Girls and acne: What hormones?

When I was a teenager I had acne really bad; and years later a dermatologist, after conducting some tests, told me I had it because of an excess of male hormone.

I knew a girl in high school I’ll call Vickie. She was, and probably still is, a real knockout. :slight_smile: But she suffered from acne too, though not to my extent.

What I’d like to know is: Do girls suffer from acne because of an excess of female hormone? Vickie, a lovely, nice, and talented young lady, was as female as they come. :slight_smile:

They aren’t really exclusively female and male hormones, both sexes have the same hormones but in different proportions and for women the menstrual cycle causes further fluctuations.

My girlfriend suffered from acne as a teenager too. When she got to college, she saw the university doctor about it, who also diagnosed excessive testosterone. He put her on the pill and it sorted out her acne.

From the NHS information website:

Testosterone. Girls have it too and if they have too much, acne can result.

Although testosterone excess due to a variety of conditions can cause acne, the majority of patients with acne have normal testosterone levels.

Excessive amounts of corticotropin releasing hormone (a stress hormone) have been linked to acne proliferation also.

And acne has other factors besides hormonal. Stress, diet, topical chemical exposure, family history, and even Body Mass Index have been implicated.

In addition to what the always spot-on Dr. Qadgop said, I’ll note that both boys and girls (and men and women) make testosterone-like hormones in their adrenal glands. In fact, it is those ‘adrenal androgens’ that promote the first signs of puberty such as hair in the armpits and in the pubic area.

It’s also worth noting that different people, and different youngsters, have varying degrees of sensitivity to the effect of these hormones. So, for the identical levels of ‘male hormones’, two women can have very different responses. Some will get a bit of a mustache or acne, while for the same hormone level, other women won’t even have a hint of either.

In part, women’s sensitivity to male hormones is genetic (think how common it is to see some dark facial hair on women whose families originally came from a country like Italy or certain Arab states. On the other hand, it’s much less common in women of Scandinavian ancestry). But other factors, such as insulin resistance, obesity, etc., also play a role.