Category Archives: Body Skin

Looking Good is Good for YOU

Rose et amour....rosa y amor ....rose d'amour ...

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Germans take Facials seriously

A new outpost opens in London


Brilliant and gleaming – London now has a new salon, IQMSMedicosmetics,  dedicated to looking after faces only.  So simple –  but before the only people who were this dedicated were private therapists.  Opened in Cadogan Gardens, just opposite the back door of Peter Jones.

Beware imitations;  up and down Harley Street are “medispa” outlets galore, dedicated to making money for their owners, and not much help to us.  The British “spa” industry, which is nothing like the Continental one, has latched on to the name “Medispa’ – but having visited I can assure you they are dedicated to giving our faces genuine help.

So when I was put on “a new drug, which I was told “won’t give so many side effects” (no, only different ones), the usual happened to my face:  brillo pad skin, rough edges and very tight skin.  So I thought I would try the !QMSMedicosmetics outlet.


This is the personal vision of Dr. of medicine Erich Schutte, a renowned cosmetic surgeon working in Germany.  As I found out, his staff really know their stuff.  Usually, the effects of a facial will last perhaps a month;  this one, ably administered by Silvia,  lasted – and lasted – and lasted.  And even though I have been shoved full of some ‘nasties’ recently, the facial’s effects are seeing them off!

Dr. Erich Schulte says, “advancing the science of skincare is more than a passion for me;  it is my life’s work and the foundation of QMS Medicosmetics”.  At first , his claim to have developed pioneering formulas made me sceptical, but the moment you enter the doors of 43, Cadogan Gardens, you feel you are in a really clean working environment.  Everything sparkles, including the helpful staff.Refresh-and-Rejuvenate-this-Spring

At the end Silvia gave me a leaflet, marked with the in-house products she had used, and how I should use them in the future.  What impressed me was how she only considered a few products;  there was no hard sell here.

All in all – Silvia was a life-saver – and I am going back!

43, Cadogan Gardens,  London SW3 2TB


Fight cold winds with good skincare


Calendar Girls

Image via Wikipedia

Products that deliver care


It’s that time of year when we  need to make promises to look after ourselves, and in particular our skin.

The bitter cold weather that has hit Europe, Britain and North America is a reminder to protect – protect – and moisturise our skin.

As cancer patients, we have even more reason to do so;  if we don’t, we risk ending up with very dry, lined and peeling skin caused by side effect of our drugs, and in the worst scenario this causes splits, lesions and leaves us open to infection  – ughhh!

The Telegraph says the average British woman spends £483 per person on anti-ageing products (doesn’t mention men – but bet they are just as eager buyers).

Each day a new cream gets launched on the beauty counter,

But how do we know which and what to buy?

It’s all very well telling us how much we spend, but I bet a large amount of the £483 goes on products that promise the earth – but don’t deliver.  And unless you are a research chemist, it is difficult to know what is good for your skin and what is just advertising hype.

You have no idea what fantastic rubbish comes across my desk – whenever there is a launch of some ‘celeb’ product, suddenly I am the PR girl’s best friend.  But – I always insist on trying anything new on myself, knowing full well that if the product isn’t very good, the PR machine will do everything in its power to blind one with champagne and gifts, but never let you actually try out the product.

And now, with Valentine’s Day coming up, a lot of ‘cheap ‘companies are out to entice unsuspecting men into buying some very dubious ‘skincare’.  So if you are at all worried, I suggest you print out this page and ring round the products you think might suit you.

Here is a selection of the goodies that have been sent to me to try, and which I found actually did work on me.

REMEMBER – I am NOT medically qualified, so it is best to ask advice of your CNS, dermatologist or chemist first – and then do a test by rubbing a small amount on your arm – waiting 24 hours to see if your skin reacts – then if OK go ahead.


WELEDA Citrus Refreshing Bath Milk.  This is just the product to help counter winter winds.  Weleda are old and firm favourites with me, and I love their Bath Milk lotions.  Whenever I need a soak after a hard day’s work, or want to re-nourish my skin (or both), I pour in bath milk to replenish the moisture in my skin.  As its name says, this has a lovely Citrus scent (watch out the males don’t pinch it!) and first time I used it I just floated away.             £9.50  for 200 ml.


If Scotland is going to become a separate country, I do hope there aren’t going to be any stupid customs taxes.

Because if so, I would hate Arran Aromatics Angelica Body Lotion to cost any more!  Although for £12 for 300 mml it is very good value, especially as it is keeping my skin lovely and soft whilst the winter is doing its worst.

