Sun lotion, any particular strength while on Tamoxifen?

I am going on holiday in about 7 weeks to the Mediterranean and I have bought Piz Buin factor 15 anti allergy sun lotion but a friend who is a nurse told me I should really be using factor 30.
Has anyone actually been told by their onc what strength they should be using?

Does being on Tamoxifen make a difference to what strength I should use?

I read on Netdoctor that factor 15 is enough for most people unless you have eczema, that’s why I bought it but it doesn’t mention anything about people who are on Tamoxifen or who have BC


I was told by my onc it was due to the chemo and rads (not had tamoxifen yet!) and that I was to use a min of factor 30 but 50 would be better. Also to keep area that had rads totally covered.

Hope that helps.

Anne x

Hi Anne

I’m not sure about the tamoxifen question but I had a physio session at the hospital when having rads and they said you should use a high factor cream on the affected side if you have had any nodes removed as sunburn could bring on lymphdema. Its not actually an issue for me as I have to use factor 30 or above I am so pale and freckly.

I am on tamoxifen and zoladex though so will follow this to see the answer, Blimey there is so much to think about now. Its a whole lifestyle isnt it?

Good Luck and have a fabulous holiday. Love Shonagh xx

It’s about 18 months since I had the rads so it’s just a question of if taking Tamoxifen (and Zoladex) has any bearing on what factor to use

Hi Anne61

Just like Anne i was told to keep the area that was affected whilst getting rads covered not only when you are having treatment but in the future also.
I went on hol last year to France 6 wks after rads and kept completely covered and this year im going on honeymoon and have been told to keep covered.
Allison x

Thanks all,
I had a great week in Malta, kept the rads area covered and used factor 30 Piz Buin anti allergy for the rest

Incidentally the hot flushes I was worried about having in the heat over there - I never had any! Started again when I got home

hi was interested that u had no hot flushes while in the heat!! I am off to the maldives in july (cant wait!!) but was a bit worried i would have more hot flushes in the hot climate.Is Piz Buin the best sunscreen to get or will any factor 30 do? have also been advised to get some anti histamines incase of insect bites, and wear flight socks as i am on tamoxifen, any one got anymore advice for a long haul flight, as someone remarked its a whole new lifestyle isnt it!!

When I say I didn’t have any I actually mean I had very very few rather than none at all, certainly much less than if I’d been at home, I had been worried it would be a problem but it wasn’t at all.
Althought it was hot it wasn’t too hot and there was always a breeze, at night in the hotel I had air con which is something I don’t have at home.

I got Piz Buin just because I was told it was the best, I don’t really know if it’s the best but I had the anti allergy stuff and my friend didn’t and she was getting prickly heat so had to buy the anti allergy after all

Oh blimey what next! I have just been transfered onto tamoxifen off Arimidex because of bad side effects. Haven’t been told this, but was told when on chemo and rads. Also I have mild lymphoeama. I have just bought factor 10 as I tan easily and am already beginning to brown after 3 weeks of sun here. I’m away in 2 wks time, southern Spain. Hope we get a diffinative answer on this one. I am wondering if there is any point going away what with high insurance cover, high factor creams so don’t tan, and high cost with Euro so strong!!

Incidently. I went to Turkey just after rads (used a facter 60 on my head, no hair at time). But had no flushes! Had first one on plane back home, mad ay!


In Malta we (not me personally but all visitors) were advised to keep out of the sun between 11am and 3pm, ALWAYS wear a hat and cover up as much as possible. Never use less than factor 20.

If you tan easily then factor 10 isn’t going to be any use in my opinion.

Netdoctor tells you what to use for different skin types but remember they are not talking about people who have had radiotherapy or anything (edited by moderator)

Phew never thought of this! I always fac 50 on face and fac 30 in other places as I get prickly heat in the sun but the higher factors stop this. Awaiting rads due end of the month, so I’ll see how it goes. Off to Cornwall before then, just wish for good weather.


Hi Irene

As a fellow sufferer from lymphoedema, I have been advised to use the highest factor available (60?) for my arms (I have it in both), as heat/sunburn is very bad for it.

Also, don’t know if you are wearing a sleeve or not, but apparently they do not protect against sunburn. It’s about time they made one that did!

Hope you have a great holiday!


