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Does Tamoxifen affect your skin?

Sunflower64 Member Posts: 4
edited January 2022 in Alternative Medicine

Hello girls,

I have been on Tamoxifen for 2 years and was wondering does it make you age? For the past few months when I look in the mirror I say "what happened to my face!"? I have always looked 10 years younger than what I am and use to get carded! Now I look older than my age. I feel and look so old.

What can I take to help my skin? I don't want to go off of the Tamoxifen. I have a 7 yr old litte girl and I do not want to increase my recurrance risk. Any advice would be so appreciated.

Thank you



  • PatMom
    PatMom Member Posts: 322
    edited February 2012

    I've been on Tamoxifen for nearly 4 years, and while Tamoxifen seems to make everything drier, including my skin, I didn't notice any major changes of my skin looking "older" until the last few months, and given the timing, I think that is more due to hitting menopause than the Tamoxifen. 

    Sometimes it is difficult to sort out what catalyst is causing which symptom. 

    Good Luck figuring it out.

  • whippetmom
    whippetmom Member Posts: 6,028
    edited February 2012

    Yes, many of us have experienced skin "changes" with the use of Tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors.  It seems to be manifested by a dryness and pallor - for me.  I too had great skin before Tamoxifen.  From what I hear though, all of this resolves after your Tamoxifen course is up.  Two more years for me.  Some things have helped for me though. I take a multi for skin, hair and nails - which has 5,000 mgs of biotin.  You can get it at Costco - in the store or online.  I also purchased a Clarisonic Mia - which is a device created by Sonicare - [electric toothbrushes] and this has done amazing things for my skin tone and skin clarity.  It is expensive at $119.00, but worth every penny.  [It is the cost of two spa facials, actually.] It is one of those haute beauty devices which you can find at Sephora, Nordstroms and also at various beauty spas around the country, as well as on It is the same device used by skin spas for high end facials.  Olay makes a similar device for around $30.00, but it does not have the sonic pulse effect that you get with the Clarisonic. The key is to stimulate the skin in such a way as to also stimulate collagen production.

    Try doing whatever you can to ameliorate the side effects which are bothersome and hang in there as long as you can.  Some women have debilitative SEs - and I can understand why they might want to ditch the Tamoxifen. But in our case - yours and mine and a number of others - try to plod through this and arm yourself with all of the beauty arsenal you can afford and five years will be up before you know it. I have a litany of other skincare products which have been beneficial [and inexpensively so]  and I would be willing to share them if you are interested.


  • NJvictoria
    NJvictoria Member Posts: 45
    edited February 2012

    Hi there,

    I've been on tamoxifen for one year and I have to admit that I am seeing a few more wrinkles. I am 54 so I guess that's kind of expected. What I'm going to do is investigate the possibility of some fillers and a really good face cream. I use Olay ProX and according to Paula Begoun, a make-up guru of sorts, Olay is as good or even better than the really expensive high end store brands. Anyhow, I'm not going to age gracefully.....I'm going to attack it LOL!


  • Califgirl12
    Califgirl12 Member Posts: 2
    edited February 2012

    Hi Ladies

    I am due to start Tamox after the RADs next month. I just went shopping today for a non SPF facial moisturizer. I am very low in vitamin d. I bought one from bare minerals. I like their make up so I thought I would give it a try. The one product you could try is by Philosophy called Hope in A Jar. I have tried it and it is very moisturizing. I am formerly from the Cosmetics Industries and know that this product is good. I didn't buy it today because I am leaving on a cruise Sunday and wanted a smaller sized container. I plan to buy the big jar by Phylosophy when I return. IF you buy it fron Sephora and hate it, they do accept returns. I also use the Clarisonic and it is a girls best friend. Defintely worth the $. MY feeling is we have sacrificed so much with this stupid disease, if mama wants something to make her feel better, then mama gets it.

  • peggy_j
    peggy_j Member Posts: 89
    edited February 2012

    I think my skin is somewhat drier but don't know how much of that is due to tamox vs. the natural aging process. (I started tamox last July). I initially tossed all my skin care stuff that wasn't natural and didn't replace products right away, so that might be a factor too.

    In the past couple months my skin looks better. I've starting using this at night (after exfoliating, so it absorbs more):  Yes to Blueberries Intensive Skin Repair Serum (at the drugstore for about $12-15)

    I also have oily skin and my pores are noticably smaller. Again, not sure the cause but I'm not complaining.

