Today, my posts are for the trans and non-binary folks out there. I have worked with many many trans people, helping them to understand what is going on with their skin and how to deal with it, and I want to share that info here. Please share with your trans friends who may have skincare questions? Thanks!
I’m going to do this post on skincare for trans and nb men, and then later today, I’ll do one for trans and nb women. Here we go!
SKINCARE FOR TRANS MEN AND NON-BINARY FOLKS TAKING TESTOSTERONE:1) WASH: If you are taking testosterone, you may notice a dramatic change in your skin. In general, T will cause your skin to become more oily, so you may notice that you are breaking out way more than before starting on testosterone. If your breakouts are not severe/cystic, your primary face wash should be mild, lotion-based, and anti-inflammatory. It should cleanse your face without stripping it. You may find that you need to wash your face twice a day to deal with the increased sebum production, and that is totally fine. However, if you wash twice in a day, DO NOT use an anti-acne face wash both times. Use your primary, anti-inflammatory cleanser for one wash, and your anti-acne one for the other. You do not want to get yourself into the stripping/overproducing oil cycle when you are already altering your skin’s behavior with hormones.
Oily skin needs regular, proper exfoliation to remain blemish-free. If you are dealing with blackheads and small pimples, you can use an exfoliating face wash with scrubby (but biodegradable) beads or alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid. AHAs are the best exfoliators for blackheads and light breakouts. You should be exfoliating 2-3 times a week, once a day. You can go to every other day, once a day, if necessary.
If your breakouts are more severe and/or cystic, you still need to use a mild, lotion-based cleanser as your primary cleanser, but you should be using a cleanser that contains salicylic acid as an exfoliant instead of beads or AHAs. If a salicylic acid cleanser doesn’t help, you may need a cleanser with benzoyl peroxide, which is antibacterial. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA), and is soluble in oil, whereas AHAs are soluble in water. SA is better for more severe acne because it is able to penetrate the pore and liquify the contents and wash them away. If you are dealing with jawline/hormonal/cystic acne, you want your SA cleanser to also contain anti-inflammatory actives like allantoin and sulphur mud, which have been shown to greatly reduce inflammation from cystic acne. You should be exfoliating every other day, once a day, and using your mild, anti-inflammatory cleanser the rest of the time.
TONE: Now that you’ve washed your face, it’s time for toner! Toner is important for two reasons: it hydrates your skin, and it restores it to its slightly acidic resting pH. Why do you care about resting pH? Because your moisturizer is made to deliver the most active ingredients to skin at a slightly acidic pH. If your skin’s pH is not slightly acidic, those active ingredients are delivered in far lower amounts than is needed, or not at all. Not toning means anything you apply after cleansing will not work, and you have wasted your money. I suggest using a toner that is simple and does not contain any AHAs or other anti-acne ingredients. This is because using too many products for acne in your regimen will put you right into that stripping/overproducing oil cycle. You can make your own toner if you like, just mix water, rose water, and witch hazel in equal proportions and put it in a spray bottle and keep it in your fridge. Throw it away if it gets cloudy. To use, spritz it on, and either let it air dry or wipe it off.
MOISTURIZE: It may seem counterintuitive to moisturize when your skin is swimming in oil, but you do need to moisturize, even if it’s just at night. I recommend an oil control moisturizer to help control your skin’s sebum production or a lightweight, anti-inflammatory product. Ideally, you would alternate between the two, but budgets do not always allow for that, so if you have to choose only one, go for the oil control one. I do not recommend using cream moisturizers for your skin, stick to serums or lightweight gels. Mineral sunscreens are good for your face, as the zinc oxide in them helps to absorb oil. You may use any eye cream you’d like.
Since it’s summer, if your skin is super oily, you may skip moisturizing during the daytime, and try dusting with setting powder to keep shine down. Use your moisturizer at night if that is your situation.
MASKS, ZIT ZAPPERS, ETC: If you are comfortable with the wash/tone/moisturize steps, feel free to add in things like masks, pimple patches, zit zappers, facials, etc. I suggest masking no more than 2 times a week, and for most zit zappers, you should only use them once a day and be careful about sun exposure.
I have deliberately refrained from discussing my products here so that you have general information you can use anywhere. However, for those of you who are interested in a regimen containing my products, here you go:
REGULAR BREAKOUTS, NOT CYSTIC/SEVERE:WASH: Use Calming Cleanser as your primary cleanser. Use Five Fruit as your exfoliating cleanser according to the instructions above. Wash 2X a day if you notice your skin is very oily by the end of the day.
TONE: Use any of my toners, they are all anti-inflammatory. Choose your favorite scent.MOISTURIZE: Use Mattifying Serum as your moisturizer. Ideally, alternate between Mattifying Serum and Skin Zen Serum. No Baggage is a great lightweight eye product. My Setting Powder is finely milled and talc-free, so it would be good to use to reduce shine. Also, my Summer Lovin sunscreen is good for your skin type.
CYSTIC/SEVERE BREAKOUTS:WASH: Use Calming Cleanser as your primary cleanser. Use Anti-Acne face wash as your exfoliating cleanser according to the instructions above. Wash 2X a day.TONE: Use any of my toners, they are all anti-inflammatory. Choose your favorite scent.MOISTURIZE: Use Mattifying Serum as your moisturizer. Ideally, alternate between Mattifying Serum and Skin Zen Serum. No Baggage is a great lightweight eye product. My Setting Powder is finely milled and talc-free, so it would be good to use to reduce shine. Also, my Summer Lovin sunscreen is good for your skin type.
I know it is tempting to go after severe acne with nuclear products, but I promise you that will make things much worse. Cystic acne is inflammation deep in the skin, so applying a ton of hardcore acne products won’t help. Anti-inflammatories and a consistent routine of skincare will, however.
A NOTE ON SHAVING: You should have a soothing product of some kind to apply after shaving. If you have trouble with ingrown hairs, apply a product containing AHAs/BHAs, that will remove skin layers and help get rid of the bump that forms and help release the hair. If you decide to grow a beard/mustache, make sure you are exfoliating that area regularly to avoid flaky dead skin buildup and shedding.
I think I covered everything, but feel free to ask if you have questions. #themoreyouknow