Testosterone HRT & Acne

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.

November 11, 2020
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Testosterone stimulates sweat glands, which can lead to oily skin, clogged pores, and 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.

With acne, be gentle, and leave it alone.

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.

Over-the-counter treatments can work for some, but don’t over-treat.

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!

When it isn’t enough, some opt for prescription-strength acne treatment.

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 support.folxhealth.com and we'll do our best to help you out.


FOLX Health is the first digital healthcare company designed by and for the LGBTQIA+ community. Our services include virtual primary care, gender-affirming hormone therapy including estrogen and testosterone (HRT), mental health care, sexual and reproductive health care, preventive care, and fertility consultations. FOLX memberships give you access to LGBTQIA+ expert clinicians, peer support, thousands of LGBTQIA+ resources, and more. Whether you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, gender non-conforming, or nonbinary, you can find LGBTQIA+-specialized health care that helps you meet your wellness goals. FOLX Health is health care that's queer all year. Get all the benefits of becoming a FOLX member and sign up today!