A Seamless Transition: Transgender Dermatology

La Jolla Male Female Transition Skin CareMany of the treatments and surgeries that help people transitioning from one gender to another – from male to female (MTF) or from female to male (FTM) – can create unwanted side effects that make the process more complicated. Common examples of these side effects include:

  • Unexpected, unwanted hair loss on some parts of the body
  • Unexpected, unwanted hair growth on other areas
  • Dry skin
  • Acne
  • Scarring

These and other side effects can affect your social and physical transition, so it’s important to choose a dermatologist who is not only trained and experienced in helping make the transition easier, but who also understands the complex issues and emotions that can arise as a result. At Cosmetic Laser Dermatology in San Diego, our board-certified dermatologists have the experience and compassion necessary to help transgender patients reach their aesthetic goals as smoothly as possible.

In fact, once you discuss your aesthetic goals with our caring skin specialists, we can create a customized treatment plan uniquely for you.

Hormone Therapy

Typically, the gender transitions start with hormone therapy. If started early enough – i.e., during puberty, particularly in the initial stages – transitioning with this intervention is often sufficient for you to have the facial contouring you prefer in a natural way.

However, if you start hormone therapy as an adult, there can be unwanted side effects that make the transition more challenging such as changes in your hair growth and the development of new visible veins including spider veins and varicose veins.

Male to Female Transitioning

For males transitioning to female, estrogen therapy makes the features softer and more feminine. It helps develop breasts, increase body fat, slow body hair growth, and reduce the production of secretions such as sebum that help keep the skin healthy. However, estrogen can also cause the skin to become dry and itchy (or drier and itchier if you have naturally dry skin).

At Cosmetic Laser Dermatology, we offer a wide variety of useful therapies and recommendations to help this transition. Moisturizers and corticosteroids can help reduce inflammation and itchiness. Laser hair removal can also help reduce body hair since estrogen doesn’t completely remove facial or body hair.

Female to Male Transitioning

For female to male transitioning, testosterone therapy is typical. Testosterone increases sebum production, making the skin oilier than what a woman usually experiences. As such, this can result in acne outbreaks that are often severe enough to lead to scarring. The therapy also increases body hair; however, as a transitioning man, this may make you more susceptible to male pattern loss of hair.

Female to male transitioning skin treatments include topical solutions such as creams and/or acne facials and/or chemical peels or photodynamic therapy

For transitioning men experiencing male pattern hair loss, Minoxidil in topical form or other topical shampoos and specially formulated vitamin supplements may be a good option.

Options to Help Transition Either Way

Surgical Procedures

Surgery is the most common option to help affirm the transition to female or male. For MTF females, surgery can enhance the breasts or recontour the genitals. Unfortunately, this can lead to a variety of unwanted skin conditions, such as visible scarring, that must be resolved in order to help you have a comfortable life.

For FTM males, surgery removes the breasts as well as recontours the genitals. Yet, the breast surgery can leave scars, which are particularly unwanted for FTM because it can affect his masculinity and confidence. Genital reconfiguring also can result in skin conditions that must be resolved.

To reduce or erase the scars, Cosmetic Laser Dermatology provides laser treatments, light therapies, and topical and/or injectable medications.


lip injections near me san diegoIn lieu of surgery (or even as a complement to it), cosmetic fillers, such as Juvéderm and Restylane, collagen stimulators like Radiesse and Sculptra and neuromodulators, such as Botox or Dysport, are good choices for MTF females because they help soften masculine features to match the transitioning woman’s goals.

For example, they can do the following:

  • Help the lips appear fuller and more feminine
  • Add more prominence to the cheekbones
  • Make the butt appear more toned and/or fuller
  • Create a rounder forehead
  • Highlight a more feminine looking chin

Filler procedures are a good alternative to surgery, as they can be done at Cosmetic Laser Dermatology’s office in San Diego and require no anesthesia. Another benefit is that there is usually very little or even no downtime.

Body Contouring

La Jolla Fat Reduction Body ShapingTo help your new body match the appropriate gender, Cosmetic Laser Dermatology offers a variety of body contouring and/or fat removal procedures that can help you look more feminine or masculine.

Liposuction or liposculpture can sculpt the body you want by removing excess fat. A non-invasive fat removal procedure such as the fat-freezing Coolsculpting is also another option for contouring the body to match your goals.

These procedures are effective for most areas of the body, including:

  • Stomach/waist
  • Love handles
  • Thighs
  • Upper arms
  • Back fat
  • Neck

Learn more about liposuction at WebMD.com.

Skin Tightening

Regardless of whether you’re a MTF female or FTM male, sagging or lax skin may be an unsatisfactory part of your appearance. It can make the transition more challenging and frustrating.

Our knowledgeable, compassionate experts understand this. As such, a non-invasive procedure such as Ultherapy, which employs ultrasound or Thermage which uses radiofrequency to tighten your skin without your having to endure even one incision. Furthermore, it helps stir the production of collagen in your skin, thereby strengthening the underlying tissue.

Ultherapy and Thermage are safe and effective for rejuvenating lax skin in the following areas:

  • Face
  • Chin
  • Neck

Perhaps best of all, many patients report minimal pain, so it requires no downtime.

Choose a Board-Certified Cosmetic Dermatologist to Help Ease the Transition

If you’re making the transition to your more appropriate gender, don’t rely on non-professionals for this process. Trust the procedures needed to make the transition smoother to board-certified dermatologists and specialists who understand your needs and have the knowledge, skill, and compassion to help you achieve your aesthetic and transition goals safely and beautifully.

Contact Cosmetic Laser Dermatology for a Transgender Dermatology Consultation

To learn more, contact Cosmetic Laser Dermatology by calling our San Diego office or contacting us online.

Next, read Say Goodbye to Unsightly Scar Tissue with Scar Revision Treatments

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