This week is a big milestone for me- I am celebrating a full year on HRT! I started taking low dose testestrone a year ago as part of my transition, and it’s been an incredible process so far. I can’t say enough about how comfortable, safe, and at home in my skin this has made me feel. Of all the body modification things I have done, choosing to use hormones to create my ideal body and become my authentic self is one of the most empowering, radical, and magical processes I’ve experienced. But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, especially when it comes to my many piercings. So, what has a year of HRT looked like for my piercings? Let’s chat about it!
CW: This blog post will discuss bottom growth and genital piercings.
Arguably the most noticeable change since starting HRT has been the loss of all three of my facial anchors. I had surface anchors below each eye and in my forehead for many years, and they had been wonderfully stable and healthy that entire time. That all changed just a few months into starting HRT. I have always had combination skin with an oily T-zone but some dryness around my eyebrows from psoriasis. This entirely changed on HRT- my lower face has become fairly oily and my T-zone has become dry. Absolutely, bone dry, just screaming for moisture. I knew that I could expect some changes to my skin and some hormonal acne, but I was surprised at how dramatically my skin type changed.
I’ve ended up needing to determine a new skincare routine to manage my now very dry skin that includes new stronger moisturizers and using more night cream products. But sadly, my surface piercings did not survive the change. About 2-3 months in on T I started to notice dryer skin around my eyebrows, and generally less hydration around my eyes. They would be a bit puffier in the mornings. And I started to get more dry skin around my surface anchors that needed to be cleaned away more often. As time went on I began to see larger changes on my body- my shoulders were becoming more broad, the weight distribution around my torso and hips was changing, as was my face. At this point, my anchors began to get weepy and tender.
Sadly, the end was near, and all of them slowly began to lift until I had to make the call to remove them. I didn’t want to let them migrate fully out as this would leave some very severe scarring that could have made repiercing them later difficult if not impossible. Removal now would at least allow me to revisit redoing them in time. And I’m quite glad I did, as I’ve continued to have changes in my face and skin that they wouldn’t have appreciated.
This has also effected my 1 year old bridge piercing, and I have been battling dry skin patches around it basically since starting T. I still am, but I am having a lot of luck with my current routine of cleaning and moisturizing, and I’m hoping that the warmer months will bring happier skin and less struggles. But it was a rollercoaster to see the way that my surface anchors just said “no thanks” and decided to leave after years of being settled and stable.
I’ve also found that with the redistribution of fat on my face that my cheeks and lip piercings have changed slightly. Not enough to majorly impact things, but my jewelry wears differently and fits differently. It’s a very subtle difference, but one I absolutely notice.
Perhaps one of the most rapid changes was with my VCH piercings. I experienced bottom growth within my first week on testosterone, and my VCH’s were immediately uncomfortable, tight, and pinchy. Having seen so many clients deal with migration from bottom growth I opted to remove them right away, and have not worn them since. The piercings channels are still open, and it remains to be see if I will decide to bring them back or not. It was a very immediate change, literally before my second shot I already noticed a difference and a sensation I did not enjoy at all, and did not want to deal with that. That being said, I do have some clients who wear their existing piercings comfortably indefinitely through their transition and never need to change anything. My other piercings in the area have all been fine and not even needed new jewelry. So, your experience with HRT and these piercings very well may look very different then mine.
Despite the loss of my surface piercings and my VCH, and the trouble my bridge has given me, everything else has not really been effected much. I have 28 piercings, so 5 out of 28 being grumpy about my entire body changing and becoming new is honestly pretty fair odds. I also went into taking HRT knowing there could be these changes to my skin and body, and understanding that those changes could invariably effect my body piercings. It is my hope that by sharing my experiences I can help others prepare for the realities of dealing with piercings while on HRT. And if you, like me, have experienced irritation and issues with piercings on HRT, I hope that this helps you feel less alone, and reminds you that growing pains can come for us all.
Cheers to my second year on HRT, and all the new and wonderful changes I have ahead of me!