Once puberty hits, androgens in boys become far more numerous than in girls. This increase in androgens hits both boys and girls because it triggers parts of puberty, but in girls, it tapers off, while in boys, it continues.
Boys’ skin becomes thicker than girls’, and produces more oily sebum. This means, unfortunately, more acne for boys at puberty, though interestingly, later on women suffer more acne than men despite having less androgens. This is likely because the androgen receptors in women’s skin are more responsive.
There is a direct link between androgen levels and acne. Androgens actually cause sebum production in skin cells, so the more androgens, the more sebum. One comes directly after the other. Not all men, obviously, get acne, which means there are other elements to it that are important to understand to effectively treat your version of acne.
Things that can cause or exacerbate acne in men
- Increasing testosterone or androgens
- Bodybuilding, building muscle
- Sports masks
Changing the way your body uses fuel, and the interactions it has with insulin, makes a difference. Steroids, for example, produce what’s known as ‘steroid acne’, which is often severe and very hard to treat.
Treating male acne
Adult acne in men or women can be difficult to stamp out, particularly since the focus is often on the skin, when this isn’t always the problem. Acne is most often an inside job, with hormones out of whack or another unknown causing the sebum-producing glands to overproduce or the skin to underfunction. This sets you up for the angry acne cycle.
There are some great new technologies that can put the brakes on acne, for example our acne program, lasers and oral medications. Seeing a dermatologist is the fastest way to start the process of understanding – and successfully treating – your acne.