This company makes a lovely selection of goodies, all of which are reasonably priced.  And their products come in delightful soft, flowery scents, which shouldn’t upset any scent police!


If you have a cold bathroom, or just find it too tiring to spread on cream, try body oils.  These are lighter, and easier to ‘spread’, but are just as good as creams and lotions.  There are two types:  1.  Shower oils to use for cleansing, and 2.  Body oils to use after a bath/shower.

One of my favoourite shower oils is made by the French company, L’Occitane.  Currently I  am using their Almond (Amande) oil, but they also make a dreamy Citrus Verbena scent.  Buy these from the QVC channel online shop, as they often have very good deals.


Nature’s Inspiration Lavender Body Scrub is a gorgeous treat that does one’s skin an incredible amount of good.  It smells nice (which helps) because it uses Lavender, used also for antiseptics;  comes with a dinky measuring scoop (which is ideal for cooking), and it really smoothes off those rough patches that skin gets in the winter – as well as nourishing and moisturing skin.

I am a great believer in simple packaging, so as to save the trees.  But this company goes one further and says all its jars and packaging are from ethical companies.  Not only that, but for once, when I have finished a beauty product, I can use the jar for storing herbs and other cooking ingredients.

Cost £14 and can be purchased on or on Amazon.





A very pretty slightly scented cleanser wash, scented with Jasmine which has healing properties.  It conditions at the same time, and hydrates skin, but doesn’t leave a residue.

The bottle is all the right ‘eco’ things, and I liked its design – eco-friendly products don’t have to look ‘goodie-goodie’!

And the bottle lasted a long time;  when I came near the end I opened it up, put in some water and had at least another week’s washes out of the bottle.


From the same stable comes Clary Sage and Evening Primrose Oil contains what is says on the label, and both plants are good for skin.  It’s an anti-ageing facial oil, and works wonders in reducing those nasty signs of skin ageing.  With a clean herbie  scent,  the combined natural properties in the oils are powerful workers to help repair skin.  Use it every day, and you will soon find that your skin is much smoother.  £21.99

Tripping up the stairs to the local beauty salon, I noticed there were boxes of products from a firm called ENVIRON.  Talking to Joanne, as she gave me a massage, they said they were trying out Environ Advanced Skincare, and suggested I tried their Ionzyme C-Quence Cleanser.

As they say on their website,  “Environ® skin care products have been formulated to combat and relieve the harmful effects of the harsh climatic changes of today’s environment specifically pollution and ever-increasing doses of radiation from the sun due to the thinning of the protective ozone layer. Added to these are the modern-day effects of social and work stresses and poor diet”.

The cleanser certainly performed well, and not only cleanses my face, but leaves it soft and moist.  You need to have a personalised consultation with a trained Environ therapist before you can buy any environ products.  So call 0800 0433 365 for more information.

WEIL for Origins.

Part of the Estée Lauder giant group that does so much to help us, Weil have come up with Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief.

I did start to read the bumf – but was more interested that using this serum on my face twice a day, the ‘grey’ look disappeared from my skin, and it came alive.

The little bottle lasted a long time too – about three months –  so well worth the £56.

Once the mushrooms have done their best, you can change to a milder lotion, the Mega-Mushroom Soothing Treatment Lotion at £24.



If, like me, you dread washing your hair and having cold drips down your neck, there is a lovely ‘cheat’ product on the market:


Or you can use RICHARD WARD’S Couture Hair Optimiser Hair Reviver.  I spray this on my hair when my salon blow dry is starting to look past it’s sell-by date, and lo and behold, the waves bounce back. It’s a bit like a hair spray that gives my hair a lift, and saves my set for another day!

Richard Ward makes lots of different products, and all at reasonable prices under £20.  His website is worth looking at;  no hype, no false promises, just a lot of sensible wording to help you choose the right product for your hair.  And what’s even nicer, no mention that he does the Duchess of Cambridge’e gorgeous hair.  And the rest of the Middleton family.


Soap can be very drying, so I have tried out ‘soap in a dispenser’, that you just pump out – and am finding my hands are much less scratchy.  One of nicest I have come across is made by Neom;  Organic Handwash, in one of their lovely scents :  Moroccan Blush Rose.  I had thought that these handwashes would be better for my hands, but now I have come to the end of the first bottle, I wish I had discovered this before.  At this time of the year my hands were usually rought and sore, but now they are so much smoother.

