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Sebum excretion in hidradenitis suppurativa.

BACKGROUND: Clinical and histological similarities between hidradenitis suppurativa and acne have been pointed out. The possible role of sebaceous glands in hidradenitis has not previously been investigated. Acne treatment, in particular is however not effective in hidradenitis. No previous information was found on regional sebum excretion in hidradenitis.

OBJECTIVE: Investigate the sebum excretion (SE) and markers of cutaneous virilization in hidradenitis patients.

METHODS: Sebutapes and scores of acne, hirsutes and alopecia in 16 women with hidradenitis suppurativa were compared with 16 healthy controls.

RESULTS: The SE and the number of active glands followed a similar pattern in both groups (face > axillae/genitofemoral fold, p < 0.0001) but no significant differences were seen between the two groups. No differences were seen in the median Body Mass Index, number of obese persons in either group or any of the clinical markers of virilization studied.

CONCLUSION: No significant axillary, genitofemoral or facial seborrhea was found in hidradenitis. It is suggested that SE is not an important factor in the development of hidradenitis, and this may help explain the generally unsatisfactory therapeutic effect of retinoids in this disease. The results further suggest that general cutaneous virilization is not a feature of hidradenitis.

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