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All TopicsForum: Hormonal Therapy - Before, During and After → Topic: Skin or hair changes from tamoxifen

Topic: Skin or hair changes from tamoxifen

Forum: Hormonal Therapy - Before, During and After —

Risks and benefits, side effects, and costs of anti-estrogen medications. Note: Please remember that there are good experiences and bad with ALL treatments and this is a safe place to share YOUR experience, not to be influenced or influence others.

Posted on: Apr 27, 2009 10:37AM

rgiuff wrote:

I had a lumpectomy for Stage I IDC in May 2008.  Waited for Oncotype DX results, which showed no need for chemo.  Had 6 weeks of radiation finished in October.  I started on tamoxifen in November.  I was always proud of my youthful appearance for my age (48).  But now, I feel like in the past few months, I'm seeing so many more wrinkles, and like my hair has lost more body.  I'm blaming the tamoxifen for depleting my estrogen.  Has anybody else noticed these effects?  And is it only going to get worse the longer I'm taking it?

RoseG Dx 4/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 4/6/2008, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/20/2008 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 8/20/2008 Breast
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Apr 27, 2009 12:07PM - edited Apr 27, 2009 12:09PM by Kleenex

I'm a bit similar to you - early stage ILC rather than IDC, but I had lumpectomy, low Onco DX score (11) so no chemo, and did radiation. Started Tamoxifen Dec. 1st. My hair seems fine, although when I had highlights done a few weeks ago, it "took" really quickly, which might be a Tamoxifen thing. My skin, especially around the eyes, is what looks old to me. I joke that it's because I have looked into the Abyss - really, though, the PTSD nature of this whole experience certainly must add to the "looking older" thing. My oncologist says that taking fish oil supplements really can help with this - skin in general, but also under the eye issues. Also, skin tends to be dryer with less estrogen, so you may need to change your cleanser/moisturizer, etc. I switched to some wonderful Austrailian products by a company called "Become," and it made a huge difference. Less visible wrinkles, no more dry flakes, etc. I do think it's ironic that I was taking BCP's and feeling youthful and planning to skip out on menopause, and now here it all is - menopause and aging, all at once. (I'm 45.) A message I got from my oncologist was that a lot of what I'm experiencing is totally due to being 45, rather than specifically being caused by the Tamoxifen. It's likely exacerbating it all, but age, sun exposure, gravity, etc., are the primary culprits...

Dx 6/19/2008, ILC, 2cm, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 27, 2009 12:20PM lmays wrote:

I've been on Tamox Train for two months.  Glad to know I'm not imagining this.  My hair is thinning, for sure, but the skin thing is really breaking my heart.  I'm 49 and the oldest person in my office.  Didn't bother me while no one could tell how old I was, but the difference is dramatic.

Getting ready for reconstruction May 6, so maybe that will lift my spirits a bit.

fighting for my rack Dx 11/2008, ILC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 27, 2009 12:58PM - edited Apr 27, 2009 12:59PM by Celtic_Spirit

I've been taking Tamoxifen since October '08, and I'm having the opposite experience (I'm 49, BTW). My skin looks clear and youthful...minus the pimples that plagued my earlier "youthful" complexion. No wrinkles and enjoying a healthy glow. I recently had an oophorectomy, so I really have no help from estrogen.

Dx 2/8/2008, IDC, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 9/30 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 27, 2009 01:33PM Jo_Ann_K wrote:

I've also had dramatic changes from Tamoxifen.  My skin lost its elasticity.  Prior to going on the meds, I had no facial wrinkles.  Now I have puppet mouth indents.  My skin is very dry and my very thick hair has thinned out..and it's only been 4 months!

joannklein.blogspot.com Dx 9/5/2008, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, ER+/PR+ Surgery 9/30/2008 Lumpectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 10/21/2008 Breast Hormonal Therapy 1/8/2009
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Apr 27, 2009 02:07PM jpann39 wrote:

Yep me too!!!!

48 yrs old and drying up like a prune!!!!!!!

My hair is thinner but not much, its always been extremely thick so not a bother for it to thin some.....

Now the WRINKLES and dry skin is where I have the trouble.....I have tried many products over the last 2 1/2 yrs and some work for awhile then I have to change so any suggestions on this is wonderful....



'Gain strength by the positive and don't be sapped by the negative" Dx 11/4/2006, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 1, 0/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 27, 2009 02:52PM jlazyk wrote:

I had been on it three years.  Initially my face was covered in freckles then the wrinkles started with no more sun exposure than usual.  It doesn't seem to get alot worse after the initial few months.

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Apr 27, 2009 09:05PM CherylG711 wrote:

I've noticed thinning hair on my entire body since starting the Tamoxifen in January 2009.  My hair was coming in like gangbusters from the time I stopped chemo (09/2008) until January but then it really slowed down. 

My skin looks pretty good since I have a bazillion hot flashes a day....kind of have this dewy glow all of the time!

