During Sophia Hernandez’s transition, her skin underwent a massive change: the content creator and activist stopped growing facial hair and started breaking out non-stop.
“It’s been a journey to get my skin to where it is now. When I first started taking [hormones], my skin just went wonky,” Hernandez tells Bustle. “It was hormonal and I was breaking out back to back. It was literally just a painful time because you’re lowering the testosterone and raising the estrogen.”
Every skin type typically undergoes an adjustment period after an increase or reduction of hormones, so skin changes are expected when trans patients begin their transition. But these problems aren’t just surface-level issues. A 2019 study shows that skin concerns and diseases often go undiagnosed and unrecognized in trans patients, which will then lead to significant impairment to their quality of life and mental health. It concludes that “greater recognition and implementation of dermatologic care will improve overall clinical outcomes of gender-affirming care” in this community.
Hernandez considers herself lucky to have found a great doctor who was kind and helped her through every step of her transition. (“I loved every moment with [my doctor],” Hernandez says. “She made me feel so comfortable in my skin [and] did not make me feel judged. It was just like talking to a friend.”) Others are oftentimes not as lucky.
“I think someone [who is] 30 or 40 [going through transitioning] might [have] tougher skin, but someone [who is] 18 and just starting out, [when they] hear all these scary medical terms, [they] might stray away from doing what they want to do,” she says.
She credits doctors today for being more aware than before about the language they use, saying her younger friends tell her about their positive experiences in transitioning. While her