Oestrogen effect on shrivelling skin?

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OK, so I know some will find this controversial. I've actually had breast cancer aged 44, with chemo induced menopause. Four years on, I am incredibly depressed about the state of my rapidly ageing skin, to the extent I can't function. I also need 10 hours sleep every night since the cancer, though the menopause and lack of estrogen may also be a factor. I'm seeing an oncologist next week to ask for estrogen (with possibly some sort of in situ progesteron as I still have my ovaries etc). I have read studies saying estrogen isn't the risk factor by itself for recurrence. I'm wondering. Anyone out there who went on estrogen a couple of years after the menopause and notice any improvement to their skin? I am beyond depressed to the point of 'bad' thoughts. Oh and I've had antidepressants previosuly and seen a psycologist, with no improvement.

Thanks

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  • Posted

    After my husband had chemo and radium treatment for Hodgkin's Lymphoma, he went into a black hole and no antidepressants would help.  In fact, they gave him bad reactions.

    Finally his gp thought of Vit B12 and after the 2nd weekly injection he came home humming and said hello to the neighbour whom he had ignored for a couple of years.  Even though I had been giving him Vit B12 in tablet form, It seems he was unable to absorb it in that form.  It had to be in enzyme form via injections.  After weeks of injections, he has finally moved on to a maintenance schedule of every 3 weeks and is so different to his earlier self.  Gets into his shed and does things, as well as around the yard, etc.  So have your Vit B12 checked out, as well as your Vit D - these are important.

    My Vit D consistently stayed low despite tripling my tablet dose.  My gp finally said try the Vit D3 drops.  My blood tests indicated a rise immediately.  4 drops a day I take.

    I have always used oestrogen (only the oestradiol type - transdermal, not tablets) for 26 years.  My skin is excellent compared to friends who refused to use oestrogen or did not feel the need for it.  I am sure your skin will improve with oestrogen.  Also ask dr for script for "Retrieve" cream and use a light smear nightly.  Stay out of the sun during the day.

    Retrieve is a retina A - the real one, not the weak one in expensive cosmetic creams.  That is why you need a script.  It will make your skin slough off the old skin and renew itself.  That sloughing is invisible (well it was for me anyway), and I also help it by exfoliating with some bi-carb soda powder mixed with some Cetaphil cleanser before applying the cream.  As bi-carb soda is alkaline, you must replace the acid mantle on your skin with some cheap white vinegar sprinkled in a wet face washer.  All these products are cheap, except for the Retrieve but it is still a lot cheaper than cosmetic creams, who claim to achieve the same.

    Go gently.   If you skin is very dry, try extra virgin coconut oil - the good stuff that you can eat.  Consume it too of course, put it in your hair for at least half an hour before washing it.  As I tend to have an oily scalp, I make sure that I just smear it on my hair and comb through.  I do not use conditioner.

    Take your progesteron as a separate tablet, not combined with oestrogen.

    I am sure this will make a big difference to you.

     

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    • Posted

      I also meant to add that being deficient in Vit B12 causes neurological problems, hence the severe depression.  A blood test will reveal.

       

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  • Posted

    Thanks for all your support. I'll definitely look into my B12 and vitamin D levels. I'm already using 0.1% retinoic acid cream on my face, but if I could get some retrieve on prescription, that would certainly help my budget. My small tube costs about £80 and there aren't many online sites and there's always the worry over the true content. I think I'm going to push my oncologist hard for oestrogen too though, as I'll end up finishing myself off before the cancer does at this rate. Thanks ladies. Much appreciated.
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  • Posted

    hi....so sorry to hear you are feeling so bad, I did post a long message but it was deleted because it had a link to a website regarding some amazing cream. But just to say that the B12 comment is so valid, I was diagnosed in December with a B12 deficiency and had 6 loading injections over 3 weeks and now take a daily pill which has made a massive difference. Sadly, UK doctors don't take this simple blood test seriously enough. I have recently bought a book called 'Could it be B12' and it's a revelation. Vegetarians often have a B12 deficiency and as we get older our system often doesn't absorb the B12 from our food so injections to build the level are the best start. 

    Also, I use Udder Cream on my skin, , yes, exactly what it's for, cow's udders, it's very inexpensive for a 350ml pot, ony 2.50 euro's  I buy it online from a website in Belgium although it can be bought from a huge UK website. Oncologists don't prescribe it but they do recommend it following chemo and it is awesome stuff, I buy 20 pots at a time! if you research it you'll see what I mean.In my previous experience, if anti-depressants haven't worked then there is another, often simple reason for feeling so low and B12 could be the answer. Everything is worth a try and there is always someone on this fabulous forum with something valid to share. 

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  • Posted

    Hi - I too am sorry you are dealing with so much & hope your appointment goes well. I am 45 and not on  HRT. My skin has been the biggest change to handle for me. It started with being really sensitive, then it lost a lot of volume which basically means I feel 'saggy' and lines have appeared that I guess were being pumped sad It really is difficult to accept and it started a year or more ago for me and seemed very sudden.

    I would take HRT if I had many symptoms that it might help with and if you are able to try it, then I would say give it a go.  I think skin could be improved but I also think it's a really tricky thing to think it is only estrogen that causes this.  It is what we are led to believe but in truth I am pretty sure that stress, a rise in cortisol when our sex hormones diminish can also be a factor. Basically our hormone system goes into flux before settling.  I also think estrogen is responsible for losing a fat layer beneath the skin, hence the sagging and looser skin.  I am not sure adding the estrogen back would improve this sad  I guess I am saying that pinning hopes on a change, might cause more distress.

    I tried to tackle things from a few angles, I invested in a lovely serum, increased water intake and generally paid more attention to my skin.  As others have said, I think we start becoming deficient in vitamins, I started increased Vit D and B12. Introduced more good fats, omegas by taking olive oil every day and adding flaxseed to cereal (I am a vegetarian) I also increased protein intake.  All these things help collagen production which slows as we age, regardless of hormones and I do think my skin is settled now.  Wishing you well, its awful to struggle accepting changes sometimes x

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  • Posted

    Yes, it is important to eat and drink healthy - it reflects in your skin.  But nothing ventured, nothing gained.  If nothing else, oestrogen hrt could prevent your skin from getting worse and you will gain other benefits too.
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  • Posted

    Hi All,

    Thanks for all your great ideas. Well, first of all, I saw an oncologist on Monday and they have agreed to low dose HRT in conjunction with Tamoxifen, which is the anti breast cancer medication. Apparently they have some women on it who are having a hard time with the side effects of menopause. I'm not completely convinced that the HRT will work whilst being opposed by Tamoxifen, which works by blocking oestrogen receptors. But hey, they seem to think this combo helps with hot flushes, so I'll give it a whirl. Maybe it manages to get to a proportion of the unblocked receptors. I actually think its a less safe combination than just taking bioidentical oestrogen, but I'm so mentally exhausted I'm beyond caring. And thanks Sandra for suggesting udder cream. Never heard of it, but had a google. I'm going to be purchasing some today!

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