The effects of hormones, no matter when someone starts, prompt a body's first or second round of puberty. And for some bodies, especially those starting testosterone, that means...acne.
Acne is caused by a combination of clogged sweat glands, an overgrowth of the normal bacteria on the skin, and the body’s reaction to that bacteria, which leads to inflammation. Testosterone stimulates the sweat glands in the skin to grow all over the body. When this happens in the face and other acne-prone areas of the body, it leads to more oily skin, which in turn can lead to clogged pores and an overgrowth of the bacteria that causes acne.
Using a gentle face wash twice a day, followed by moisturizer, can support healthy skin. Using harsh scrubs or astringents may actually worsen the acne inflammation, and should be avoided. Popping acne should also be avoided, as it can lead to a spread of the acne-causing bacteria and can lead to scarring.
Cleansers, toners, serums, or moisturizers containing salicylic acid are readily available at most drug stores. Salicylic acid helps to break down the material clogging the pores so that bacteria doesn’t get trapped and cause a pimple. It is also quite drying -- and oddly enough, if the skin is very oily, sometimes adding moisturizer can help to re-balance the skin’s barrier to counteract the drying of the salicylic acid.
With more moderate acne, some folx try Benzoyl peroxide, especially if they’ve been using salicylic acid products for more than 3-6 months without changes. Benzoyl peroxide fights the bacteria that cause acne. Those using this should start with once per day for a couple of weeks, and then increase to twice per day if it is being tolerated well. Benzoyl peroxide can cause dry skin and sun sensitivity, so make sure to moisturize and wear sunscreen!
If over-the-counter treatment isn’t working, there is the option for prescription-strength treatment.
Whether HRT is accounting for your first or second round of puberty, the intensity of acne will fade, if not disappear, as the body adjusts to its new hormones!
For FOLX members with further questions about prescription acne options, consider scheduling an appointment with a provider. For anyone who isn't a FOLX member, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to help you out.