Tip:  Keep a bottle or jar of hand cream by EVERY tap in your home.  And one by your front door next to the house keys, so you pop some on every time you go out.   You need this to protect your hands from cold winter winds and to re-moisturise whenever you wash your hands;  and it’s also useful in the summer if you choose one with an SPF number to protect from the sun.  Doing duty by my taps at the moment are:

Essie Intensive Recovery Hand Cream – which I love.  Not sticky, but I can feel it soaking in and doing my poor dry hands some good. It also repairs cuticles, so does double duty.  Essie make excellent hand care products, and I am about to try out some of their nail products to try and counter the damage that drugs do to them.  When I told them about the problems we face,  they came back with excellent advice, which showed their research chemists had looked into the harm that drugs do to our skin.  Nice people.   – if only the medical profession would work with Essie and similar companies to help find solutions to our problems, rather than the doctors looking down their noses.

Just under £20, and you can get it from umpteen websites, if it isn’t in your local store.

I now know why my girlfriends always want to ‘wash their hands’ when they visit:  they look to see what hand cream they can ‘borrow’.


Baileys Home

provides products for gardeners, one of which is their fabulour Citronella Handcream.  When you buy a jar, do get another one for anyone you know who is a keen gardener, because the quirky garden designs around the jar make it look less ‘girly’ than most.    They will love the list of ingredients, all written in the Latin names they are used to (in English as well!).  They also list ”not tested on animals’, whereupon a visiting dog immediately went to the jar I had opened to lick it!   Didn’t do him any harm though, but I snatched it back as it does my hands a lot of good.

And do have a look at their website:  it explains that “when we’re not rescuing and recycling, we design simple useful products with a subtle sense of humour and nice labels. We also source some things from small family run companies who have been making the same things for generations”.




Clinique has sent me a jar of their new REPAIRWEAR UPLIFTING FIRMING CREAM. This will be in the shops in a month or so, and well worth putting your name down to be the first to try this out.

As Clinique reminds us, as we age, natural processes in the skin begin to slow down. Skin begins to lose volume, collagen and elastin production decreases and the pull of gravity starts to show. All these factors lead to a loss of cushion that keeps the face looking plump and youthful.

But after trying out this Repairwear cream, my skin really is looking miles better.  It’s firmer;  its glow has returned and I can look at myself in the mirror without having to stare at lines and wrinkles.  Apparently the cream uses modern technology to help repair and rebuild the skin, and I was interested to see that the formula includes Mitostime, a botanical extract derived from brown algae harvested off the coast of France.  I have written elsewhere about the benefits that seaweed contains, and this is another product that is making use of age-old ingredients in a modern way. Clinique says it helps strengthen the foundation of the skin, providing the tension to support the collagen and elastin matrix.

Like all their products, this is Allergy Tested. 100% Fragrance Free. Oil-Free. Dermatologist Tested.
Ophthalmologist Tested.  For Stockist: 0870 034 2566.

RRP £ £50.00 / €68.0


Those helpful people at Flexitol have  come up with a ‘saver’ for our poor nails:  Nail Revitaliser Gel.  On the package it says it is ‘for discoloured and thickened nails’, but Flexitol suggested it might help with my nails that are literally crumbling away, thanks to side effects of one of my drugs (can’t find out which one).

I was having to file my nails two or three times a day, to get rid of crumbling and splitting tips, and use sharp nail scissors at least once a day to cut off split ends.   I have only used this Gel for two weeks, but so far I am down to filing my nails about every three days, and only once have I had a split I have had to cut off.

The gel comes in a small tube with a brush applicator at the end.  Very easy to apply to nails, and I have it sitting by my lap top so I can pick it up when waiting on the phone – then I am not wasting my time listening to so-called Helplines ringing.

It will take about two months before my nails grow out completely, so watch this space!

It’s available onliner or at most branches of Boots – and costs £6 – £10, depending on offers.

Enjoy – and let’s hope for warmer winds!



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Elemis provides emergency rescue for rough skin patches

shower head

Image via Wikipedia

Elemis got big by bothering


~ about showering


Amongst the ‘big boys’ from USA and now France, the British skincare company Elemis is making great strides, particularly when providing creams that help with problem skin produced by drug side effects.  Once we had so many companies:  Cyclax, Yardley, etc., but now most seem to have been absorbed into other companies.  Instead, to take their place comes Elemis.

For some time I have been using their products to help with scaly skin, rough patches and itchy dry skin, and each time they have come up trumps.

