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Topic: Dry skin & wrinkles after chemo?

Forum: Chemotherapy - Before, During and After — Regimens, side effects, and support from others going through chemo.

Posted on: Aug 13, 2012 10:46PM

jenlee wrote:

My facial skin became so dry during chemo. My last treatment was in April and I'm still completely dry. Prior to chemo, I had oily skin that I constantly needed to blot and powder. I haven't observed even the tiniest hint of oil or moisture since about my 2nd treatment. I've tried several kinds of organic moisturizers, as,well as oils, coconut oil, etc. Still dry and have lots I'd tiny wrinkles radiating around my mouth, like a smoker. None of the oncologists seem to be able to explain how chemo would completely shut down oil production (permanently?). Or leave me with so many wrinkles, when I had nice skin going into chemo. I went to see a dermatologist he didn't believe me that the wrinkles were new, from during chemo. He was shocked when I showed him a photo of myself, taken last October, prior to chemo. I looked about ten years younger then :(. But at least I'm alive!
Has anyone else experienced this dryness wrinkling from chemo and did your skin ever improve afterwards? Would love to have some insight into this problem!

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Posts 1 - 28 (28 total)

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Aug 14, 2012 04:06AM bcbarbie10 wrote:

I used the Obagi blender with tretinoin prior to chemo, daily. Now i just use it every other night and use moisturizers in between. My face used to be real oily, too, and this is my first time for moisturizers. Im almost 48.

Dx 3/9/2012, IDC, 1cm, Stage Ia, Grade 1, 0/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 03/09/2012 Mastectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Chemotherapy 04/26/2012 Cytoxan, Ellence, TaxotereTargeted Therapy 07/25/2012 HerceptinHormonal Therapy 01/28/2013 Tamoxifen
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Aug 14, 2012 04:21AM fredntan wrote:

My skin also looks dry. Face okay. Use coconut oil daily

Fran

Dx 8/3/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 2, 13/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 10/2013, Stage IV, metsHormonal Therapy TamoxifenSurgery 09/09/2011 Mastectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Chemotherapy 10/20/2011 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxolRadiation Therapy 03/29/2012 ExternalSurgery 10/08/2012 Reconstruction: DIEP flap (Both)Surgery 04/03/2013 Reconstruction: Nipple reconstruction (Both)Chemotherapy 10/23/2013 fluorouracil, MitomycinChemotherapy 11/20/2013 Abraxane, fluorouracil
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Aug 14, 2012 05:03AM camillegal wrote:

Jenlee--I had a couple of yrs of chemoand even thos I'm uch older my sskin wason the dry side but I always used good moisturizer--I'm totally done with chemo and my skin is a mess--I've used Elysee, pure Argon oil and other good moistureizers--I have dry spots that are worse on my face and my arms are like alligators and again I use Perlier and some other good lotions--Now I started usin serious skin care (cuz this is serious) and I'm hoping this will help. I can't give u any answers because I'm still strugling with it--When I do wear make-up it's not as noticeable--I use philosophy or Laura Gellar and it's brushed in cuz liguid tends to settle in the lines and baked make0up doesn't.I don't know if the meds that I'm taking are making it stay. I'm still juggling the things I use so I'll repost if I find the right thing. Chemo does a lot of things to most of us and altho this isn't a serious side effect --IT IS Especially if u'r younger And if u find something let us know. And I still have some nails that are coming off their bed and lifting up??? What's that all about--The rest of my nails are strong and I never had strong nails they wer always split and I always got them done, now it so different They of course were all black for a while and I lost my toenails and they came back sideways---hahaha so my skin and nail are a mess. It does a number on a lot of things- I'm sorry for this happening to u -u'r yet and when u feel different it bothers u more but there has to be something--Have u one to a dermotoligist (sp) may they would have a practical method to give u'r skin moisturizing.

Dx 2007, Stage IV, 24/38 nodes, HER2+
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Aug 14, 2012 05:17AM Moderators wrote:

jenlee and camillegal, here are some resources from the main Breastcancer.org site that should be helpful:

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...

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Aug 14, 2012 05:20AM camillegal wrote:

Than u so much--It certainly isn't a big problems as problems go, but it's confusing why this silly things happen.

Dx 2007, Stage IV, 24/38 nodes, HER2+
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Aug 14, 2012 06:43AM geewhiz wrote:

I am thinking it might be estrogen production. Chemo whacks at that pretty hard. Our hormones are one of those things that keep our skin supple and smoothe. I am 46 and the skin on my legs post chemo looks like an elephant sagging down. Not a nice look in tennis skirts, lol.

