Cutaneous Hormone Production Is Distinct between Anatomical Sites and between Males and Females

Juliana Pineider, Kaitlyn M. Eckert, Jeffrey G. McDonald, Tamia Harris-Tryon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The skin acts as an endocrine organ capable of hormone production and response. Moreover, many skin conditions clinically improve with antiandrogen therapies. Despite their importance, we have an incomplete understanding of the composition of hormones produced by the skin. In this study, we have characterized the hormonal landscape of the skin across anatomical sites and between the sexes through analysis of skin secretions. In this observational pilot study, we collected skin secretions from the antecubital fossa, forehead, back, and axilla of 12 male and 10 female subjects using commercially available adhesive patches. We then developed a method to extract and quantify hormones from these secretions through liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. We were able to detect seven hormones and observed anatomical site differences in glucocorticoids, cortisone, and 11-deoxycorticosterone. Most notably, we observed marked elevations in dehydroepiandrosterone in the axilla and androstenedione on the forehead. We also detected differences in several sex steroid hormones between male and female subjects, with the majority consistent with known systemic hormone differences. Through this approach, future studies will determine how hormonal composition of skin secretions is altered in skin diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)596-601
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number4
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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