Association of thyroid autoimmunity with acne in adult women

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2012 Apr;26(4):413-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2011.04084.x. Epub 2011 Apr 27.


Background: During the last decades an increase has been observed regarding acne in adults and especially women.

Objective: To evaluate the association between thyroid disorder and the presence of post-adolescent acne in adult women, comparing with healthy controls.

Methods: 107 adult women with post-adolescent acne and 60 healthy controls were included. Complete blood count and standard biochemical profile of C-Reactive Protein (CRP) and levels of thyroid hormones and antibodies [triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), free T3 (FT3), free T4 (FT4), antithyroglobulin antibodies (anti-TG) and anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies (anti-TPO)] were determined in all subjects of both the acne and control groups. A thyroid ultrasound was also performed.

Results: There was a statistically significant difference (P=0.008) in the prevalence of positive anti-TG antibodies, with 25.2% of the acne group and 8.3% of the control group having elevated (>40 U/mL) anti-TG levels, respectively. Adult women with acne had a statistically significant increased relative risk to have high levels of anti-TG in comparison with healthy controls (odds ratio 3.89, P=0.011). This association was independent of age. Values for TSH, FT4, FT3, T4 and anti-TPO did not significantly differ between the two groups. No significant difference was found regarding the thyroid ultrasound findings. Although there was no significant difference between cases and controls regarding CRP levels, it is interesting that we observed a significant elevation in CRP in those acne patients who had positive antithyroglobulin antibodies.

Conclusions: It is likely that thyroid autoimmunity might be more frequent in the adult acne patients and this should be kept in mind when screening women with post-adolescent acne.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / etiology
  • Acne Vulgaris / immunology*
  • Adult
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Autoimmunity*
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Thyroid Gland / immunology*
  • Thyroid Hormones / blood
  • Thyrotropin / blood


  • Autoantibodies
  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Thyrotropin
  • C-Reactive Protein