Oestrogen positve - what are the impacts of skin creams

Hi ladies

I am on tamoxifen for 5 years as my cancer was the oestrogen positve type, having recently had a diep flap I have been looking at best ways to minimise the scarring. I was alarmed when some one mentioned that though that I must avoid any creams which have vitamin e in them, things like bio-oil and generally any creams with photo-oestogens. And not just on the scarred areas but not to use them at all.

The only thing is whilst its easy to spot something saying vit E on the bottle, when your faced with a rake of ingrediants which so many creams seem to have nowadays what are the key ingrediants to look out for and avoid?

Any ideas or if any body knows of a good link to where to find this info would be appreciated

Cheers xx

Hi alexc23,

I am also on tamoxifen for 5 years but have not heard about vit E being a problem I take a small dose of vit e in capsule form daily! been on tami now for 6 months. I do use paraben SLS and aluminum free products on my skin now as if they contain the aforementioned stuff they are carcinogenic, on my scar I use 99.9% Aloe Gel and its healing beautifully so far thats the best stuff I have found, I also use Faith in Nature and even tho its expensive I treat myself occasionally to Neals Yard creams especially the frankincense day cream great for aging skin. I have got some Bio Oil but have only used it once.

My onc knows exactly what I take and put on my skin and he has ok’d all of the products and supplements I take, when I asked him about oestrogen or photo-oestrogens he said that the products I was worried about contained such a minimal amount of it that I should not worry myself, it would have no impact.

Hope this helps
Sarahlousie xx

Hi Alexc23,
I’m on Tamoxifen too, I also am taking vitamin E (it comes mixed in with the fish oil I’ve been told by my cancer team to take for the joint problems the Tamoxifen is causing…) and I have read of people being encouraged to use Vitamin E enriched creams… I chose not to use bio-oil due to phytoestrogens (lavender) but others make different choices and oncologists’ views vary. I think some poeple have used something called kiwi oil on scars to good effect. I tend to stick with E45 or aqueous (both of which some people choose to avoid for non-cancer reasons…) and my lot seem happy so long as I ‘moisturise, moisturise, moisturise’… even saying ‘any bland moisturiser’ is fine.

As Sarahlousie has said, check with you onc or BCN, as views vary and we are each unique.

I think the important thing is that we feel confident in the choices we make, whatever they may be, and not be too perturbed if someone else makes a different choice.

Thanks RevCat

I was told not to use Vit E products or suppliments as they boosted oestrogens, aaaarrrrggghhh, why does things have to be so conflicting

Your spot on though with the confidence in our choices though

Any views on soya products these were also mentioned as something to avoid


Hi again Alex,
I am one of those who has done some research (reading trials data etc.)and decided on that basis to exclude soya from my diet as there is some research that suggests soy MAY abbrogate the effectiveness of Tamoxifen, but it is not yet proven. To do so, and some oncs recommend it for strongly ER positive people, is not easy as soy lecithin is used in a lot of things such as choclolate, cakes, biscuits etc, many spreads including things like spreadable butter. I have become an avid reader of labels! If you wany soy free chocolate, it’s basically Cadbury Flake or Twirl or expensive online stuff… offends my fairtrade bias but there you go!

Whatever you decide, you will make the right choice for you. Just don’t let this cancer rubbish turn you into a totally paranoid person

hi revcat

just been reading your latest post about soya. i too have been avoiding things if i can with soya/soya lecithin. like you say its in a lot of things like chocolate etc. i didnt know about the cadbury flake or twirl not having it in though - brill!. i had given up reading all the labels on back of chocolate saying soya lecithin, soya lecithin soya flipping lecithin… i had discovered aero mint bubbles though - it says vegetable lecithin - but if you get a bar of mint aero its got soya lecithin? asked my dad if this is right and not a mix up (he works at cadburys!) and he says often they make at different sites and can contain slightly different ingredients in products.
anyway i will be checking out that flake and twirl, for my occasional chocolate treat.

anyway enough of my ramblings, off to buy a twirl.

TTM xxx

Hey TTM, didn’t know about aero bubbles. Soy Lecithin is also known as E322. Any product containing soy ought to list it as it is one of the common allergens… I assume that ‘vegetable lecithin’ therefore does not contain soy. Some products have sunflower lecithin, so it is possible… Interesting that the more solid choc has soy… hmmmm.

Sainsbury’s low fat instant hot choc is soy free too :0)

And cocoa of course…

is sunflower lecithin ok then? it might have said that not vegetable lecithin.

been on cadbury website and you can look at ingredients for each chocolate bar (how sad am i? or desperate to find some chocolate with no soya lecithin in it!) - anyway it says twirls have it in them?

the flakes dont - but the bags of flake bite size do…

i didnt know about the E322 i will look for that.

As sad as me TTM - I have checked the Cadbury’s website too! As far as I know sunflower lecithin is OK - not the same high levels as in soy anyway.

Are you saying Twirls have soy… they must have changed the recipe since I checked :frowning:

Sainbury’s website has a complete list of products they make that are soy free, I’m sure other supermarkets do to, but I mostly shop at Sainsbury’s so didn’t check the others.

