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Some people gladly call it early hormones “second puberty” because of the bodily changes that come with HRT. Like puberty in adolescence, second puberty can come with specific concerns for skin care.
It’s common for trans male people starting out Testosterone-based HRT for experiencing severe acne, and for trans women, starting estrogen-based TRS can make their skin prone to hyperpigmentation.
Insider talked to doctors about the most common HRT skin care problems and how to treat them.
People who start estrogen may experience dryness and hyperpigmentation
Sunitha Posina, a New York-based internal medicine doctor, may start estrogen-based TRS can cause hyperpigmentation and dry skin.
Hyperpigmentation occurs when the skin darkens in specific areas, such as under the eyes and areas around the mouth. Darkness can be caused by an accumulation of melanin in isolated areas of the face.
People can use products that contain vitamin C, azelaic acid, and other bleaches for hyperpigmentation.
Posina suggests turning to products that contain ingredients to brighten the skin to treat any hyperpigmentation that appears after starting estrogen.
Insider reported earlier Vitamin C can prevent the enzyme that produces melanin from forming dark spots, so using serums that contain it can reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
Posina told Insider other ingredients that are commonly used to brighten the skin azelaic acid, niacinamide, arbutin, and kojic acid, all of which suppress the enzyme that produces melanin.
Be sure to match any skin lightening product you use with sunscreen, as they can make your skin more sensitive to the sun and susceptible to sun damage.
Thicker moisturizers containing hyaluronic acid and sunscreen can help with dry skin
If your skin becomes drier, Posina suggests a routine of four main ingredients: retinols, vitamin C, sunscreen and moisturizers.
Insider reported earlier using a retinol once a day after cleansing your face can help increase cell turnover. This process can reduce the appearance of fine lines, acne, and help your skin retain moisture more easily over time.
Moisturizer is crucial to reduce skin dryness and help your skin regulate oil, according to Posina. However, it is important to keep in mind what types of moisturizers you use.
“Hydration with certain ingredients becomes more important because the skin tends to become drier,” Posina said. “Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acids, ceramides, glycerin, fatty acids, cholesterol, emollients [like] shea butter, non-fragrant vegetable oils. “
Lastly, you should accomplish your routine with a sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays and prevent premature aging.
Acne and oily skin are the primary skin care concerns that come with testosterone
Taking testosterone can cause your skin to produce more oil and thickness, which can cause acne. It can happen in people who otherwise would not have acne before starting TRS.
“Testosterone increases sebum production, which in turn can cause inflammation of the sebaceous glands and can cause acne / acne,” Posina told the Insider.
Those who are on a 50 mg dose of injectable testosterone per week normally see their peak acne at 6 months, while those on a 20 mg dose a week may experience their peak at the mark of l ‘year, according to the University of California San Francisco.
According to Dr. Jennifer MacGregor, a dermatologist in Union Derm in New YorkIf hormonal cystic acne is not treated, this can cause severe acne scarring line.
“Healing is a likely sequel if acne isn’t treated, so it’s important to seek treatment even if you’re not so interested,” MacGregor told Insider.
It is important to treat testosterone-based acne to prevent scarring in the future
To treat acne related to URS, MacGregor recommends finding a detergent that contains salicylic acid, because it can reduce irritation and attack the bacteria that cause acne.
Using a retinoid after washing your face can help increase cell turnover to clear your pores more quickly and reduce your acne.
Posina suggests following the wash and retinoid with spot treatments of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid to target specific problem areas without excessively drying the rest of your face.
Although it may feel counterproductive to moisturize your face if you are struggling with excess oil, properly moisturizing your skin can really help regulate sebum production and cut down on your acne.
Posina said finding a pure moisturizer with ingredients that promote moisture retention such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid can help regulate your oil production.
If your acne becomes severe while you are on HRT, MacGregor also recommends seeking the help of a dermatologist. Signs to look for are large painful lumps, rosacea, or clogged pores.
“Acne should be treated by a dermatologist to control inflammation and minimize scarring,” MacGregor told the Insider.