Dx 10/2/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 2, 8/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Aug 14, 2012 02:04PM jenlee wrote:

Geewhiz, I bet it is related to the estrogen production. I was 50 at diagnosis, but not menopausal, though almost immediately went into chemopause. They're guessing I won't get my periods back, but I'll be on Tamoxifen for a few years to be sure, then on to an Ai. So my estrogen is a thing of the past. I feel like a freak and don't like to go out in public... My lower face has lost it's fat, collagen, etc. my whole extended mouth area is like a prune. My forehead looks terribly droopy too. And I have an eight year old... Before I looked like a young 50, now I look like 60. For me, this is like the hair loss, a psychologically traumatic side effect of chemo. When I take off my wig in a few months, these wrinkles will be really obvious.
I'm REALLY glad I had chemo and had a great response, but I could just cry when I see myself in the mirror.

camillegal, I'm still going through products too, but since my diagnosis, have gone mostly organic, which might be part of the problem:). I am going to back to retin A, but I'm wary of it in the summer sun. I wear a hat and sunscreen, but the California sun is sneaky. I had a consultation with a dermatologist and there are several long term solutions, laser ablation, fat transfer, etc., but I don't have any room for that much down time. So for now, it's lotions & potions. Will keep you all posted if I find something.

Jenifer, completed TAC x 8 on 4/24/2012. Lumpectomy on 5/23/2012. BMX & immediate DIEH stage 1 on 6/5/2012 NOLA; stage 2 surgery 10/4/12 NOLA. Tamoxifen since 6/2012. Switched to Arimidex 9/2013.

Dx 10/20/2011, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 14, 2012 07:24PM geewhiz wrote:

JenLee, honestly I saw your avatar and thought to myself how beautiful you are! You are probably too hard on yourself. I have those wrinkles all over my chin area now too. So much so that during recon, my PS said "Hey, I can take some of the fatgrafting and put it in your marionette lines" UGH!!! I didnt let him... my face is the least of my worries : )

Have you tried coconut oil? It feels great on my skin, and absorbs well. I keep it in the bathroom counter. Shea butter from L'Occitane is another product I love. It's heavy, but again, absorbs right into my skin.

Dx 10/2/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 2, 8/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Aug 14, 2012 07:30PM sewingnut wrote:

I referred to chemo as the inside out chemical peel!!  My skin was also dry after chemo. I had my first facial and it did wonders to get rid of all the dead stuff. About 5 weeks later I had another one.  My face is now back to normal and my chemo wrinkles are also gone. 

Dx 12/2010, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 1/7 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Aug 14, 2012 09:31PM bcbarbie10 wrote:

Geewiz, i did the fat grafting before bc, about 3 years ago, and it works great! First week, you'll look all plump and fake, then it gets better. My dr placed the fat on my cheekbones and under my lower lids where my eyes shrunk. It still holds to this day. Bec before, i was so obsessed with constantly losing weight (vanity, vanity, it used to occupy 40% of my life), mu face is the first on to lose/loose before the rest of my body. I would have the weight and body i wanted, but im an old lady in front of the mirror! I tried the platelet rich plasma too, before the fat thing, just looked good for one month max. Not worth it.

Dx 3/9/2012, IDC, 1cm, Stage Ia, Grade 1, 0/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 03/09/2012 Mastectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Chemotherapy 04/26/2012 Cytoxan, Ellence, TaxotereTargeted Therapy 07/25/2012 HerceptinHormonal Therapy 01/28/2013 Tamoxifen
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Aug 15, 2012 12:24AM melmcbee wrote:

Jenlee, I have that problem now before I even start on chemo so I guess I will look 80 after. But I did the damage to myself from smoking all my llife. What I wanted to ask you is if you thought about what you might could feed your body to help. I dont know the right things except water and maybe vitamin e but I bet a health food store could lead you in the right direction. When I was dx my friend made me start drinking these green smoothies made with fruit, kale, spinach, flaxseed oil, ect... Anyway since I started reading up on it I am now taking all kinds of vitamins and supplements to help with healing and so forth.  I would love to know anything that you may hear that could help cause I would definitely add it to my regimen. Hugs to all.