The issue of soy is confusing becuase the research has shown mixed results. Some shows that components in soy can increase growth of BC cells and antagonise tamoxifen whilst another study on soy consumption showed it to reduce mortality and recurrance of BC even when taking tamoxifen. Confusing - yes!
This is quite a good summary of findings to date from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in America


It is very hard to exclude all soy from our diets because so many products have it in including many shop bought breads.

About a year after I was diagnosed I stopped having anything with soy in. I’m more relaxed about it now and do eat chocolate. However, I never opt for soy products like tofu although I do very occasionally have a soy latte. For me the anxiety about it all was getting too much so I decided not to worry too much.

When I do have chocolate I try to have a good quality one like Montezuma’s organic milk chocolate (which does contain organic soy lecithin). It is not so sweet as Cadbury’s and I’d rather have a smaller amount of good quality. Their chocolate buttons are lovely!

As Revcat says it’s about making a decision that feels right for you.

elinda x

Sorry I didn’t answer question about skin creams. I don’t know about Vit E. I am more concerned about the chemicals so have products without parabens etc. It’s not just because of BC but I find many ‘chemical’ products really irritate my skin especially things like soaps and shampoos.
I use things from PurNuffStuff, Green People, Faith in Nature etc.

Elinda x

Hi Everyone
Well I am gobsmacked as I knew nothing about this, was not given any diet advice apart from not to have blue cheese (Which i hate anyway!)or probiotic youghurts which I also dislike!! I am so glad I clicked on this post, thank you for the info everyone. I am going to see oncologist Fri for routine pre chemo appt so I will have this very question on my list. I stopped using Bio-oil as i had a reaction to it now.
I have some of the Neals yard Frankincense cream that my daughter bought me but was unsure of using it. I have been using Simple creams? Its a flpping minefield isnt it!!
Best wishes
Mary P xx

Mary - there isn’t consensus among the doctors on this and I’ve found dietary advice to be non existent where I go. I have seen a diet sheet recommended by one woman’s consultant that actively encouraged the use of soya. When I asked my BCN she said not.

I’m not sure how up to date most doctors and nurses are with the research on dietary issues. It’s always worth asking though as you may be lucky and have an Onc that’s interested in those issues. The same with things like skin creams.

Elinda x

This diet thing is confusing. I asked my onc and basically got told the decision is mine. So I have no idea what I should or should not be eating.
As for skin and toiletries. I am using a range called naked, sold on line and in boots. I am hoping this is ok after what I have been reading.

Any advice re diet would be appreciated.


Thanks Elinda, you are one of the wisest and best read in this complex field. As you say views are diverse and conflicting. My rule of thumb is ‘if I do X and the cancer returns will I wish I’d done Y instead’… I know how I answer that in each instance, and how much I am prepared to change (or not) my lifestyle. My onc was very much of the ‘eat a mixed diet’ viewpoint but pro-dairy anti-soy for ER+ PR+. Because I felt safe with him, I follow his guidance.

Mary (peanut) that sounds like the advice for chemo which is about the risk of food poisoning whem you immune system is compromised by the drugs. I stuck to the advice to the letter - and got off with minimal nasty effects.

Rae and Mary don’t panic over skin creams - keeping your skin moisturised during chemo is more important than exactly what you put on. I used E45 as I have sensitive skin anyway.

Never let the cancer control your life to the extent it takes away your simple pleasures… if you really want something with soy or whatever and would otherwise be miserable, then have it.

Thanks Revcat that’s really made my day!

You are so right about not getting paranoid about it all. Those simple pleasures in life mean a great deal.

Where you can’t seem to go far wrong is increasing the amount of vegetables you eat and try to have as many colours as you can. All of them have micronutrients and they vary depending on colour.

take care, Elinda x

Thanks everyone
Makes me feel better, did have a little panic there Revcat but paranoia settled now. There is just so much to know and learn about. I eat lots of veg and fruit, am not vegetarian but not a great lover of meat but do try to eat it 1-2 times weekly.
Thanks everyone
Mary xx

Thanks all for your input, its a bit of a minefield, am for me not going to get too paranoid and will avoid where easy to do so like not having any of the soya meals and I don’t really eat many pre-processed products anyway, but if I’m making a chinese recipe which calls for a bit of soy sauce then so be it. I’ve always lived to eat not purely eaten to live (all in moderation of course)

Alex xx

How confusing. My BCN advised Bio-oil for the scarring - and she knows I’m ER+. I hadn’t heard about potential probs with it - someone mentioned it was the lavender - is that correct?

What about dairy? My onc said no problem with dairy when I asked him after reading the scary Jane Plant book. I did give it up for a bit but decided that without firm evidence (in which case I would definitely give it up) life was not so enjoyable without it - and we go through enough already.

Hi Tired

I’ve posted this on another thread - so apologies if you’ve already seen it…

I’m ER++, I’ve been using bio oil for over a year and looked into this when concerns were raised on other threads.

As far as I’ve been able to discover, bio oil (amongst its many other ingredients) contains a small amount of lavender oil.

There’s been a widely reported study that lavender oil mimics oestrogen (causing young boys to grow breasts). Again, as far as I’ve found, this study was based on a very small sample.

My reasoning for carrying on using it is: The evidence against seems flimsy. The amount of lavender oil in it is small. I’m rubbing it in, not drinking it(!), so the amount that is likely to be circulating widely in my system is minimal. The amount of oestrogen I’m producing naturally will be far greater - and I’m taking tamoxifen to counteract the effects of that!