Don't let a bath or shower dry out your skin

Kick Fido out the bath – and enjoy yourself!

These are products that help keep your skin moist during and after a bath or shower

I have used these products ever since I woke up one morning covered in bloody skin lesions, and and turned in desperation to these companies, when a top Dermatologist tried to bully me to stop me asking “why did this happen?” .  His answer (the idiot) was “it’s your age”.

I drove him from the room, him saying “I am not going to stay and answer questions”, when it was obvious his students agreed with me – not him.

So these companies came to my rescue:  some of their products have had clinical trials in hospitals, some are approved by the FDA – but all of them bend over backwards to make good products that help us.

Doctors and nurses get all pious about not using ‘commercial’ products on your skin.  Huh!  And they don’t like scent either, but when I found out that lavender, rose and other plants and flowers are often used in medical products I stopped listening to them.  Lavender, in particular, was used as an antiseptic in World War I.  So I think there are some we can use – carefully.

If you are like me (and the dog!), you do like a bit of pampering in the bathroom!  The following products have been tested by me;  my skin is appallingly sensitive, thanks to drugs, so if my skin doesn’t errupt…….. it should be OK !    So although this is a totally ‘me’-focussed, non-medical post, if it works for me it should work for most people.

Out shopping I tend to make my choices amongst the following companies:

Elemis Recently I have been put on bisphosphonates (for osteoporosis – probably from Aromasin), and that is a real BxxxxR!  However, Elemis happened to send me a lovely bottle of their Frangipani Monalloi Moisture Melt – which arrived just in time to do exactly what the label says – melt into my skin.  Bonviva (the drug I am taking) is particularly vicious, and has managed to destroy my nails (Evonail are working on this at the moment), so anything to counter its effects on body skin has to be strong to be effective, and this Frangipani oil certainly is.

It is an oil, so be careful if you rub it into your feet that you wipe them down before you set off across a polished floor – but the effects are superb.

Elemis, in their quiet way, produce some fantastic skin products;  an old favourite that has just been re-launched to celebrate their 20th birthday is their Skin Nourishing Milk Bath – does just what it says on the label.

As I lie soaking in my bath, I think I am going to use the bottle it comes in to make Raspberry Vodka – which I give as presents to friends (I don’t drink – but my friends do!)

And of course their Spa just behind London’s Bond Street is the top place for superb treatments and massages.  Whatever I try of theirs always seems to hit the right spot, and they really do understand what our skin is going through.  And the little mews is just the place to have lunch or a coffee and relax afterwards.  You can buy all the Elemis products on the ground floor of the spa, and you always get lots of samples as well – making shopping there even more fun!

Finders makes one of the best body scrubs, called Dead Sea Salt Scrub, and it costs under £10. Another excellent product is their Dead Sea Body Scrub with Frankincense oil (£6.99). The same company also makes Black mud mask soap which is excellent for hand washing (stops drying out hands) (£3.29). www.deadseabathcare.co.uk .

Then in your shower or bath use Finders Heavenly Hydration in your bath or shower, then gently smooth their Skin Softener all over your body (don’t forget the bit around your waist on your back, which often gets very dry). This product is excellent for an emergency ‘repair’ when your skin is really dry, or it reacts when you are put on a new drug.

However, do wipe your feet before you step on a polished floor, otherwise the cream may not have soaked in – and you will slide all over the place!.  These products do what the name says on the package, and keep your skin soft,, smooth and – most important – healthy.  I can’t understand how Finders manage to keep prices down, and still produce some of the best bath and moisturiser ranges – but they do.

When you start on drugs your skin may be so dry that you will need to use a body moisturiser at least twice a day, and if you go swimming use it again after you come out of the water.

Floris I love the lightly perfumed bath gels, cleansers and gentle body lotion made by Floris.  Founded in 1730, Floris products were good enough for Florence Nightingale. So what’s good enough for one of my heroines is good enough for me.  Today, the company is run by the eighth generation of the family, and walking into their shop at 83, Jermyn Street, you are still given the same ‘old-fashioned’ service.

Floris make a range of sweet smelling products that don’t dry the skin, and are gentle.  Not only that, but they also support the Cancerkin centre – so are well worth supporting themselves.

I had a marvellous friend who, knowing I loved jasmine, used to give me Floris products in their Jasmine range, including Body cream, and other bath products in same range.   They also make ranges smelling of Roses, Lavender, Lily of the Valley, etc. and the evocative Edwardian bouquet.

When advised by a doctor that I needed to ‘bombard’ my skin with something extra strong, I used Floris’ scents to add to almond oil to make this smell nicer.  However, you won’t find this type of product made commercially, as you have to be very, very careful.  Firstly because it is so sticky it can be dangerous walking, and secondly it takes time for the oil to be absorbed into your skin, so you have to be careful what you touch and where you sit!  But it is as useful remedy when drugs make your skin scaly.

Incidentally Floris also make a perfumed Hand Wash, which is a good idea as it doesn’t dry out hands, unlike soap.  www.florislondon.com

N.B.  I was horrified to find an NHS website advocating using almond oil on our faces.  It is NOT made for this;  our facial skin is a different composition to body skin, and needs a lighter product.  At times I wonder if the NHS is working against us!  Just to be sure I hadn’t got it wrong, I asked Julia Cox, the very helpful member of Clinique’s staff who deals with the medical profession, and she sent me an email confirming we must ensure we use facial oils – not heavy, sticky ones.