Melanie. mentor smooth round high profile gel 700 rt 550 lt with fat grafting 5/30/2013

Dx 6/24/2012, ILC, 2cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 2, 8/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 07/09/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Surgery 08/09/2012 Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Chemotherapy 08/23/2012 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxotereRadiation Therapy 01/09/2013 ExternalHormonal Therapy 04/04/2013 ArimidexSurgery 05/30/2013 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Both)Surgery 12/04/2013 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Right)
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Aug 15, 2012 07:56AM geewhiz wrote:

bcbarbie...ya know, I never really paid much attention to any lines on my face. I was only 42 at diagnosis. Things were not really in that bad of shape...but now, geez!!! Those goofy lines are the first thing I notice. I have another grafting still to go, maybe I can talk him into it. Holy mackeral, I am going to look like a truck hit me.

Dx 10/2/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 2, 8/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Aug 15, 2012 11:32AM bcbarbie10 wrote:

I also started drinking barley juice soon after mx, even before chemo. My friends noticed i looked great. Then checked it out with my onc upon chemo, said it was ok.

Dx 3/9/2012, IDC, 1cm, Stage Ia, Grade 1, 0/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 03/09/2012 Mastectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Chemotherapy 04/26/2012 Cytoxan, Ellence, TaxotereTargeted Therapy 07/25/2012 HerceptinHormonal Therapy 01/28/2013 Tamoxifen
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Aug 15, 2012 04:52PM jenlee wrote:

Bcbarbie10, I'm very interested in facial fat grafting. I was scheduled to have it done this week, but went to the pre-op and the forms scared me away. PM'ing you with some questions.

Jenifer, completed TAC x 8 on 4/24/2012. Lumpectomy on 5/23/2012. BMX & immediate DIEH stage 1 on 6/5/2012 NOLA; stage 2 surgery 10/4/12 NOLA. Tamoxifen since 6/2012. Switched to Arimidex 9/2013.

Dx 10/20/2011, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 15, 2012 07:15PM bcbarbie10 wrote:

Yes, please. Hope i can help. Sure feels good to be able to go back to vanity land myself soon 😊

Dx 3/9/2012, IDC, 1cm, Stage Ia, Grade 1, 0/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 03/09/2012 Mastectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Chemotherapy 04/26/2012 Cytoxan, Ellence, TaxotereTargeted Therapy 07/25/2012 HerceptinHormonal Therapy 01/28/2013 Tamoxifen
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Aug 19, 2012 10:12AM weemuse wrote:

"Marionette lines"... what a horribly appropriate way to describe them!!!  I too hate what chemo did to my face, esp. lower face and neck.  I'm trying a retinal A cream, but it will take time.  I also take B-complex vitamins, Omega 3 gelcaps and vitamin D. 

"I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship. " ~ Louisa May Alcott

Dx 8/22/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIb, Grade 2, 1/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery 09/15/2011 Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Surgery 10/13/2011 Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Chemotherapy 12/05/2011 Adriamycin, CytoxanChemotherapy 02/25/2012 TaxotereTargeted Therapy 02/25/2012 HerceptinHormonal Therapy 05/22/2012 TamoxifenRadiation Therapy 05/28/2012 External
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Aug 20, 2012 03:09AM jenlee wrote:

Bcbarbie10, yes, it does feel good to be back in vanity land, after a miserable trip to cancer land.

Geewhiz, thank you, you're too kind. My avatar photo is from last October, before I had 8 rounds of TAC (which surely saved my life).

Jenifer, completed TAC x 8 on 4/24/2012. Lumpectomy on 5/23/2012. BMX & immediate DIEH stage 1 on 6/5/2012 NOLA; stage 2 surgery 10/4/12 NOLA. Tamoxifen since 6/2012. Switched to Arimidex 9/2013.

Dx 10/20/2011, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 14, 2012 08:58PM EllenT wrote:

jenlee, I could actually feel the area around my mouth tighten during chemo - like an involuntary series of muscle spasms - after completion of treatment, I noticed that my lips had some deep grooves radiating, and my chin seemed to have sort of collapsed, with deeper wrinkles settled in. I was 51 at start of treatment, slender, fit, healthy, with oily Irish skin, and was always told that I looked years younger than my true age. Well, I am comvinced that chemo changed that. The area above my nose looks fine, no brow lines, mild smile crinckles when smiling, but not apparent when my face is at rest.....but, below the nose looks like a different person - I am not happy about this. I had been told that chemo ages one, and also I am on Tamoxifen for almost a year now, four more years of that. I am consulting with a cosmetic surgeon about my options, the same surgeon who will reconstruct my breasts - maybe I can get 2 procedures done at the same time. I don't know what he may recommend. As stated, I am very slim, not much body fat to begin with, but it seems like the chemo just dissolved what facial collagen that I had. Have you found a satisfying solution to this ?

