Cutaneous manifestations of the subtypes of polycystic ovary syndrome in Korean patients

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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrinological disorder in women of childbearing-age. Although PCOS has common dermatological manifestations, including hirsutism, acne and androgenetic alopecia, little is known about the dermatological characteristics of PCOS patients in Asia.


The goal of this study is to elucidate the dermatological characteristics and metabolic and hormonal parameters of Korean PCOS patients classified by the three ASRM/ESHERE criteria.


We investigated 40 untreated PCOS patients who were newly diagnosed in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology of Seoul National University Hospital. Patients were classified according to the presence of irregular menstruation (IM), polycystic ovary morphology (PCOM) and hyperandrogenism (HA). Acne specific questionnaire, physical examination, and blood sampling were thoroughly conducted.


Twenty four patients (60.0%) met the criteria for the IM/HA/PCOM group and sixteen (40.0%) belonged to the IM/PCOM group. Acne was the most commonly observed dermatological manifestation (95.0%) followed by hirsutism (60.0%), seoborrhea (47.5%), acanthosis nigricans (20.0%) and androgenetic alopecia (12.5%). Hirsutism was more frequently observed in the IM/HA/PCOM group; the prevalence of other cutaneous manifestations did not differ significantly. Acne was most often observed on the face and most acne lesions were distributed on the forehead and cheek. Serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate level was higher in IM/HA/PCOM group, while serum cholesterol and high density lipoprotein concentrations were higher in the IM/PCOM group.


We described several dermatological manifestations and serum hormonal and metabolic parameters in Korean PCOS patients. Cutaneous manifestations might be the first signs of PCOS; therefore, dermatologists should be more aware of cutaneous manifestations of various ethnicities.

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