creams that kill bacteria and prevent clogging of hair follicles, to changes in the use of supplements and medications that affect testosterone levels. Here are some tips:
- Take good care of your skin. Small steps, like using a nonabrasive cleanser or avoiding pimples, can help reduce the severity of acne breakouts and prevent painful acne from developing.
- The list of tips to control acne from the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology shares several simple yet effective tactics you can put into practice to reduce acne and keep your skin in good condition.
- Consider using prescription topical creams.
For severe acne, consider talking to a health care professional about isotretinoin. Isotretinoin, sold under the brand name Accutane®, is a prescription acne treatment. It is very effective, but is linked to a number of side effects.
- For inflammatory acne, talk to a health professional about antibiotics. Inflammatory, red, and painful acne can develop when certain bacteria grow inside a clogged hair follicle.
Since this type of acne is aggravated by bacteria, antibiotics are often the most effective treatment.
- For body acne, you can use a topical anti-acne body wash.
Testosterone increases the amount of sebum that is produced in the skin. This, in turn, can increase your risk of developing blocked hair follicles and acne breakouts.
If you're prone to acne and think a hormonal factor might be the cause, it's best to talk to your doctor. Depending on the severity of your acne, you may be advised to use medication or change your habits to help keep acne at bay.
Take care, man.