Male Hormonal Cycles
Male hormonal cycles are a misunderstood and overlooked topic. Unlike females, males are not ovulating monthly or releasing an egg from their sex glands. While a woman’s monthly cycle is very hormonally regulated, men produce sperm and testosterone all year long, a process that isn’t regulated monthly. However, some researchers consider male hormones to be regulated seasonally. For example, men are more sexual in the spring and summer months when their libido and testosterone levels rise. Biologically, males want to reproduce before wintertime. And from an evolutionary standpoint, there were logical reasons to have a baby during certain times of the year including improved genetic health and better weather conditions.
In addition to seasonal hormonal changes, testosterone levels of males rise in the early morning and diminish over the course of the day with small spikes due to increases in physical activity. Scientists, however, have yet to conclude if males experience hormonal fluctuations weekly and monthly like women.
Male Hormonal Imbalance
Imbalances in testosterone, the primary male hormone along with fluctuations in cortisol, insulin, and thyroid hormones can result in a male hormonal imbalance. The four common types are:
- Andropause- Popularly known as “male menopause”, andropause is a result of low testosterone levels.
- Adrenal Fatigue- Often resulting from long periods of stress, adrenal fatigue is caused by low levels of cortisol, our stress hormone.
- Hypothyroidism- A low production of thyroid hormones due to an underactive thyroid gland can cause hypothyroidism.
- Hyperthyroidism- A high production of thyroid hormones due to an overreactive thyroid gland can lead to hyperthyroidism.
The endocrine glands are responsible for producing, storing, and releasing hormones into the bloodstream. When the endocrine system is not functioning properly, an imbalance of hormones may occur leading to disease or pathology. Some causes of hormonal imbalance among males include chronic stress, diabetes, poor nutrition, and iodine deficiency among others.
Male Hormones & Skin Health
Fluctuations in male sex hormones, collectively known as androgens, can directly impact the skin’s health. While both females and males produce androgen hormones, males make a lot more androgens. Testosterone, the dominant androgen hormone, has many receptors on the sebaceous gland on the skin. Fluctuations in testosterone levels increase sebum production and when this is coupled with a clogged follicle it leads to bacterial overgrowth, causing inflammation and hormonal acne breakouts.
Stress, exercise, sexual intercourse, age, and your genetic profile all affect the level of testosterone in your body and hormone spikes in general. “When males experience acne flare-ups from stress, that is related to the cortisol levels that rise during stress”, Dr. Zenovia shares. “Some men also report getting less acne when they have a regular sex life. Is that because they are circulating testosterone more or because they're happier with their life? It’s unclear, but I do think men go through stages of hormonal fluctuations throughout life. We just don’t have the full clinical understanding or a common external sign, like menstruation in women.”
Male Hormonal Acne
To fight against mild to moderate acne flare-ups, Dr. Zenovia recommends an easy and effective three-step skincare routine. First, wash your face every morning and night with a cleanser that contains benzoyl peroxide. BP mainly has antibacterial properties but also serves as a keratolytic agent, meaning it works to open congested pores.
Next, apply a spot treatment to target any blemishes and follow up with a lightweight moisturizer. Many wonder if they need a moisturizer in their acne-fighting regimen- and the answer is yes! This is primarily because products formulated for acne can dry out your skin. A lightweight moisturizer will hydrate your tissue and preserve that critical barrier necessary for healthy skin.
The other critical element to treating acne is a clinical-grade retinol. Retinols are the mainstay of dermatologic care in acne. Dr. Zenovia’s Advanced Retinol Night Repair Treatment is a powerful retinol without the irritation due to its mindful chemistry and micro polymer system- this enhances absorption and allows for slow-release. The typical irritation seen with retinols is not seen.
Dr. Zenovia’s Acne Solution System is a 3-step kit of derm-developed topicals including Dr. Zenovia’s 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Cleanser, 5% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Spot Treatment, and Aloe Vera Blemish Soothing Moisturizer. This clinical-grade system works to diminish current breakouts and fight against future ones while soothing acne-prone, sensitive skin.
If you have tried topical treatments consistently for 3 months and still don’t see any improvement or if your acne is severe and scarring you should consult a board-certified dermatologist to receive an evaluation for a personalized acne treatment plan. Your doctor may prescribe oral medication such as antibiotics or isotretinoin for more severe, persistent cases.
Note from Dr. Zenovia: It’s important to gradually incorporate ingredients like Benzoyl Peroxide and Retinol into your routine. If excessive dryness or irritation occurs, reduce application. Additionally, since these ingredients can increase sensitivity to the sun, be sure to follow with an SPF sunscreen during the day.