Latest in their line of helpful products are a range for baths, which have been helpful with zapping patches of dry skin.  Don’t know what it is, but every time the docs. put me on a different drug, my skin tries to burst out.  So rescue remedies are called for – and these have been very helpful whenever I shower:

Note:  all prices are regular prices, but currently Debenhams have an Elemis sale online.


Tranquil Touch Body Polish

Gentler than a body scrub, it still does the job of getting rid of rough patches.  Might be because apparently contains ‘a natural rice exfoliator’.  Well, you live and learn, but it is very helpful.  £16

Tranquil Touch Creamy Body Wash

Does just what it says on the label, and my bottle has lasted – so I don’t seem to need to much when I shower.  £18.40

Cellutox Active Body Oil

During what little summer we had, I became lazy and didn’t want to spend minutes massaging in body butters or lotions – so went for oils, and this Elemis one is a treat.  It has kept my skin moisturised, so when we had what little sun we got, I didn’t need to put on after-sun cream because my skin was soft enough.  £27.70

And finally, amongst one of my ‘goodie bags’, was a little bottle of their Quiet Mind Temple Balm. I take it into meetings, place it in front of me, and just looking at it soothes me.  Talk about mind over matter!!

Think Pink Beauty Kit

And Finally, every year Elemis produce a goodie bag exclusively for  Breast Cancer Awareness month in October.  The company are massive supporters, and pledge £10,000 to help continue their incredible work that offers support and information to anyone who is affected by breast cancer.   So look for the bright, brigh pink bags on beauty counters, and help the charity.

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Luxury skincare Brands help cancer patients' skin

QVC Logo

Look on QVC website to save on skincare Wikipedia

And – QVC Shopping Channel helps save money on these brands


There comes a time when the Consultants have unleashed their latest drug, and your skin just gives up trying to cope with horrible dry, scratchy skin.

This is when we need to go for really strong, up-market luxury skincare.

And QVC has come in with some really good deals for products, such as Shiseido and Elemis, that saves when buying.  I have been trying these out, and loving the little extra gifts I have been getting whenever I place an order.


Shiseido is saving my face

Japanese skincare relies very much on solid research, and Shiseido makes a very good range that is ideal for zapping problems caused by drug side effects.

The latest ‘wonder drug’ has bought me out with ‘brillo pad’ skin, and I have been trying out products in the Shiseido Benefiance Range. 

Wrinkle Resist Night Emulsion is a very light serum/lotion, that I pat over my face at night, and it has totally restored my skin.  £59 approx.

During the day I have been using the Firming Massage Mask which very gently gets rid of the rough patches on my face, and has restored my skin to its smooth feel.  Like an advert, I keep on feeling my face to ensure the rough skin has still disappeared, and the lovely soft skin is there – it is!                        £46 approx.

When buying skincare to help deal with with drug side effects, look for the words ‘anti-aging’.  These products don’t stop age effects, but they do go a long way to helping restore your skin, and even if you are a teenager, what helps older skin will also help with zapping dry skin.


Elemis rescues my body skin

It doesn’t matter what problems I have with my body skin, Elemis always comes to the rescue.

Before I go off on holiday, I take time out to have a full body massage at the local Elemis centre;  their flagship centre in Lancashire Court, tucked away behind Bond Street in London is the best way of winding down I know.  Then I make sure I have their bath products with me, which are always useful to get rid of problem skin caused by drug side effects.

Their Tranquil Touch Body Polish is one of the gentlest, but most effective body exfoliating creams, and a must if you are going to use a fake tan, as it gives you lovely smooth skin as a base to tan.

After a bath or shower I ALWAYS  rub in a lotion or oil, such as Elemis’ latest  Cullutox Active Body Oil.  This is especially suitable if you don’t want a too-oily product, as it soaks in immediately.  I had my regular visit to my Dermatologist yesterday, and she had a Spanish doctor in her office, on an exchange visit.  Elemis should have taken a bow, as they were remarking how lovely and soft my skin looked!  In Spain the women use a body oil or lotion as a matter of course every day – it only we did this in Britain we might not see so many raddled and wrinkled old skins!

If you go on the QVC website you will see special offers for all Elemis’ popular products, ranging from £24 upwards.


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It's summer – just don't forget your skin



The weather is warm -and

you still need to protect your skin

Just because it is summer, people often think they don’t need to moisturise their skin.

And they spend so much time in water they think they don’t need to have a shower.

But the drugs – and remnants of them – stay inside us for ages; they are still beavering away, drying out what little moisture we possess.

