Don’t compromise on Skincare 

Today’s medical treatments use strong drugs, which can leave patients with nasty side effects, similar to the left side of this image, and often worse.

Skin is our largest organ, but drugs used to treat us can produce nasty side effects, causing eruptions.

We all want skin looking like the ‘nice’ right side, but anyone whose skin looks like the left side, probably knows a shortage of dermatologists in the UK can leave us in despair.

How I was

As Beauty Editor for an American trade magazine, I owned a cupboard full of freebie skincare;  at one Press launch, I totted up my Goody bag and it was worth over  £2,500!  I picked up enough knowledge to understand how skin behaved, and what could cause problems.

So when a bullying dermatologist at my cancer hospital informed me my horrific skin eruptions were “due to your age”, I knew enough to challenge him. I refused to pay his bill and told him to take me to Court, he climbed down and never sued me!.

Then I went off to France, where they sorted me out.  The French take skin problems much more seriously,  with more registered dermatologists in one Department than we have in the whole of the UK.

What had happened

3 days after I had been prescribed Tamoxifen,  my skin erupted, and the nurse was lifting blistering skin off my arm. Laying it carefully on a towel, she said  “you need to see a dermatologist”. Easier said than done; on the NHS, there was a six-month wait to see one.

So it was ‘go private’, and an appointment with a pompous consultant. He told me to take off all my clothes (with 18 students ogling).  Examining me for all of two minutes, he left me stark naked whilst he gave his verdict:  “it’s your age”.

I protested: “But my skin erupted overnight; surely if this were age-related, it would have built up over time?”, (I could hear the students whispering in agreement in the background)

This produced “I haven’t time to answer questions” from the dermatologist, flung over his shoulder as he swept out of the room. All I could do was tell the Receptionist that if he dared charge me I would see him in Court before I paid.  I never got a bill.

How I got ‘sorted’

The Hospital Chaplain suggested I go to La Roche Posay (LRP) Clinic in France where the hospital, with its Thermal Spa, deals with over 10,000 problem skin cases a year.

There, dermatologists did umpteen tests, before confirming my skin problems were due to side effects of Tamoxifen, the cancer drug I was being given.

I was given to undferstand that this was a recognisef side effect (at least, to the Franch) and then prescribed creams and lotions that cleared up the problem.  Today, I still get minor outbreaks, but slapping on the LRP balms clears it up.

Let’s hope things have changed today when the NHS diagnoses, especially as information coming out post-COVID-19 indicates that there are going to be a lot of similar drug-related skin problems.

With a shortage of trained dermatologists (approx 600 Dermatologists for the whole of the UK;  the region around Paris alone has over 800), this looks like a recurring problem..

Treatment today

Although my skin no longer sheds large patches, different drugs make sure I develop other skin-related problems, e.g. ‘straw hair’, painful splitting nails that catch in everything, rough skin patches that crop up as a reaction to each ‘new’ drug, etc.

Press reports show Long-Covid is producing the same skin problem side effects we face.


So if you have skin problems, DON’T let doctors fool you that these are due to age, or- as my latest doctor suggested, when shown a large rough, itchy red patch on my arm, surrounded by a hard raised itchy rim, told me this was caused by bruising!!!!! .

Recently, La Roche Posay, has set up a marvelous online-consultation service, which I now use.  They have one for cancer patients, but I made contact with  Jade, and found her knowledgeable and helpful;,

In an easy-to-follow Zoom ‘meeting, Jade talked me through my problems, having warned me that she was not a medic.  She applied common sense to the consultation, which was incredibly helpful.  On top of which she gave me a discount code!

To book a consultation go to


The website belongs to L’Oreal, and is clunky – just persevere!

Every time your drugs are changed, you might have another outbreak,  I find that side effects from Tamoxifen keep on returning, but luckily I can zap them with LRP’s Lipikar Replenishing Balm – I only wish one could get La Roche Posay on Prescription!