Assessment of serum androgen levels in women with acne vulgaris in Southeastern Nigeria: a cross-sectional study

Pan Afr Med J. 2022 Mar 18:41:227. doi: 10.11604/pamj.2022.41.227.32892. eCollection 2022.


Introduction: androgens play an important role in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris. They cause hyperkeratinization of the pilosebaceous follicles and seborrhea. Endocrine diseases characterized by increased levels of androgens often present with acne vulgaris. A correlation between serum androgen levels and acne severity exists, and the assessment of serum androgen levels is therefore essential in women with severe acne vulgaris and treatment resistant acne.

Methods: the study was conducted in the Dermatology Clinic of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku Ozalla. Seventy females with acne vulgaris and seventy females without acne vulgaris were recruited as subjects and controls respectively. Blood samples were taken from subjects and controls to measure levels of serum testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) and androstenedione. Acne severity was measured using global acne grading system (GAGS).

Results: the median levels of DHEAS and androstenedione (1.20µg/ml and 1.80ng/ml respectively) were higher in subjects than 1.00µg/ml and 1.70ng/ml in controls respectively, although these findings were not statistically significant. There was also no significant difference between the levels of serum testosterone in both the subjects and the controls. No correlation existed between levels of serum androgens and acne severity.

Conclusion: there was no statistically significant difference in the serum androgen levels between the subjects and the control population, and no relationship between androgen levels and severity of acne vulgaris was demonstrated.

Keywords: Females; acne vulgaris; androgen levels; androstenedione; testosterone.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris* / etiology
  • Androgens*
  • Androstenedione
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nigeria
  • Testosterone


  • Androgens
  • Testosterone
  • Androstenedione