Lack of association in acne and salivary testosterone

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David Fresnais
Edvin Ingberg
Elvar Theodorsson
Jakob O Ström


The pathogenesis of acne vulgaris has only been partially elucidated. Various hormones, especially androgens, are likely to play a role, but results of studies are still inconclusive. The objective of the current study was to investigate whether day to day variation in salivary testosterone correlates with acne in males. Saliva samples were collected for 120 consecutive days from each of the 40 males. Salivary testosterone concentrations were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Facial acne lesions were assessed on a daily basis by photography by the participating males. Potential confounders’ (sexual intercourse, masturbation, physical exercise and disease) were also registered every day by the participants. A significant but weak association between salivary testosterone and acne was found (n = 4602, r = 0.031, P = 0.034). Elevated testosterone concentrations were associated with an increase in acne, but when testosterone concentrations were above twice the individual average, acne lesions paradoxically decreased. The current results indicate that daily fluctuations in salivary testosterone levels in males are associated with acne patterns, but the weak correlation suggests that the effect is too small to be of clinical significance. The analysis in the current study was complicated by a large number of days on which the participants had no acne, as well as the seemingly non-monotonic relation between testosterone and acne. This may indicate that the actual relation is stronger than concluded here.


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    How to Cite
    Fresnais, D., Ingberg, E., Theodorsson, E., & Ström, J. O. (2018). Lack of association in acne and salivary testosterone. Journal of Controversies in Biomedical Research, 4(1), 1–5.
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