A study comparing the clinical and hormonal profile of late onset and persistent acne in adult females.

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Adult acne has been classified into two major subtypes: "persistent acne" and "late onset acne". A surrogate marker of hyperandrogenism (HA) in adult female acne is the presence of clinical signs of HA and biochemical hyperandrogenemia. We compared the clinical and hormonal profiles of the two acne subtypes and evaluated the likely source of androgen excess - ovarian or adrenal.Female acne patients 25 years of age and older were evaluated for clinical HA. Hormonal assessment included total testosterone (TT), sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), free androgen index (FAI), anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17-OHP), dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and prolactin. DHEAS and 17-OHP represented adrenal androgens and AMH indicated ovarian reserve.Of 120 cases, clinical HA was seen in 71.67% while biochemical hyperandrogenemia was detected in only 18.33% of patients. Though late onset was more common in adult acne patients (56.6%), the persistent acne subgroup (43.33%) had a younger age at onset, a past history of adolescent acne (51.92%), truncal predilection (44.23%), polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) (44.23%), significant presence of irregular menses (40.38%) and hirsutism (57.69%), and increased TT (13.46%), 17-OHP (76.92%), AMH (44.23%), and increased LH/FSH (15.38%) ratio. PCOS was seen more in the persistent acne patients with clinical HA and increased 17-OHP levels.Persistent acne patients had marked clinical HA, PCOS, and hormonal abnormalities necessitating an endocrinological evaluation. As a corollary, this subgroup would benefit from antiandrogen therapy.

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