So don’t neglect to look after your body skin, even if you mostly stay covered up and out of the sun.  Apart from drugs working inside, the air temperature (without any rain to add moisture) will dry us up, and who wants to look like a shrivelled prune when they get older?

Recently there have been some horrendous celeb photos of actresses who used to tan all over as a way of looking more glamorous.  I won’t name any:  that would be cruel, but I am sure you have seen umpteen ones recently.  They are not a pretty sight but serve as a warning to be careful!

And make sure you skin isn’t short of moisturising!

Sanex has bathing covered!

Besides keeping your skin moisturised from within, it’s important that you also keep it supple from the outside, and Sanex now makes a range of bath and shower products for different skin types that help counter this problem.

Your skin normally holds 20% of all body water. Dry skin means that you have highly reduced levels of water, and that’s why it looks dull and lifeless. And although you can’t see it, dryness also weakens your skin’s protective layer and causes you to lose more internal water through evaporation.

Sanex has done a lot of research into this problem, and I was particularly impressed with their research which has come up with Dermo Active 3 Complex* which works with your skin to offer the 3 key benefits to keep skin healthy: protection, moisturizing and rebalance.

This complex delivers skin protection by helping to maintain its natural pH and the right skin flora and thus improving skin barrier. It also reinforces the effect of skin Natural Moisturising Factor for a well hydrated and soft skin. Rebalance is achieved by restoring skin’s natural balance. Besides, Dermo Active 3 Complex* has been approved by dermatologists.

Their product that worked best for me was New Sanex Dermo Intensive  bath gel,  a gentle bath formulation containing Vitamin E which helps leave you and your skin feeling moisturised and comfortable.

* Patent pending

The prices are as follows:

All 250ml RRP: £1.89
All 500ml RRP: £3.19
650ML bath RRP:£3.19

Re: bath products, all the products are available in a bath format except for the Pro Hydrate variant

Know your skin type?  Want 50p off next purchase?  Go to
That’s why to keep your skin balanced, it’s important to moisturise your skin every day with products that protect and enhance dry skin effectively.  And I have been trying out a bath oil, which not only smells gorgeous but is a multi-purpose product.

Neom Organic Bath Oils

A friend had told me about these oils, and when I poured some into a bath and sank back – it was pure bliss.  And got me thinking:

The oils tick all the boxes for kindness to skin;
if you are like me, and go for floral scents,they come
scented with roses, lavender, lemons and other
plants and flowers that were often used in medicine.

By the time I reluctantly had dragged myself out of the bath,    I was wondering if the oil would help my hair – which has gone back to ‘straw’ thanks to the latest drug I am taking.

Pouring a few drops into the palm of my hand, I wiped this over my hair – and instant shine!  It is not a deep treatment, but for a quick fix when you want to smooth down hair, it works marvels.

Next day it was boiling hot, and I didn’t fancy smoothing one of my usual thickish body lotions all over.  The oil was there, so again I put some into the palm of my hand and this time smoothed it all over my body.

This was an instant hit;  I smelt gorgeous with the lightest scent, my skin was very smooth and even during the evening the dry, itchy patches that can turn up had disappeared.  During the hot weather we have been having recently I have been using this all over, every day, and it makes a lovely light alternative.   £32 for a 100 ml bottle.

And finally ……

We all tend to forget our lips, but they can really suffer from sun, hot abrasive winds, and dry atmosphere.

I have been trying out a lovely product called Calm Balm.
It comes in two ‘flavours’, and I opted for the Peppermint one. It glides on, and each time I use it I can feel the balm doing good.
The interesting thing about this product is it is also good for nails, and cuticles, particularly for ridges and other nasties.    £5.50

Snow and ice is bad for your skin

Snow scene at Shipka Pass
Image via Wikipedia

Watch out for dry skin in this weather

~It may look pretty, but snow can wreak havoc, especially if you have dry skin as a side effect of drugs.  Add to this icy winds that will further dry out skin, and this makes winter weather a recipe for disaster.

Now is the time to really pile on the best skincare you have in the cupboard, and if you want to have glowing skin for parties, you need to get to work – seriously – with creams and balms.

In olden days you would be smothered in goose fat at the beginning of winter, sewn in to your winter clothes, and that was you snug and protected (the fact that you would also have colonies of bugs and fleas crawling around didn’t really worry you – you were used to it). You happily went without a bath;  when everyone else was in the same boat you didn’t notice the smell, but if you were extra fastidious you wore heavy perfume or carried a nosegay in which you buried your nose – Judges still do that today for special holidays.

