Pop my pimples and tell me I’m pretty!

I’m a 25 year old trans and nonbinary artist experiencing what it’s like to have acne for the very first time in my life. I’m about five months in on my journey with testosterone—a decision I made to physically transition my body into a more androgynous and masculine form that meshes with my inner identity.

Among the few negative side effects that have come with taking testosterone, the one that (literally) pops up the most on my body, is acne. Pimples, blackheads, zits, and cysts EVERYWHERE! We’re talking brand new landscapes and entire topography on my back, butt, chest, neck, face, shoulders—you name it.

I had no idea what to do or where to even start finding a way to alleviate the painful mountains that had made their home across my once smooth skin. So, I posted to my Instagram community about my dermatological struggles and several followers and friends shared similar experiences with testosterone. They offered up some of their favorite acne-busting routines, and so now I share some of my favorites with you.

Fave Tips for Dealing with Acne from the Trans and Nonbinary Community:

  • Drink more water!

  • PanOxyl

  • Reduce sugar in your diet

  • Detox tea

  • Multivitamins

  • Cut out animal/dairy products

Even though when I started testosterone, my doctor told me that there was no way to really predict exactly what was going to happen with my body, over the past half a year, I’ve noticed significant changes that have made me feel more centered and at peace with who I was meant to be. My body fat distribution has become more equalized across my body, my boobs have deflated a bit, and my shoulders appear broadened as they run perpendicular to an increasingly defined jawline. I’ve been more than thrilled with the changes—but that doesn’t mean it’s been easy.

Because of the acne and what I saw as severe, image-shifting imperfection, I even started struggling with the whole concept of my transition. I found myself desperately missing the smooth, clear skin that I had before starting testosterone, but simultaneously not wanting to trade in my newly defined jawline and masculine appearance.

When I finally discussed my skin concerns with a trans-affirming doctor, he assured me that as my body adapts to the testosterone shots, my second puberty will start to fade and my skin will return to what it once was.

Whether or not I reach this fabled promised land he speaks of, where I get to have my jawline minus the pimply ridges, I’ve now got plenty of new ideas to start playing offense against these painful intruders on my face and body. Bring it on pimples, I’m coming for you… And hopefully, these ideas can be useful for you too!


By: Cass Bliss (prev Cass Clemmer), @theperiodprince. Cass is a trans and nonbinary artist who works to create humorous and interactive gender-inclusive sex education while exploring their own relationship with gender and sexuality.