  • Sunflower64
    Sunflower64 Member Posts: 4
    edited March 2012


  • 1openheart
    1openheart Member Posts: 250
    edited March 2012

    I started Tam. in July and I did not notice much until around Nov.  My skin is much drier and my face seems to have lost much of its firmness.  My nails are a mess too.  I started taking 5000mcg of Biotin a couple of weeks ago, so I am hoping to see some results in my nails from that.   I am looking into switching to more natural, organic skin care products and would love to hear what other ladies are using?  Maybe I should start a thread about that?

  • changes
    changes Member Posts: 42
    edited March 2012

    I have been on Tamoxifen for about 20 months. It has really done a number on my skin. I take fish oil, which seems to help some. My skin has become very dry - to the point that sometimes only aquaphor is the only thing that helps. Still, it's a small price to pay for being healthy.

  • proudmom_wife
    proudmom_wife Member Posts: 176
    edited March 2012

    I use Coconut Oil on my skin (including neck and face) and it is helping a lot with the dryness.  I put it on after I shower.  If I skip using it for more than a day you can tell the difference, so I try and use it everyday.  

  • Sunflower64
    Sunflower64 Member Posts: 4
    edited March 2012

    Thanks girls for all your comments.

    Not only is my skin dry it looks very saggy too. I wonder if estrogen plays a large part in your skin looking younger and healthy?

  • whippetmom
    whippetmom Member Posts: 6,028
    edited March 2012

    From a 2001 study by the University of San Francisco on the benefits of estrogen for the skin.  Of course, this study was done in consideration of the use of HRT for post-menopausal women.  So you can imagine what havoc is wrecked on the skin when the estrogen is being pharmaceutically extracted from same....

    Estrogen and skin. An overview.

    Shah MG, Maibach HI.


    University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine, San Francisco, California, USA.


    As the population of postmenopausal women increases, interest in the effects of estrogen grows. The influence of estrogen on several body systems has been well-documented; however, one area that has not been explored is the effects of estrogen on skin. Estrogen appears to aid in the prevention of skin aging in several ways. This reproductive hormone prevents a decrease in skin collagen in postmenopausal women; topical and systemic estrogen therapy can increase the skin collagen content and therefore maintain skin thickness. In addition, estrogen maintains skin moisture by increasing acid mucopolysaccharides and hyaluronic acid in the skin and possibly maintaining stratum corneum barrier function. Sebum levels are higher in postmenopausal women receiving hormone replacement therapy. Skin wrinkling also may benefit from estrogen as a result of the effects of the hormone on the elastic fibers and collagen. Outside of its influence on skin aging, it has been suggested that estrogen increases cutaneous wound healing by regulating the levels of a cytokine. In fact, topical estrogen has been found to accelerate and improve wound healing in elderly men and women. The role of estrogen in scarring is unclear but recent studies indicate that the lack of estrogen or the addition of tamoxifen may improve the quality of scarring. Unlike skin aging, the role of endogenous and exogenous estrogen in melanoma has not been well established.

    [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
  • Kaara
    Kaara Member Posts: 2,101
    edited March 2012

    I was on HRT for twenty years before being dx with bc.  I'm 71 and my skin is flawless, but don't know how long that will last since I'm off all HRT and now taking tamoxifen:(  I am planning to get that new device that is sold by Nu Skin that stimulates the underlayers of the skin to tighten and tone.  I had a demonstration and after one treatment I looked so much better.  If you use it a couple of times a week, it is supposed to make a big difference.  I never needed much before, but I'm thinking now I better give it all I've got to keep my nice skin.  I've also changed my diet to one of fruits, veggies and lean protein carbs or white stuff.  That makes a big difference with your skin as well.

  • sophiamarie
    sophiamarie Member Posts: 60
    edited September 2013

    Eeek. I have to start rads soon and then start tamox. I came here hoping it wouldn't be as bad as I feared, but I'm finding out even more distressing news.

    Isn't it enough to have to live with the threat of recurrence? My breast is already disfigured from surgery - cant wait to see what rads do to it. And then for years I have to take a little pill that will make me look uglier and feel awful? I know it's all "good", but what's really depressing is that even after all this you can wind up facing bc again.

  • specialk
    specialk Member Posts: 9,221
    edited September 2013

    I take an AI and have not really noticed a change in my skin, but I was menopausal for 10 years prior so didn't have much circulating estrogen anyway.  I think I just have decent skin, and people still think I am younger than I am.  For those on Tamoxifen I am wondering about skin changes because it does not suppress your estrogen, it blocks the breast cell receptors so the benefits of circulating estrogen should still be there.  If you are post-menopausal, or even soon-to-be menopausal the skin changes could be coincidental.

