Background: Acne vulgaris is one of the most common diseases afflicting humans and it is the skin disease most commonly treated by physicians. The prevalence of acne is about 15% in all age-groups and it is seen more frequently in women than men. Abnormal follicular differentiation, increased cornification, enhanced sebaceous gland activity, hyperseborrhea, bacterial hypercolonization, as well as inflammation and immunological host reaction are the major contributors to acne formation. Other factors such as diet, exposure to the sun, poor hygiene, stress, and genetics are believed to cause or worsen acne symptoms. Hormonal imbalance also plays a role in acnegenesis. Out of all the hormones, androgens are thought to be most important due to its association with the follicular and sebaceous glands.
Aim and objective: Our aim of the study is to compare the severity of acne vulgaris with free testosterone levels and to correlate its level before and after treatment. Ninety-three patients attending OPD of the Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, were enrolled in the study period of 1 year.
Results: The mean free testosterone levels before treatment were 1.58 ± 1.50 pg/mL and after treatment were 1.34 ± 0.90 pg/mL. These values were statistically significant (p = 0.006). The mean free testosterone levels in the age-group of <20 years before treatment were 1.93 ± 1.65 pg/mL and after treatment were 1.61 ± 1.06 pg/mL. These values were statistically significant (p = 0.016).
Conclusion: The increase in free testosterone levels may be responsible as one of the factors for the development of acne vulgaris.
Clinical significance: As free testosterone is associated with acne vulgaris, free testosterone levels should be measured in patients presenting with acne vulgaris, especially in the age-group 15–30 years and treatment-resistant cases and anti-androgen treatment may be indicated in cases with elevated free testosterone levels.
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