Queen Elizabeth I was considered extraordinary;  one chronicler wrote, “Her Majesty doth take a bath once a month, whether she need it or no”, but her successor, James I, was made of sterner stuff.  He didn’t worry too much about washing his hands, so that even his courtiers were heard to complain.

Today we are very prissy, and insist on a bath or shower every day, but this would have shocked our ancestors, who would have been convinced that we were heading for pneumonia at least.

Anyway, I am like my daily bath to warm me up – so there!

However warmly you wrap up, if you haven’t ‘creamed’ your body skin underneath the layers, icy winds will manage to penetrate and produce rough skin.  And after, I always make sure I use a skin balm, lip balm, foot balm and specially rich creams to protect my skin as much as possible.

Products for Skin Defence

Bath Don’t use soap – most are too drying.  Instead, use a good quality gel or bath foamer. I love the products made by the French company, L’Occitane;  based in Provence.  Buying their products from their boutiques is always fun, and  shop staff have a lovely line in amusing and friendly chat;  they really take an interest in customers.  This week, I decided on their Cherry Blossom Shower Gel (which foams up in the bath too), and the 1/4 litre bottle seems to last – and last.   £12.50,p24GD250CB.htm

After bathing Always use a good skin balm;  currently I am using Lipikar Baume AP. Made by La Roche Posay, this is actually for people with eczema, but I have been using it for my skin during the current icy weather, and it works a treat. I often get nasty patches of flaky skin, but so far it is a smooth as can be.

Then I slap on the Flexitol Heel Balm all over my feet.  Don’t forget you can get this on prescription – so ask the doctor for this.

Once a week (more often if you get chapped) use a good body scrub all over.  I have been using proto-col instant body bliss, which lives up to its name.   You may think that you only use this type of product in the summer, but it is essential to use in winter too, as winds chap you skin – even through thick woolly layers.  Before I get into the bath or shower, I rub this all over, taking care over arms, back (this gets lots of wind chapping it), elbows, feet and legs.  proto-col has passionflower oil in it, so be very, very careful when you step into the bath,  as you will be slippery!  Then it is wonderful if you lie back in the bath and let it soak in.  (and don’t forget bath will be slippery when you get out).  £19.95

Face – you need your best cleanser, toner, protection and serum – whichever works best for you.  I have been tryng out hero products, so click on the Face and Skin category on the list on the right, or see

Lips – again, Flexitol make a very good Lip Balm.

Hands – keep hand cream by the side of the washbasin, by your bed, in your handbag, etc. and keep on and on using it.  Flexitol also make a very good Hand Balm – and I am hoping that one day NICE will approve this to be issued on prescription – well, I can dream!

Then go out and enjoy the winter!  Just don’t forget if the temperature is low, even when the sun comes out you can still suffer ‘winter burn’.

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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). .

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.

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.

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!

Age spots – and how to fade them

How to stop looking older

Age spots (those nasty big freckles you get on hands) are a dead give-away to anyone’s age.

Customs and Immigration are trained to look at your hands, not your face, to find your true age – although they do admit that they make mistakes when they check therapists working in beauty salons – their hands are in creams all day which helps retard ageing.

However, as if cancer treatment wasn’t enough, you may find your hands in particular covered in ‘age spots’.  This doesn’t do your self-esteem much good, makes your hands look much older, and they are often more noticeable in winter, as there is no sun-tan to help mask them.

Nurses will tell you these are a side effect of chemo or radiotherapy – but won’t have any ideas about helping spots to fade away.  So this is the time to try Clinique’s ‘Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector’ .

I  tried this fluid on a horrid crop of ageing spots, mostly on my left hand for some reason.  At first nothing happened, so I went down to see the girls on the Peter Jones counter, who told me not to worry.  They said that when they received training on using this product, they had been given two bottles, because Clinique said it took time to start to work on spots.

Gradually it seemed as if the skin on my hands was getting lighter – then it became obvious that the fluid was doing its stuff, and my spots were fading away.

I doubt if you will be able to get rid of spots totally -but the dark brown has faded away to a very light brown, with one or two large spots disappearing.  The background skin on my hands is whiter, and I no longer feel I have to hide my hands away (they were a dead give-away).

For the technical, the formula contains Glucosamine and Salicylic Acid to exfoliate and normalise cell turnover, and “assist the departure of surface pigmentation skin cells” etc.  It also contains a Vitamin C derivative. Ascorbyl Glucoside, to “help reduce the appearance of dark spots”.  30 ml  £37.50.

