Why Do Guys Get Acne?

Why Do Guys Get Acne?

I would like to thank Dr. Gilligan, Chief Scientific Officer at AcnEase, for collaborating with me today.    


So why do guys get acne? You may answer because guys don't take care of their skin as well as their female counterparts; or perhaps their skin hygiene maybe lacking; or maybe guys on average play more sports and sweat more. As all of the above may contribute to making men's acne more difficult to treat, the real answer to WHY guys get acne is because males have more testosterone!


By understanding how acne pimples form, this answer may begin to make more sense. Acne in general develops due to overactive sebaceous glands. At the base of each hair follicle is a gland called the sebaceous gland, which makes sebum (skin oil). Sebaceous glands are most numerous on the face, chest, back, neck and scalp; consequently, these are the most common sites of acne. Under normal conditions, sebum flows to the surface of the skin along the hair follicle (figure 1).



For an individual with acne, the normal transport of sebum out of the follicle is impeded which leads to an accumulation of sebum and dead skin cells providing an enriched breeding ground for bacteria. Simple cleansing with soap is not capable of removing the bacteria entrapped at the base of the hair follicle. The rapid growth of the bacteria, in combination with the accumulated sebum, cause the follicle to enlarge and can result in a mild form of acne called comedones (Figure 2).




The real culprit responsible for acne therefore, is over active sebaceous glands - so why is this considered a "guy thing"? A number of factors can cause an increase in sebaceous gland secretions, but the primary culprit is the androgen hormones - in particular the analogs of testosterone, dehydrotestotsterone (DHT) and dihydroepiandrosterone (DHEAS) which are thought to have the most dramatic impact on sebaceous gland secretions.


Understanding that androgen related hormones can influence sebaceous gland secretions is only part of the story. Only 1-2% of these hormones circulate freely in the blood; the other 98% are bound to a protein called Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG). If the androgen hormones are bound to SHBG in the blood they will not cause acne, it is only the "free form" of DHT and DHEAS that can cause the sebaceous glands to make more sebum. Since men naturally have more testosterone related hormones in their bodies, it is more likely that more of the analogs (DHT & DHEAS) may be found in the free form leading to an increased risk of acne. Understanding how these analogs of testosterone impact sebaceous gland secretions also helps explain why guys who take anabolic steroids are prone to acne as well since these anabolic hormones do not bind to SHBG!


So, if you are a guy with acne, you now know that you have it because guys have more testosterone. What is more important is that you can get rid of acne by balancing your body with natural and safe products (not with chemically laden products that will only create other problems) to ensure that DHT and DHEAS are not in the free form.  In addition, inflammation caused by acne bacteria growing in the clogged pores can be decreased by the right skincare and lifestyle practices.


Join us next time to learn How Guys Can Get Rid of Their Acne. 

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