Chromosomes, hormones and acne – why sex matters

Men and women may be only an X or Y chromosome apart but it’s enough to ensure that we aren’t built the same. So it’s not entirely surprising that acne affects males and females differently.   

From puberty onwards, males have larger quantities of the hormones (androgens) which stimulate the oil production glands. These are the same hormones that stimulate the growth of facial hair, muscle development and other distinctly male characteristics during adolescence. Women have androgens too but much less.   

So who gets what?

Men are more likely to suffer from acne scarring than women.   This is because they have more severe acne, The best way to avoid acne scars is to seek medical advice if acne is not responding to over-the-counter treatments or when it gets beyond mild inflammation. Early, effective treatment is the best way to prevent scarring. 

Men who have acne as adults have usually been battling it since their teenage years. However, adult men are less less likely to develop acne for the first time than their female counterparts. Women bear the burden of adult onset acne – a frustrating condition which is becoming more common and appears to be linked to both hormones and stress.

What to do?   

Workout breakouts 

All About Acne Team
The All About Acne team – the authors of this site – are a group of medically-trained skin experts from across Australia who have an interest in acne management. Our experienced team of leading dermatologists guarantees the information on this website is independent and based on the highest quality research available.