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What to do when drugs cause skin lesions, dry patches, itching etc.

Skin cells from burn
When this happens to your skin  Flickr

Information on this website is intended for information purposes only. Nothing is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.


Our skin is our largest and most important feature – so if you get painful, peeling, dry, itching skin,  during cancer treatment, DON’T think you mustn’t make a fuss.

For those who aren’t having cancer treatment, but have these symptoms – ask if these symptoms could be the result of taking antibiotics, medicinal drugs, etc.

Dermatology (the science of looking after skin) is very badly served in Britain, and far too often there isn’t enough time allocated for patients to discover what causes skin problems, so these are dismissed, or you have to wait months to see a consultant, by which time the condition has driven you nearly mad, or you come off the drugs.  Or doctors blame detergents, pollution, modern life-style or – as in my case “it’s your age”.

DON’T be bullied, or  even think that you are wasting doctor’s time if you have skin problems.   Our skin is our largest organ and needs looking after.

Sadly there are doctors that sniff and murmur “vanity” under their breath when we ask for help.  I came across a horror in my local hospital;  but when I challenged his diagnosis, he swept out defeated.

But it was him and Dr. 30 Second (who didn’t help with my eye problem) that made me start this website – which now has ‘visitors’ from 142 countries – proving that there are others like me who have skin problems!!

So this page is all about nice treatments, well-researched and helpful.  Don’t let nurses put you off.

If you want help with skin problems, don’t let excuses like “we are not allowed to recommend commercial products” put your off.  This is only laziness.  In other countries (with better post-cancer survival rates) it is normal for doctors to prescribe skin products for ‘cancer drug’ skin.  You can ask why is it that the drugs that are possibly causing the problems, are made by the most commercial companies in the world;  if doctors can recommend commercial drugs, then they should be able to recommend commercial products that will help with problems caused by those drugs.

How It all started

About two weeks after starting Tamoxifen, I woke up to find my body was a peeling, bloody mess, covered in lesions.  Cancer side effects had kicked in, and  I really needed a whole lot of advice and TLC.

Peeling off another layer, my (almost never seen) Oncology Nurse said “you do have a problem”, and that was all.  No help from her.

I needed help – fast.  So I went to a Dermatologist – whom I call PD (Pompous Dermatologist).  He was a Professor and in charge at our local Foundation Hospital.  He asked if I minded if he examined me in front of his students – I said I was delighted as I was sure it was drugs that had caused the skin lesions, and therefore students should know the consequences.

After a cursory examination, he told me “it’s your age”.  I started to challenge this – how could my body have erupted with these bloody blisters overnight, if it were age?  I had gone to bed with perfectly normal skin, yet woken up with blood all over me.

He refused to answer – but I could hear the students’ comments, and they were definitely on my side.  He realised this, got up and swept out saying he didn’t have time to answer any more questions.

I since heard that he had treated four friends in exactly the same way.  I HATE BULLIES – and got my own back as I had opted to go privately so I could see him straight away,  and refused to pay his bill.  He never pressed for payment.

After him I went to my private doctor, who spent over an hour talking me through all my symptoms, and eventually put me on a cortisone cream – which cleared everything up – telling me as soon as the skin was healed to come off the cream, start with a good body cream several times a day and go to a Consultant for advice.   I decided to go to France, where I was told they excelled in treating skin problems, but in the meantime would look around for a good body cream.  Having had such a bad experience with a Professor of Dermatology in Britain, I wasn’t going to go back.

What you do

I was lucky – having written articles about skincare, I bombarded the Press Offices of major skincare companies, asking if their research chemists had ever come across cancer skin side effects that might be caused by Tamoxifen.

Back zinged e-mail after e-mail saying they knew all about this.

All the companies mentioned here deserve a big thank you -they saved my skin and helped me stay on drugs.  But I can fully understand and sympathise with the 60% of us who elect to come off these life-prolonging drugs;  after all, who wants painful itching skin day after day, month after month?  With doctors telling you when you ask for help, “its your age”.

But don’t come off drugs – try, try and try recommended skincare products, until you find the one that will sooth and replenish your skin.  And help you stay on the drug.

Doctor’s letter

When I asked companies what they recommended for my skin, quite rightly, none of them would send me anything to help until I could produce a letter from my doctor saying my skin was healed. Once doctors gave me the go-ahead and said I could tolerate creams, etc.