  • Kaara
    Kaara Member Posts: 2,101
    edited September 2013

    I've been on tamoxifen (half the prescribed dose) almost a year and a half and so far so good.  I think my skin has aged a little, but remember, I was taking HRT before my diag, so it might just be a result of going off that.  I've had to adjust to feeling different, but my hot flashes are much better now.

    I just got a clear mammo, in fact, the radiologist said that he could barely find any evidence of my surgery, so I've healed well.  I did refuse radiation, so there is probably a slightly higher risk of recurrence, but one that I was prepared to take after doing my research.  

  • rgiuff
    rgiuff Member Posts: 339
    edited October 2013

    I took tamoxifen for 3 years, while going through perimenopause at the same time. I saw so many changes in my face during this period, which I'm thinking were most likely due to the loss of estrogen that menopause brings, but will never know if the tamox contributed also. I do remember reading that the greatest loss of bone density and skin collagen occurs in the first few years of menopause. :(

    After tamox, I took an AI for about 2 months. Didn't like the drier overall feeling and the aches it caused. I worried about it causing permanent damage and wrinkling, so I stopped it in July 2012. This was partly vanity, but I never liked the idea of stopping all estrogen production in our bodies. And can't help feeling happy that I may have prevented further acceleration of the aging process.

    Now I'm not seeing as much decline in my skin, seems to have leveled off and people are still guessing I'm in my late 30s, when I'm almost 53. I've also recently started using prescription Tretinoin cream, and using the body enhancement machine at Planet Fitness. Both of these are supposed to help increase collagen production.

    And Kaara, I hope I look as good as you do at 71!

  • coraleliz
    coraleliz Member Posts: 158
    edited October 2013

    Tamoxifen has both estrogenic & antiestrogenic effects. Since my skin is getting saggy/baggy(especially my back), I've convinced myself it has an antiestrogenic effect on the skin.

  • Kaara
    Kaara Member Posts: 2,101
    edited November 2013

    When you are over 70 it's tough to hold back the aging process, but I use a moisture cream on my body every time I shower, and I never use soap on my face...just moisturizing cleanser (something taught to me by my grandma when I was in my 20's) I now use body wash instead of soap to try and keep my skin soft. I try to stay out of the sun, but I love to tan so much that it's hard to do. I grew up in Texas and never used sun screen, so go figure. I think it's just in the genes...some get wrinkles and some don't...I've been one of the lucky ones.

    What is the body enhancement machine??

  • frustratedrg
    frustratedrg Member Posts: 1
    edited December 2013

    Most definitely.  My skin is wrinkly and saggy. completed 10 years of therapy. and now my skin is showing the signs of aging!!! not a happy camper.

  • Marnijoy
    Marnijoy Member Posts: 3
    edited December 2021

    wow, I feel the EXACT same way! I had really nice skin and now the texture is so different and my skin is oily and my pores are larger……and yes aged looking as well. Help!? And why!? Why pimples on my cheeks at 45 years old….

  • beach2beach
    beach2beach Member Posts: 245
    edited January 2022

    I've been on Tamox for over 4 years. I'm now 55. I've been lucky enough to always look younger than my age. Since tamoxifen?....I guess still younger but not as young. It has been very drying for my skin. I've noticed it more the past year. In the begining it was just dryness, last year I noticed the lack of elasticity everywhere and wrinkles. I guess that might have come even if I wasn't on tamoxifen, but I thought it would be more gradual. Just had my 6mth with my oncologist and my estrogen level is still in the perimenopausal/menopausal looks like I will be on tamoxifen for a while longer.

    I do like Oil of Olay,,the regenerist and now the Vit C with peptides. Very smoothing on the skin. But what I have noticed really helped a lot under my eyes was using the old school Nivea in the blue container. I've been using it for almost a year, gob it on under my eyes and night and noticed a great amount of improvement in the fine lines. Any concealer or foundation does not "settle" in lines anymore. They have softened and plumped a bit. Still trying to find a good body. I'm waiting for the "crepey" skin to start then I'm really going to go nuts. :)

  • pi-xi
    pi-xi Member Posts: 177
    edited January 2022

    While on tamoxifen the clarity of my skin was much better! I have been off for nearly two months now and I’m noticing many more deep pimples. However, being without the drug has had other pleasant consequences!