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How do hormones affect acne?

Acne is worsened by high levels of hormones called "androgens."  Teenage males have the highest levels, but androgens exist in females also.  With most acne sufferers, hormone levels are in the normal range and don't need to be lowered in order to treat acne successfully.  

In some teenage girls and women, androgens are too high and need to be controlled as part of acne treatment.  Besides acne, some of the clues to knowing whether or not a young woman has a hormonal problem are irregular periods, excess facial hair, being overweight (especially around the middle), and a deepening voice.  Anyone with 2 or more of these problems should talk to her doctor about blood testing for excess androgens.  

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Changes in hormone levels can result in an increase in oil production within the skin. This increase in oil can lead to clogged pores and ultimately acne.

It's pretty commonly known that acne is affected by levels of hormones, which is why it's so common during teenage years when people are going through puberty. Hormones affect acne because of their connection to sebaceous glands, which are glands in the skin that are attached to hair follicles and produce sebum, or oil. Certain hormones, especially androgens like testosterone, stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce sebum. When levels of androgens are increased, more sebum is produced and it's more likely for that oil to clog hair follicles and result in acne.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.