Effect of androgens on the male skin

The skin is the largest nonreproductive target tissue in which androgens play important role. The majority of the skin cells demonstrate an expression of androgen receptors. The skin is not only under the influence of sex hormones, but is also an organ of the their secretion. The skin and its appendages demonstrate the activity of enzymes essential to the synthesis of androgens. Differences between female and male body concern different organs and depend among others on the proportion of androgen and oestrogen levels. Studies have shown that men’s skin is thicker, less sensitive with the more intense sebum secretion compared to women. Androgens determine the various susceptibility of the skin of men to ageing, drying, mechanical damages and the effect of cosmetic preparations. These hormones also exert the strong impact on hair follicles, sebaceous and sweat glands. Mature men have darker skin with thicker dermis containing more collagen fibers, more resistant skin to mechanical, chemical and physical properties compared to women. On the other hand, it was found more frequent and more aggressive course of skin cancers in men than in women which could be due to the presence of large DNA damage keratinocytes under the influence of ultraviolet radiation and the lower activity of some estrogen-dependent antioxidant enzymes. The skin of men contains less sensory receptors than the skin of women, making it less sensitive to stimuli such as temperature, touch and pricking. According to some authors, androgens may exert immunosuppressive effect by inhibiting the proliferation of lymphocytes and antibody synthesis. On the one hand it can promote the occurrence of infections of the skin in men, on the other hand, autoimmune diseases may occur less frequently. Androgen synthesis in the skin may be responsible for the development of diseases such as seborrhea, androgenetic alopecia, acne. During aging, the change in the level of circulating androgens can modify not only the morphology but also crucial functions of the skin as the homeostasis of the epidermal barrier and the wound healing, functioning of sebaceous glands and the growth of hair.