Clinique took over – they make a fabulous Deep Comfort Body Butter. Rubbing that all over my skin three times a day eventually bought my horrible peeling skin under control, and now I only use it once a day (unless I go swimming, and then use again).

I did think I should try to see if the NHS could contribute to the cost, and was given several products to try, including Cetraben and Oilatum Cream; they are OK, but sadly not nearly as effective, so it was back to Clinique!

Daily Routine

Clinique said they were well aware of problems caused by drugs, had developed special creams to help patients and took stands at Dermatology and other medical conferences to tell the medical profession about this – but doctors just weren’t interested. They even have an excellent booklet written for the medical profession which lists every ingredient in their recommended range, so staff can check if anything might produce a reaction to certain drugs.  (I got hold of copies to hand to staff – but they landed in waste paper baskets).

What is it about the British medical profession that it can’t understand that women (and men) today want to keep their skin looking nice? Skin is our largest and one of our most important organs, and if it gets cracked and erupts, this sets up all sorts of problems, not the least germs getting in to the lesions causing havoc.

As I write this, Prof. Sir Magdi Yacoub has written in the The Daily Telegraph “we in the medical profession ……..have to listen more to our patients”.

In France they listen, then you are likely to be prescribed products produced by La Roche Posay (more details in next chapter).  At their medical centre they have a totally different approach, where doctors work WITH the patient, rather than dismissing our concerns.


Sadly, those with dark or black skins tell me they feel left out, and they have even less attention paid to skin problems than we do.  The companies I mention here all make suitable products for BME skin, and their Beauty Consultants (in major stores or chemists) can give advice if you need to use any special creams.

Anthelios (made by La Roche Posay – LRP)  is certainly recommended for people with black skin, those who have vitiligo and is also  for every skin type that is photosensitive or photosensitive as a consequence of photosensitising drugs (chemotherapeutic drugs are known photosensitises).

People with dark or black skin who require camouflage make up post procedure or as a consequence of a skin pathology can use the Unifiance range of make up (available in most countries that stock LRP including Ireland, but not UK, so those in Britain have to order it on the net). They don’t, however, have a range specifically developed for black skin, as Camilla Rummery, their Medical marketing spokeswoman, says “Our range is recommended for all skin colours. We have also done multiethnic studies on the Effaclar range (for acne and oily prone skin) and of course our Lipikar range is suitable for all atopic and dry skin”.

Sadly, when nurses compliment me on my skin, and I start to tell them why it is in such good condition, even though I am on hormonal drugs causing cancer skin side effects – you can see they aren’t paying a blind bit of notice. Their eyes glaze over at the mention of any commercial products – and they live by the NHS mantra “free at the point of delivery”. No matter if you can pay for something that will make your life easier and more comfortable – this dog-in-the-manger attitude is pathetic.

So if you find that nurses just brush aside your questions about what products to use for your skin colour, go to LRP or any of the companies’ Consultants, or go on their websites – you’ll find they are incredibly helpful.

So – unless you are very lucky, if you have peeling skin – blood lesions – itchy skin – etc., it is up to you to sort it out. Or get help from GOOD skincare companies.

Making money

Yes – these companies are in business to make money. But many years ago the major companies realised that if they produced creams that gave customer allergic reactions, consumer groups (particularly in the USA) were so powerful they would be driven out of business by the Courts. So they improved research and development (R & D), employed a whole lot of scientists and doctors who were passionate about skincare – and the result is creams that are almost miracle creams. Not quite – we still can’t believe the ads that promise eternally youthful skin, but if we use good products in the right way, we can do a lot to give ourselves better skin. And women – and men – today realise that good skin makes you feel better.

It is strange that two French and one  US company all launched in Britain in 2008, unless of course they read the Macmillan survey saying we spend so much on ourselves after cancer (upwards of £2,000 – £12,000 pp).


When you go outside, even in winter it makes sense to use a moisturiser of AT LEAST Factor 15 on your face everyday (two lots of Factor 8 are still only Factor 8).

In Summer, the Skin Care Campaign say cancer patients should wear at least Factor 30, and Factor 50 when the sun is bright.

Clarins are another company that takes sun protection very seriously, and make excellent fake tans. They recommend using their exfoliating creams before you apply fake tan for a much more even finish.

And whatever you do – HAVE FUN! I defy anyone to be miserable when there is a gorgeous lavender scent coming from the bathroom, as you slather on a gorgeous cream (and I bet you the men enjoy this too!)

See next posting in this section for more on the Hero Products that help our skin every day.

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