Dx 3/11/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/5 nodes, ER+
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Sep 21, 2012 05:04PM jenlee wrote:

Just read a few articles that state that some chemo drugs, especially doxorubicin (aka Adriamycin) can cause degeneration of the sebaceous glands...  This is not something that has been mentioned by Oncologists that I've mentioned it to, nor dermotologists.  I'm going to try to track down a dermotologist associated with one of the nearby universities and see if I can get some info.

Jenifer, completed TAC x 8 on 4/24/2012. Lumpectomy on 5/23/2012. BMX & immediate DIEH stage 1 on 6/5/2012 NOLA; stage 2 surgery 10/4/12 NOLA. Tamoxifen since 6/2012. Switched to Arimidex 9/2013.

Dx 10/20/2011, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 7, 2012 02:28AM CrystalLocket wrote:

I was told I had the bones of a 25 year old, but after chemo I was into osteopenia.  I also noticed that the skin on my face lost 'life' for loss of a better word. I now have slight hollows under my eyes where I didn't before.  The skin on my legs used to be taut but now is crinkley on the surface.  I am moisturizing and using a humidifier.  Also, I have a friend who is a smoker and she looks younger than her years, I asked what her secret was and she said she takes daily pre-natal vitimans...haha...  So off I went to the health food store and sure enough I do notice an improvement after a few days on them and watching what I eat & drink.  Drinking alcohol really shows & drys my skin so I only have that on special occasions.  I now be sure to drink water throughout the day to hydrate my body.

Karen

Dx 11/24/2008, ILC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 1/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 7, 2012 02:29AM, edited Oct 7, 2012 02:29AM by CrystalLocket

This Post was deleted by CrystalLocket.

Karen

Dx 11/24/2008, ILC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 1/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 7, 2012 03:04AM debbie6122 wrote:

 Crystal- I was interrested in the fact your friend looked younger and smoked so i researched Pre-natal vitimins to see what they had in them, Folic acid, Iron, calcium/ I take that along with Vit D but thought this info might be helpful. If you take to much when you are not pregnant can be dangerous. Thought I'd pass it along.

You may be tempted to take prenatal vitamins because of unproven claims that they promote thicker hair and stronger nails. While prenatal vitamins are generally safe for healthy adults, they may not be suitable if you're not pregnant and not planning to become pregnant. Prenatal vitamins are formulated specifically for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, and women who are breast-feeding, with particular emphasis on:

  • Folic acid. To reduce the risk of having a child with neural tube defects, women who are trying to become pregnant should get 600 micrograms (mcg) of folate or folic acid a day through diet and supplements. Other healthy adults — both men and women — need only 400 mcg a day. While uncommon, getting too much folic acid by taking supplements can mask the symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency and delay diagnosis and treatment.
  • Iron. During pregnancy, the recommended intake of iron is 27 milligrams (mg) a day. Women between the ages of 19 and 50 who aren't pregnant need only 18 mg a day, and women age 51 and older and all adult men need only 8 mg a day. Getting too much iron can be toxic because it can build up in your body, causing constipation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and, in severe cases, possibly death.
  • Calcium. Pregnant adult women and healthy men and women ages 19 to 50 all need 1,000 mg a day. Men and women age 51 and older need 1,200 mg a day. Because prenatal vitamins are intended to supplement calcium you get in your diet, they generally contain only 200 to 300 mg of calcium. If you rely on prenatal vitamins to meet your calcium needs, you likely won't get enough, raising your risk of osteoporosis and other health problems.

It's best to take a multivitamin tailored to your sex, age and specific medical needs.

masectomy, chemo, node positive

Dx 12/20/2009, IDC, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Oct 7, 2012 03:44AM Ter wrote:

Jenlee,

Hi I'm Ter, very old here, but havent been on BC.org for years, but decided to check it out as now they find I have skin cancer, and very scarred...Plus with wanting to put lotion etc on my dry skin (everywhere), I found out through the years, when like Bath and Beauty, those kind of places, where everything smells so good, Id go crazy..NOW Im cleaning out ALL that stuff, as I purchased enough for gifts as w/75% off good idea, but that doesnt solve your or my situation/problem....I boxed up and giving my healthy friends full bottles etc., also my sister took some home in WA state when here.  As I want to use only ONE product on my whole body except my face, thats a diff story....I looked last night in ULTA.com and went into moisturizers, and they have their product and if you want to know more about it, they have 2 notations, one: read what someone else says about their likes/dislikes about that specific one, and another which you can put your own reply of using it....

