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Facial feminization: skin resurfacing

This can have a subtle but powerful effect in feminizing the face. It can be used to smooth skin, to shrink pores, to reduce scars, especially from electrolysis. You should work out a good skin care regimen (diet, exfoliation, moisturizing) with a dermatologist,, but if your skin requires additional feminization, you have several options.

Cosmetic options


Recently, microdermabrasion has come on the scene, which is basically just power exfoliation. It’s often offered in salons or by technicians through dermatologists’ offices. The results can help, but it pretty superficial and not lasting.

Topical preparations

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and drugs like Retin-A (trentinoin) can also help turn over skin and improve its appearance. Talk to a trans-recommended dermatologist to discuss these sorts of options.

Medical options


This is a mechanical peel, where the skin is basically sanded down to the newer skin below. This has been largely replaced by chemicals and lasers.

Chemical peels

There are two types of chemical peels:

High-concentration AHA peels done in a dermatologist’s office (or milder ones done by some beauticians). I recommend doing the stronger ones and having them done with a dermatologist for best results.

Phenol peels, which are a major undertaking under anesthesia, and with a very long recovery. Effects are more dramatic, but you’ll be red for quite some time.

Laser resurfacing

This newer method has limited data on long-term effects, but many have found it to be a promising procedure. Anyone considering the procedure should read Nicki Hamilton’s laser skin resurfacing photos for a bit of an idea of what to expect.