More Education and Better Strategies Needed to Fight Acne in Transgender Individuals Interview with:
Howa Yeung, MD MSc | He/him
Assistant Professor of Dermatology
Emory University School of Medicine What is the background for this study?

Response: Acne is common in transgender and gender diverse individuals who receive gender-affirming hormone therapy – a health disparity population that is understudied in health research. We aimed to explore the impact of acne and identify practice gaps in acne treatment in transgender and gender diverse individuals. What are the main findings?

Response:  Acne led to experiences of rejection and discrimination, worsened body dissatisfaction, and led to social avoidance. Transgender women reported acne interfering with feminine gender expression. Transgender men often normalized acne development, sometimes positively as an early sign of testosterone action. Many tried over-the-counter treatments and sought advice from physicians, peers, online forums, and social media.

Barriers to acne treatments included cost, lack of multidisciplinary care, mistrust toward the health care system, and lack of transgender-specific acne care education. Isotretinoin treatment required navigation of potential mental health adverse effects and patient discomfort with contraceptive and pregnancy testing requirements. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Dermatologists should help develop strategies to reduce acne stigma, provide transgender-specific acne care education, facilitate multidisciplinary acne care, and expand transgender-friendly clinical environments to reduce the impact of acne in transgender and gender diverse individuals. What recommendations do you have for future research as a results of this study?

Response: Future research should examine how acne severity and experience change over one’s life time using a life course approach and should examine new ways to overcome barriers to accessing acne treatments.

Any disclosures?

Dr. Yeung is supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases under award numbers L30AR076081 and K23AR075888 for this work, and by a grant from the American Acne and Rosacea Society outside the submitted work. Ms. Gold reported no disclosures. Additional disclosures were listed in the manuscript.


Gold S, Siira M, Willner S, et al. Lived Experience of Acne and Acne Treatment in Transgender Patients. JAMA Dermatol. Published online January 03, 2024. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2023.5355,improve%20body%20image%20and%20confidence.

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