Medical spike

Male Hormonal Acne

Male Hormonal Acne ; All you need to know about it 

Do you find yourself worrying about your stubborn acne ? Are you curious about the underlying cause ? Here you will get your answer in detail.

We know it is so frustrating to have acne on your skin. So, let’s dive into one of the most common causes of acne which is “hormonal”.


Male hormonal acne is a type of acne that occurs due to hormonal imbalance in males. 

It is primarily caused by overproduction of androgens, which are actually male hormones that regulate the development and maintenance of male sexual characteristics.

There are many androgens but testosterone is the main androgen which is majorly involved in development of sexual characteristics. 

And it is this same testosterone which is considered the main culprit of acne.

How testosterone causes acne? 

Several researches demonstrate that there is increased production of testosterone and DHT (dihydrotestosterone) in acne patients as compared to persons of the same age group without acne. 

According to another research, high testosterone levels hyperactivate the sebaceous glands. These are the glands present on the face that produce sebum (an oily secretion) to prevent your skin from drying. 

High testosterone levels enhance their activity which consequently leads to increased sebum production (a condition called hyperseborrhea). This excess sebum mixes with dead skin cells and sometimes blocks the pore in the skin. 

This accumulation of oil (sebum) under the skin produces a bulge which is usually called a pimple. So this is how acne occurs by the influence of testosterone.

Other than acne, high testosterone levels may also cause androgenetic alopecia, which is one of the types of alopecia.

Time of Occurrence: 

During puberty, there is excessive production of sex hormones as a result of which their levels in the body increase drastically. 

Due to this hormonal surge, acne emerges during puberty normally. 

So if you are a teenage boy and facing the problem of acne, then most probably you are having male hormonal acne.

Bacterial Acne vs Hormonal acne: 

Hormonal acne is basically caused by hormonal imbalances and bacterial acne is caused by some infecting bacteria.

Bacterial acne doesn’t exist on its own because it needs hormonal imbalance to favor it. 

As we have already discussed that hormonal imbalance produces excess sebum, this sebum feeds the bacteria and enables it to grow. 

So we can say that actually hormonal acne leads to bacterial acne. Or we can say that bacterial acne is an advanced form of hormonal acne. 

So the answer to this question : “ How to tell if acne is hormonal or bacterial ?” is difficult to find. 

However, there are some assumptions on the basis of which you can differentiate your bacterial acne from hormonal acne : 

  • Bacterial acne usually produces blackheads, which looks like “dirt entrapped in a bump
  • During puberty, the acne which occurs is usually hormonal acne because of testosterone surge in the body.

Can testosterone cause acne in females?

Androgens are usually considered as male sex hormones as their main role is to induce sexual characteristics in male, however they are also produced in females in a very low quantity. 

It was found in a research, that there is a significant association between serum testosterone levels and acne vulgaris in females. 

This research concluded that the females having serum testosterone levels above normal had acne but on the other hand in the control group (females not having acne) had normal testosterone levels in their serum.

So it is clear now, that testosterone can obviously cause acne in women.

Here are the conditions in which women usually have high testosterone levels in their body : 

  • Hirsutism
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Treatment of Male Hormonal Acne: 

The treatment usually involves targeting the effects caused by underlying hormonal imbalances that are causing the acne .

Retinoids are medications made from Vitamin A, which are used in a lot of other skin conditions (e.g. Darier disease). In acne, these retinoids help to unclog the pores and ultimately alleviate the condition. They also reduce inflammation and improve the scars made by acne.

Topical retinoids include : 

  • Tretinoin  
  • Adapalene
  • Tazarotene

Other than retinoids, there are some other topical treatments that include : 


How to tell if acne is hormonal or bacterial ?

Actually hormonal acne leads to bacterial acne as bacterial acne couldn’t survive on its own. That’s why it is hard to tell the difference between them. But during the teenage (or puberty)  it is most likely that your acne is hormonal acne. For the diagnosis of bacterial acne you would need to consult your dermatologist.

Can fibroids cause hormonal acne ? 

Yes, because according to a research, the patients with fibroids have increased level of testosterone hormone that may lead to hormonal acne.

Which hormone is responsible for acne?

Testosterone (one of the androgens) is mainly the hormone whose higher levels in body leads to hormonal acne.

Can low testosterone cause acne?

No, low testosterone levels cannot cause acne because it is actually its higher concentration that causes acne. Rather, after the treatment of low testosterone patients by testosterone therapy may produce acne.

At what age acne is worst ?

During teenage (between 12 to 24 years) the acne is worst. The reason behind this is that during this age puberty occurs which causes acne.

How long does male hormonal acne last ?

It varies from person to person. It can go away in a while, can persist for a year or so, or may persist throughout life. It all depends on your skin care and your diet.

Share :

Scroll to Top