Bronnley are one company that use floral scents, and, they have teemed up with the Royal Horticultural Society to produce a collection based on some of England’s loveliest scented flowers.

Incidentally, Bronnley was founded in 1883 by Jimmy Bronnley and is one of the last solely     British owned firms in its category.  Not only do their products smell gorgeous, but they are made in Britain, so you  are sure no under-age children and used in the production!

I love the scent of roses, and my favourite treat is to lie back in a bath of their Rose Bath Relaxant – it does exactly what it says on the label – pure bliss!

Afterwards, whenever I have particularly scruffy skin (usually when a new drug has been prescribed), I know if I don’t zap these warning signs, I will break out in skin lesions – nasty bloody blisters and peeling skin.  This has happened twice – twice I have been told “it’s your age”, and eventually I took myself off to France to have these dealt with properly.

Femfresh as a company make a lot of helpful products, designed to spare our blushes and make us feel fresher!  They are soothing, hypoallergenic and dermatologically and gynaecologically tested, and their Femfresh spray makes you feel much fresher all through the day.  Their helpful products can be found in major chemists, such as Boots and Lloyds pharmacy, around Britain.

Now I have certain products which I put on straight away after a bath when I am on a new drug.   I pat myself dry, and whilst my skin is still warm and moist, spread on Clinique’s Deep Comfort Body Butter.

Again, this does what it says on the jar, and is fantastic at smoothing down my skin – and moisturising it not only on the surface, but deep down so that this lasts throughout the day.

Clinique also make a Body Lotion – a slightly ‘runnier’ version that sinks in more quickly, but of course isn’t as moisturising and the Body butter.  But if you like a liquid version, this is excellent, and perhaps revert to the Body Butter once or twice a week.  The background to this comppany is very ‘medical’, with doctors in charge and a history of careful, clinical research.

iS Clinical is an American company, making top skincare products, which are now sold via good dermatologists in UK.  Their Body Complex is a marvellous skin lotion to smooth on after a bath or shower, and is excellent at zapping my dry skin, particularly if it is being ‘itchy’. Although the lotion  is rich, is is not cloying, and sinks in without leaving you all sticky.

Is Clinical is a botanical treatment especially suitable for ‘more resilient skin areas of the body’ .  i.e. those areas that go all hard and scaly!  If you are about to have more radiotherapy, try using this twice a day for a month before – it is brilliant at ‘priming’ your skin.  And I know that Washingon Cancer Center has had a lot to do with promoting this for cancer patients to help with dry skin.

If you can’t find their products,  go to cosmetic surgeons as they are much more likely to recommend and supply these products to their patients.  There is big money in this side of medicine, so their surgeons are pretty clued up – and they will recommend iS Clinical because it helps faster healing – so one reason why it is excellent for ‘cancer drugged’ skin.

La Roche Posay is another ‘hero’ range of products, but recently they have had to withdraw and re-write their marketing for these excellent products, because new rules and regs. mean they can’t advertise that their products are helpful for cancer patients.  The new MHRA rules are so convoluted I can’t understand them – all I know is that a product I have used for 20 years now can’t be sold to me in a dropper bottle;  instead I am supposed to use Minims (those horrid little fiddly plastic things) which are impossible (I have had polio and fingers can’t squeeze the drops out).  So instead of using a sensible bottle, I have to cut off the Minim bottom, let the solution run out into a container, soak it up using a dropper – then drop the solution into my eye – highly contaminated process!

Anyway, I use their products all the time – and the fact that they have been clinically-trialled in France (with its excellent cancer-care record) is good enough for me.  They make a wide range of products, and these are sold through major Boots outlets, as well as in some top chemists such as John, Bell and Croyden.

However, in the summer-time, after a bath I will spread on one of their body cream products – then wait a few minutes until this is absorbed – then spread on their Anthelios sun cream.  This should not be rubbed in, but allowed to be absorbed naturally;  this will give much better protection.

I will be writing more about their products, when the powers-that-be have made up their minds what exactly they are allowed to tell us – but as I am non-medically qualified, there is nothing to stop me from saying I was prescribed La Roche Posay when I went to France to be treated for side effects from cancer drugs.  !!

Dr. Bragi.  If I have had an extra dose of pills – such as antibiotics that seem to be the standard treatment for just about everything today,  I reach for products developed by Dr. Bragi. He comes from Iceland – and started to use his research to develop products using marine enzymes – plenty of them in Iceland.  These products act like a serum, and I use the Face and Body Salvation (does what it says on the label) when I can feel those rough patches developing as a side-effect from antibiotics.

I spray this all over my body, and can use it on my face as well.  It sinks in, and really gets the skin back on track.I don’t begin to understand it works – but the crystal-clear pump action bottles come with a warning.  They are sensitive to lipid-based products, so wait at least 15 minutes before applying any other cream or lotion on top.   www.drbragi.com

Products I have mentioned are fairly expensive – but if you spend £80 on a pair of trainers, doesn’t your skin deserve the same attention?  Our body skin is vitally important, and yet there is so much of it to protect it can be an expensive exercise.

And nurses look at my skin, and tell me it is lovely!  This is all thanks to the products that I use – nothing to do with me!

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