Transgender Skin Care and HRT
Helping Folx Skin Care Needs who are Transitioning
Testosterone (aka “T”) is taken as a gender affirming hormone for trans-masculine and some nonbinary folks. It can create some significant skin changes, especially when you first start hormone replacement therapy. The right professional guidance, a holistic trans skin care routine, and acne treatments can help manage the acne and other skin challenges that come along with using T to promote healthy skin. For trans-femme and nonbinary folks taking estrogen (estrogen hormone therapy), expect to see the opposite skin changes which usually result in softer skin, less hair growth and less acne. We will focus this article on testosterone related skin changes.
Those undergoing HRT may experience an increase in oil production, resulting in oily skin, or a decrease in oil production, leading to dry skin. Therefore, it’s important to identify your skin type and choose products that address specific skin care needs. Regular cleansing, moisturizing, and protection from the sun are crucial steps in maintaining healthy skin for all individuals, regardless of gender identity.
Issue: Facial hair growth & ingrowns
How to help: Use these tips to reduce ingrowns and skin irritation when shaving:
Use a shaving cream for sensitive skin, like Vanicream, for slip when shaving. Use a razor with as few blades as possible (Bic Sensitive is a good option), and go with the direction of hair growth rather than against. If you shave too closely, the hair gets cut too low and then new skin can grow on top, resulting in irritation and breakouts as that hair has to push up through the new skin. Avoid shaving over blemishes. Soak your razor in alcohol after use to keep bacteria from growing & change blades/razors at the first sign of dullness/tugging at your skin.
Issue: Increased oil production & clogged pores
How to help: We help all our clients choose the right skincare routine to unclog pores, slough away dead skin cells, and manage excess oil. In general, you’ll want to choose a gel with hyaluronic acid in it, like Hydra Gel, for moisture instead of a cream-based moisturizer. Use a gentle yet effective cleanser that will wash away excess oils like Pink Clay Cleanser or Mangosteen Cleanser. Avoid chemical sunscreen filters as they can feel greasy, and opt for a mineral-based one like A|S Mineral instead. The zinc oxide will absorb excess oils and leave a matte finish without irritating skin or causing breakouts.
Issue: Increased acne and inflammation
How to help: Incorporate ingredients that kill acne bacteria like Benzoyl Peroxide, mandelic acid, Salicylic acid, BP+Sulfur and Joesoef Sulfur Soap. Make sure to only use these under the guidance of a professional so you don’t harm or cause dry skin. When new acne breakouts happen, ice them right away to speed up healing time.
Avoid supplements that worsen acne like whey protein, greens powders and biotin.
Taking your T consistently and not running out will help the acne stabilize over time. We understand this isn’t always possible due to pharmacy & healthcare system issues.
Issue: Body acne
Body acne is a common skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. It can appear on the back, chest, shoulders, and buttocks, and can be especially frustrating for those who struggle with it. Body acne can show up on all skin types.
How to help:
- Keep your skin clean: avoid fragranced detergent, body wash and fabric softener. Shower right away after workouts and change out of sweaty clothing ASAP. Avoid using harsh scrubbing tools or loofahs, as they can irritate the skin and make acne worse. Make sure that your body wash is acne-safe without pore cloggers and irritants, and use acne safe hair care products as well. SEEN has great options for both hair and body.
- Exfoliate: Use a body scrub or exfoliating cloth to help remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. Be gentle and avoid over-exfoliating, as this can irritate the skin and worsen acne.
- Moisturize: Apply a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer to help keep your skin hydrated without clogging pores.
- Use acne-fighting products: Look for products that contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, which can help unclog pores and reduce inflammation. Apply these products only to the affected area, and follow the instructions carefully.
- Wear breathable clothing: Wear loose, breathable clothing made from natural fibers like cotton or linen to help prevent sweat and oil buildup.
We have locations in Alameda, CA, Walnut Creek, CA, and Oakland, CA as well as Nashville, TN. We offer a welcoming space for everyone and have experience treating clients who are transitioning. We know how hard it is to have acne, we have all experienced it, and that’s what makes us empathetic to the process. If you are not a local client you can join our Long Distance Program or our DIY program which is for self starters. Take the quiz here. Our door is always open, please email if you have any questions about our services.