DHEA and Cystic Acne

Discussion in 'Men's Health Forum' started by SPE, Jan 15, 2006.

  1. #1

    SPE Junior Member

    DHEA and Cystic Acne


    It seems that when I supplement with DHEA, I get cystic acne on my back and shoulders. This happens with as little as 25mg/day. I supplement with it because my DHEA levels were very low, and my adrenal output was as well. I was up to 50mg/day because 25mg didn't seem to raise my DHEA-S levels at all. I ended up getting acne and dropped it to 25mg, but still have acne.

    Here is what I know:

    1) DHEA is converted to a couple of different things in the body, and it appears in mine it's not getting converted to DHEA.

    2) It's not being converted to E2 as my E2 has only gone down since starting stupplementation.

    3) Total e was never tested for baseline, but was at the higher end of the range last time I checked while on DHEA.

    As to what is going on, I think the DHEA is being converted to something else and making me break out. Could be androstenedione, or estrogen(but not e2)
    I've heard that in women, DHT can tripple with DHEA supplementation, so that's a possiblity as well. Does anyone have the conversion chart? Also, COULD dropping the DHEA and replacing it with pregnenolone help?
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2006
  2. #2

    SPE Junior Member

    Bump as the first got locked and this message was temporarily deleted.
  3. #3

    HeadDoc Psychologist; Super Moderator

    If I knew the answer, I would have answered when you asked me to delete a copy of the thread (which I can't).
  4. #4

    SPE Junior Member

    That's what I figured. Don't you hate it when your finger slips on the mouse?:rolleyes:
  5. #5

    marianco Doctor of Medicine

    In Adrenal insufficiency, low DHEA levels and "low adrenal output" (which I assume to mean low cortisol levels) may be found. DHEA levels may be low since it is being shunted to making Cortisol rather than other hormones. Cortisol is the only hormone absolutely necessary for life - thus the sacrifice of other hormones to make Cortisol. The solutions to a Cortisol deficiency include either to improve the adrenal organ's ability to make Cortisol (by providing precursors to Cortisol or vitamins and minerals and co-factors that take part in the processes that make Cortisol) or to provide replacement cortisol(either directly as hydrocortisone in very low doses or take supplements that extend the duration of action of Cortisol).

    DHEA supplementation in Adrenal insufficiency is a problem (as far as I currently know) since it cannot be made into Cortisol. It is used as a precursor to make other steroid hormones. In the absence of other steroid hormone deficiencies with Adrenal insufficiency, it may not be directly useful to supplement DHEA. Pregnenolone - the direct metabolite of cholesterol - may be useful in the pathway toward making Cortisol and DHEA. Progesterone, in women, is another more direct precursor for Cortisol.

    DHEA as itself a mild androgen can directly cause acne. This can occur at as low as dose as 10 mg a day.

    In some men with testosterone deficiency, I've observed that DHEA at high doses without acne is more easily tolerated - probably because the DHEA is being converted to testosterone.
  6. #6

    SPE Junior Member

    Well that explains alot. Thanks Marianco!
  7. #7

    marianco Doctor of Medicine

    There is one study I know of where the testosterone, DHEA, androstenedione levels were measured in men with and without acne (Hatwal A, Singh SK, Agarwal JK, Singh G, Bajpai HS, Gupta SS,. Serum Testosterone, Dhea-s and Androstenedione Levelsin
    Acne.Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 1990;56:427-429).

    DHEA-S and Androsenedione levels were much higher in men with acne than men without acne. Testosterone levels were "marginally" elevated in men with acne than men without acne.

    My take on this is that DHEA has direct potent effects in causing acne.
  8. #8

    1cc Junior Member

    That is very interesting. Thank you Marianco.
  9. #9

    SPE Junior Member

    I'm thinking it does. The thing is, my DHEA level while on DHEA have still always been mid range or lower. So, either my body likes the DHEA on the lower end, or my androstenedione levels are going supraphysiological from the DHEA conversion.
  10. #10

    pmgamer18 Junior Member

    My DHEA has always been low normal 166 range 80 to 560 ug/dl. Taking 25 mgs. before eating lunch my levels came up to 329 ug/dl. I have never felt any different and find that stopping the DHEA my E2 is not as high. I have read a lot about DHEA and for men it dose not make T go up but does for women.

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