British skincare brand E45 shines a light on skin changes for trans people

When transitioning, trans people experience all kinds of changes, including the way their skin looks and feels – and some of these changes can be unexpected and uncomfortable.

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Today, E45 supports transgender, non-binary and gender Diverse people with the release of a new campaign – ‘This Is Me. This Is My Space.’ – which has won the annual Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising Award. The campaign, conceived by T&Pm, will be backed by over £1 million worth of commercial advertising airtime across the Channel 4 network.

This year’s brief was to focus on a misrepresented part of the LGBTQIA+ community. E45 responded with a playful yet profound pitch, extending its existing ‘This is ME45’ brand platform to shine a light on the skin experiences of a community who are almost invisible in advertising, featuring in less than 1% of ads.1

The hero film features trans women performing their daily skincare routines, a ritual that will be familiar to so many viewers. It captures the simple pleasure of being in your own bathroom – a safe space to be yourself, hurt, heal and feel comfortable in your skin – in a world that can at times feel inhospitable. Launching on International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the campaign intends to alleviate some of the hostility faced by the trans community with empathetic, human storytelling.

Sally Perry (she/her), Global Skin Health Category Director on E45 at Karo Healthcare, said: “We’re proud to share this first of a kind portrayal of trans women on their journey to becoming more comfortable in their skin, shining a light on the realities – both painful and joyful – involved. In doing so, we hope to create visibility and empathy for all trans people. E45 has always been a brand for everyone. We have been skin experts for over 70 years, providing solutions for a vast range of skin conditions. We are committed to making skin feel comfortable so that everyone can feel comfortable in their skin.”

The film was directed by Sophia Ray of Academy Films, who expertly captured the identities of the talent to tell a truly authentic, uplifting story. It includes little Easter eggs for those in the know, from a genuine ‘Notorious HRT’ pot created by Rose Schmits of The Great Pottery Throw Down, to a winking blue shark.

Complementing the TV and Vod activity, next week sees the launch of a series of social-first programming, In My Skin, created by 4Studio, Channel 4’s social branded content division. The series features a diverse collective of trans people sharing their personal experiences of transitioning, with all the struggles and empowerment that this journey brings.

Verica Djurdjevic (she/her), Chief Revenue Officer at Channel 4, said: “At Channel 4 we passionately believe that better representation delivers compelling storytelling for viewers and stand out commercial results for our partners. This powerful campaign is our latest step in driving positive, authentic representation.”


The research behind the film

Both transitioning and exploring one’s gender expression – for example, through hormone therapy or hair removal – can cause changes to the way skin looks and feels, some of which can be uncomfortable. Trans people are often not prepared for these changes, which can lead to deeper skin issues and increased body image dissatisfaction.

To improve awareness amongst the transgender, non-binary and gender diverse population, as well as the healthcare professionals who may look after them, E45 has funded research into the dermatological aspects of gender affirming treatment. This research was led by Professor Jon Arcelus and Professor Walter Bouman of the University of Nottingham, and Dr Kamilla Kamaruddin of the East of England Gender Service. Together they reviewed over 500 existing studies and turned their findings into a paper that’s been submitted to the International Journal of Transgender Health.

E45 is sharing the key findings with the trans community and their healthcare professionals through printed materials for distribution in healthcare spaces, and a dedicated hub on

Dr Kamilla Kamaruddin (she/her), GP in Transgender Healthcare and Clinical Lead at the East of England Gender Service, said: “E45 has supported a systematic review that sheds light on the dermatological needs of transgender, non-binary and gender diverse individuals, providing healthcare professionals with essential insights to treat trans people with common skin conditions. Enhanced understanding and patient centred care can significantly improve both the physical and mental well-being of the transgender communities.”

The campaign has been informed at every stage by consultations with trans and non-binary people from a range of backgrounds. These consultations were facilitated by The Diversity Standards Collective, a specialist research agency, and by WPP Unite, the global community for LGBTQIA+ people and allies working within the WPP network, including at T&Pm.

Mika Alcock (they/them), Associate Creative Director at T&Pm, said: “Through working on the Channel 4 Diversity In Advertising Award brief, I have been lucky enough to find myself surrounded by a bunch of amazing allies who feel as passionately about change as I do. I wish those who feel unsupported, unheard, and unloved could see that good people are supporting them. If they did, maybe they would be as hopeful as me that one day things will change.”

To find out more, visit


1 Source: Channel 4’s ‘Mirror on transgender People’ research 2024, conducted in partnership with E45, T&Pm and The Diversity Standards Collective.


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