After puberty, males tend to have much higher levels of androgens, which are male hormones that result in thicker skin, more skin oil production, and ultimately more severe cases of acne as a whole—both on the face and body—when compared with females.
Adult men often get more of a reprieve compared to women, however. As adults over 25 years old, men tend to experience less adult acne than women.
Men should take care when shaving to avoid irritation, and consider general skin care, such as sun protection, just like women.
After puberty, androgens (male hormones) are about 10 times higher in males than in females. Due to this increase in male hormones, a man's skin becomes about 25-30% thicker than his female counterpart. Male skin also produces more than twice as much sebum (skin oil) and thus more severe cases of acne on average. Let's take a look at some more considerations when it comes to acne in males.
Shaving with the wrong razor or with the wrong shaving cream/gel can cause irritation and perpetuate a case of acne. Be sure to visit the Acne.org Guide to Shaving to be sure you are reducing irritation when shaving.
When men, or women for that matter, increase their calories, the body responds by increasing androgen (male hormone) production. This is why people often notice that their acne can flare up when they are gaining weight. If you are bulking up and increasing your calories, this may make it a bit harder to get and stay clear. It is most likely not your protein powder or bodybuilding supplement that is causing your acne. Instead, it is more often simply an increase in calories. Be extra diligent with your acne treatment regimen while bulking.
Taking anabolic steroids in order to increase muscle can make acne much harder to treat and can cause acne to flare on the body as well. In some circumstances, anabolic steroids can cause fast-onset and very severe cases of acne that are hard to treat.
Physical irritation of the skin aggravates acne. Anything that rubs, scratches, or comes into prolonged contact with the skin can make acne worse. Sweat combined with physical irritation can make matters worse. Since men sweat more than twice as much as women, this can exacerbate the risk caused by a facemask. Women wear facemasks when playing sports as well, but men on average wear more facemasks than women. If you wear a facemask, you will notice that your acne is most likely more severe in the area where your facemask meets your skin. Make sure to be extra diligent with your acne treatment regimen in this area and also learn about the power of glycolic acid to prevent irritation.
Body and Neck Acne
Adult Male Acne
Finally, some good news. Men experience about half as much adult acne as women. While male acne tends to be more severe during puberty, it normally subsides in early adulthood. This is not always the case, however, and about 25% of adult men experience adult acne at some point. Adult male acne is treated the same as pubescent male acne.
Males in general are less sun savvy than females. While 10-20 minutes per day of unprotected sun exposure for people with lighter skin and 20-30 minutes of unprotected sun exposure for people with darker skin can actually be beneficial for acne, getting a sunburn is damaging to the skin and can bite back with acne in the two weeks following exposure. Be sure to educate yourself on sunscreen and acne.
The Experts at Acne.org
Our team of medical doctors, biology & chemistry PhDs, and acne experts work hand-in-hand with Dan (Acne.org founder) to provide the most complete information on all things acne. If you find any errors in this article, kindly use this Feedback Form and let us know.
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