When is lab testing indicated in the workup of acne vulgaris?

Updated: Mar 26, 2019
  • Author: Jaggi Rao, MD, FRCPC; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Laboratory tests

Acne vulgaris is a clinical diagnosis. However, laboratory testing may be indicated in the following situations:

  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS): Consider PCOS in female patients with oligomenorrhea, hirsutism and/or acanthosis nigricans in addition to acne. These patients should be evaluated with total and free testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), androstenedione, luteinizing hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone values, as well as a lipid panel, glucose value, and insulin level.

  • Cases refractory to long-term antibiotic treatment or when improvement with antibiotics is not maintained: Culture skin lesions to rule out gram-negative folliculitis.

See Workup for more detail.

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