Cheryl Dx 2/7/2008, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 28, 2009 01:31PM stefie wrote:

I also have had hair thining and my hair has been curly since a couple of month after starting the tamox.  i have always had straight hair. I have noticed more wrinkles on my neck. I am only 52 and I feel 62. I understand about the dewy glow and wish they could find something for the sweats and flashes. I tryed the effexor but it did not work for me.  I am on zoloft but that does not help the flashes but helps the mood swings.

Stefie Dx 9/12/2007, DCIS, <1cm, Stage IB, 0/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 30, 2009 01:35PM Susers wrote:


My hair has become so thin on the back top and sides of my head that I have to use a product from Bumble and Bumble (spray powder) to hide my scalp. It is just horrible. My hair came back curly and thick, just wonderful and it slowly became thinner and thinner and thinner. I have been on the Tamox for 1 year now and recently went off due to mounting side effects.

Skin - My skin has always been dry so I am not sure I can get much worse in that department. Fish Oil does wonders for your skin if taken daily. Try that. It takes a while to show up but it works!

Bilateral Mastectomy - Immediate Reconstruction - Cohesive Gel Implants by Mentor Dx 6/7/2007, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/12 nodes, ER+/PR+
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May 2, 2009 10:14AM KEW wrote:

I've had a similar experience to Celtic Spirit, I'm 49 and been on Tam since December, my skin, thankfully, always looked good, but I'm amazed at how much better it looks, now.  I do look a little more tired, but I have a job that was demanding and hard to keep up with before this physical and emotional experience.  I've lost weight, and I am sleeping better than I have have in years.  I think estrogen was bothering me.  On Monday, during my exchange, out go the ovaries. I've had 38 years of periods, although Tam stopped them, I got one this week when I went off if to prepare for surgery.  I was also calmer on the Tam, it took me a month to realize it.  My hair, I can't tell, but it is shiny and soft, I'm just not sure if there is less of it.  I think I've been on estrogen overload for a long time.  I was 100% ER/PR.


Age DX: 48. Dx Oct 2008, IDC, 2.6cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/10 nodes,100%ER+/Pr+, HER2-, Oncotype Score 15. BLM with reconstruction Nov 2008.
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May 2, 2009 11:14AM peeps1111 wrote:


You can still have estrogen from your adrenal glands.  I went through menopause at 42 and had one ovary removed two years ago because of a tumor and I asked my drs. how much estrogen I could possibly have but that's what they told me. 


Dx 6/20/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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May 25, 2011 08:36PM - edited May 25, 2011 08:39PM by ilean

Thanks for your  information on this.  Please tell me about the fish oil.  Where and what to try. product information on the fish oil.  Purchased where? My skin took a big change, very depressing.  i am considering reconstructive surgery.  i am afraid of the results i have seen on some people.  it can be so false looking and sometimes looks worse then before.  I am also afraid of staying on the Tomo.  Weighing the side affects to date,  Started Feb 26 2011, stopped  April 26

2 months and still not back on it.  I will be seeing the Dr. soon to discuss all of my concerns.  All hell.  My sister had a mastectomy so sad.  Thanks so much 

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May 25, 2011 09:02PM Luan wrote:

Ilean, hi, the fish oil is a vitamin referred to as omega 3. Multiple brands make it but u have to make sure on the label that it comes from small fish (lower in food chain less exposure to chemicals) like sardines, anchovies. i.e. my brand says every batch tested for heavy metals, dioxins and PCBs, as well as peroxyde values and refined using molecular distillation, u especially have to look out for added vit. e which prevents the fish oil from going rancid. capsules are usually 1000 mg. It is highly recommended and helps me with the little bit of depression that may come with.Tamox. Hope this helps :)

Don't knock at death's door. Ring the bell and run. He hates that. Dx 10/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 23, 2012 10:51PM Spinnerpom wrote:

I'm 53 and look 40...at least I did until I went through this ordeal...and after only 5 months on tamoxifen, my skin has aged 10 years. It's unbelievable, really. I'm so depressed about it.  I am in a very image conscious industry and already at the upper end of the age range for my field.  I'm really worried about how much worse this is going to get. I had some photos professionally done today and trust me when I say 18 mpx digital really brought my attention to what has happened to my face. Deep creases in my smile lines (they were minimal 6 months ago) and crepe-y looking skin on my cheeks. My jowls are even starting to droop.  So in addition to all the drugs we're put on to counteract the side effects of the drugs we're put on, now I need a face lift? And I didn't even get a set of DD's out of this.  GRRRRR.  :-)

Sara Dx 11/15/2011, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 23, 2012 02:47PM Alaskanna wrote:

Ladies, Thanks for your posts. I just started noticing changes in my skin. I have blotchy spots on my face and neck. I think doctors dismiss all our comments due to the age thing. It makes me mad. I've been on Tam for 4 mos now. Other then that I am tolerating it alright.

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