I had way too many, which was one thing, as I love cosmetics, well basically eye shadows, and my face looks great, but my body is like a dried old aligator.  Im going to try like Nivia, and other regular lotions you see on the drug store isle..No more fu fu places for me, as if I want to smell good, I'll take a shower and use the lotion/cream all over, and for a scent besides being clean, use like the Nieva, Eucerin.

Im so new to this BCorg Im not sure where I would post my situation on skin cancer...also after a long battle with dr not telling me things on my BC and sending me in circles the BC spread and they ended up waiting 5 years til they did a FNA, thats when I was actually diag..when I told my doc in 99 I had a lump, and saw my doc every month due to other things like fibromyalgia.

If you find something before I do, please let me know, hope I could be of a bit of help, and I also wanted to ask you those ?s re: skin cancer, as I need to go in and be biopsied on TONS of these things I have had for years, and my onc sent me to the dermatologist which is in the cancer center...but I have been so chicken I keep canceling my appts...as all I can think of is them using tiny cookie cutters and pushing them into my skin, then twisting them out...been thru so much everyone tells me, this should be easy...but Im so scarred.

Take care and be safe

hugs

Ter

It's better to be effective than it is to be right.-

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May 24, 2013 02:09PM ezmari wrote:

Hi there, new to the site. Was looking for dry facial skin creams and found your post. I have just finished my second of four chemo sessions. One of the most extreme chemos one can have, as i had a lipo sarcome, rare and aggressive (fortunately totally removed), so not really in the breast cancer area, but i believe we all suffer the same. What you said really got me. I know precisely what you meant with aging. I looked at myself in the mirror yesterday and didn't recognise the woman staring back at me. My sunken eyes the hollow cheeks, the dry skin (iused to have oily skin). The wrinkles. I'll be 40 in two week, and 2 and a half months ago when i was diagnosed people always told me they couldn't believe how old i am. Cancer and chemo does so much damage that one doesn't need this too. I am happy to hear that you are doing well. Should you by any chance find a cream you could recommend please let me know.
Stay positive, and all the other cliches that come to mind:-)
Remember prayers do get answered,
All the best
Ezmari

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May 28, 2013 05:40PM startingover12 wrote:

As a woman it's very disturbing for me to deal with dry skin. I have been in remission for 1 year 6 months.When treatment is successful you want some type of normalcy afterwards. I to got wrinkles after treatment and they haven't went away. And my skin is extremely dry. Is there a good moisture cream or something to use?

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May 28, 2013 06:32PM, edited Oct 15, 2013 01:32PM by Moderators

All i know is that i have worked and played in the sun all of my life, and have been a light smoker,too. so, i did develope lymphedema right after surgury. so, i am supposed to lotion that arm, and wear a sleeve or bandages. what i noticed is that the arm i use eucirin,cetaphil, anykind of regular off the shelf lotion looks about 10 years younger than my unlotioned arm. so i started lotioning EVERYWHERE! next step, maybe i will see if a friend who sews will make me a loose kind of mummy bag that loosely follows the contours of my my body that i can snap into before i sleep! only half kidding! but also, have definately ramped up my water consumption, and i found these terrific aloe drinks to super hydrate. anyway, they make me feel like i am doing a good thing for myself. they feel wetter and cooler than water. before bc, everyone thought i was 8-10 years younger. i would tell them it is because i spent several years  slightly pickled!

Dx 6/8/2012, IDC, Stage IIIc, Grade 3, 25/30 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Surgery Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Chemotherapy carboplatin, TaxotereRadiation Therapy ExternalHormonal Therapy TamoxifenTargeted Therapy Herceptin
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Jan 22, 2014 07:25AM PattyKell wrote:

after going through chemo and the double mastectomy ...I didn't think I would have to worry about looking old.  But you guessed it, my face has aged almost overnight, and I was feeling that maybe ...did all that chemo cause premature aging, because I always had good skin, and my parents both had young looking skin, now this confirms it for me.  At least I'm not alone with my thoughts.

Wish I could afford a good dermatologist that could work some magic on my face.  Hate looking in the mirror now.

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Mar 28, 2014 07:45PM NormaJean65 wrote:

When I look in the mirror I feel like I have aged at least 10yrs in the time span of 3 1/2 yrs.  You are not alone.  Doesn't matter what brand or how much lotion I use, I still have the lose, wrinkly skin. 

Norma Jean

Dx 6/29/2010, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+Surgery 07/19/2010 Mastectomy (Right); Prophylactic Mastectomy (Left)Chemotherapy 08/26/2010 carboplatin, TaxotereTargeted Therapy 08/26/2010 HerceptinHormonal Therapy 01/01/2011 Tamoxifen