Interesting this post, does tamoxifen affect our skin in the sun???
I have always thought with me its the chemo affects, but nearly 2yrs on in July and my skin is still so sensitive.
I have always had to use a high factor cream as i am fair skinned but now i find if i sit in the sun for 15 mins i burn.
Does anyone know about tamoxifen and its affects perhaps the nurse specialist on BCC.


Liverbird, I have no idea but I know there are loads of medications out there that tell you to avoid direct sunlight.

I posted the original question which is exactly what you are asking but no one seems to know for sure

“Sorry but I’ve had to remove the link” oops sorry about posting that link

Am sure the best advice you can get will be from your oncologist. It is so interesting to read that some of you do not get flushes while abraod - I found that exactly this year when I was skiing and also when I was in Spain last summer doing yoga and walking. They came back when we touched down at Gatwick. One tip I found useful was to take a fan with me.

Hiya,dont know where abouts you are going but I was living in cyprus from last feb til aug and I had lots and lots of flushes it was way too hot for me,and shouldnt we all be using a high factor when we go to somewhere really hot?Personally though whilst I was there I used factor 8 tanning lotion,whilst my hubby used factor 30 and above as did my son,but one is blonde and one is ginger so???You still get sun tanned whatever factor you put on,it justs protects you from harmful rays,…oh my,I sound like a tv ad.

debbi x

Staying safe in the sun is really important for everyone, as over recent years we have seen an increase in skin cancers, and whilst this is still one of the most curable cancer sadly some people do die from the disease.

When a person has been treated for breast cancer there are certain extra precautions to take when in the sun;

During chemotherapy try not to sit in the direct sunlight for very long, avoid the midday time when the sun is at its hottest, cover the skin up with a high factor sun cream and where long sleeve tops. Chemotherapy makes the skin more sensitive, and therefore more prone to sun burn.

During radiotherapy, keep the area being treated covered up. Talk with your radiotherapy department about what factor suncream they advice, most will say factor 15 and above for this country and higher if traveling abroad. It is best not to apply suncream to the area being treated, but to keep this area completely covered from the sun.

For those on hormone treatments, it is not known that hormone treatments make the skin sensitive. Good skin care is advised, wearing only factor 15 and above in the UK and higher when traveling abroad. For many people on hormone treatments hot flushes can be a problem, and the hot weather can make these worse. Wearing loose cotton clothing, drinking plenty of water and keeping out of direct sunlight can help.

There are many different skin types and some are more sensitive than others to the sun, and therefore more likely to burn in the sun. Boots the high street chemist have excellent trained staff to assess a person’s skin type, and advise about suncream both for the UK and when traveling abroad.

As a general rule I would always suggest going higher rather than lower in suncream factors, having a sunburn is really not worth the risks involved.

Enjoy the good weather, long may it last!!

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Hi Ann,

I’m going to recommend a seriously good suncream.

It’s called Lemonoil (carrot sun milk) and is manufactured in Spain. Don’t be put off by the name - it isn’t some sort of complementary therapy; the name probably just sounds exotic to Europeans.

I first came across lemonoil in Portugal but I’ve seen it in Cornwall where it’s the brand preferred by surfers. I suspect that Spanish suncream regulations are more stringent than UK ones and so it really has the sun factor it says on the bottle. It blocks UVA and UVB. I always buy lemonoil’s carrot sun milk range because the family are all waterbabes - the range says water resistant on the bottle and it means it. I have used it under much more extreme sun situations than found in the UK: a whole day at a water park in Portugal; snorkelling at midday in the sea off Tobago (15 degrees above the equator); swimming at the Kenyan coast (actually on the equator). I always put plenty on all over first thing in the morning before I put my swimsuit/bikini on and then top up during the day after coming out of the water, or if not swimming at least twice during the day.

Be prepared to be a little bit shocked by the website; it’s very much tan orientated and talks about tan accellerators but just ignore the blurb and try the suncream.

Be aware that this suncream, like others, is not a substitute for sensible sun behaviour but it really is the best stuff I’ve come across. Choose a sensible sun factor as advised. Seek the shade at midday. An added advantage of the stuff is that it feels nice and soaks in well without feeling too greasy.

It can be obtained from or

The cost is £5 per 250ml bottle of suncream (or £5 per 200ml spray).

Hope that this is useful.

Best wishes,


girls, does anyone know for how long after rads has finished do you have to careful on that area ? I think my onc mentioned a year after but not sure. If I go away in Sept - will I have to cover up ? Finished rads May 07.

Vez xx