Dry Skin - after treatment as well as during, as told by one of our lovely clients (Anon)

Dry Skin - after treatment as well as during, as told by one of our lovely clients (Anon)

Dry Skin - after treatment as well as during, as told by one of our lovely clients (Anon)

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Menopause came as a shock. It's not as though I hadn't expected it at some point, more that mine arrived surgically in 2010 due to endometrial adenocarcinoma, otherwise known as womb/uterine cancer. So here I am almost three years later, glad to be alive, thankful to still be cancer-free, but seeing a somewhat different face in the mirror before going off to work in the mornings.

I now have what I describe as mature skin that's past its sell-by date. Even without my varifocals my face appears to have been re-modelled on a map of the London Underground, so at 53 I'm contemplating telling people I'm 60 in the hope they might think I look good for my age. I'm not a vain woman, but I do try to take care of my skin and it's certainly a challenge when I can't remember whether or not I've already used moisturiser on any given morning.

Then there are what I call my old lady arms and legs. I often feel embarrassed when I put out a hand to point out something to a student, as the skin is frequently extremely dry nowadays. Plus I despair of the papery look of my lower legs, that will have me still in opaque black tights should summer ever decide to arrive in the UK this year.  

My hands haven’t escaped either. The knuckles on the fingers of my right hand are weirdly raised/enlarged and are also extremely dry. The knuckles on both hands are quite red/dry and the skin is very dry between the ring finger and little finger of my left hand. Most creams have little to no effect, or none that lasts.

Skincare was straightforward in my twenties: a well-known cleansing milk (well-known back then at least) and a still very well-known beauty lotion. I can't say I was faithful to my moisturiser as I've used many brands and types containing various ingredients: AHA, glycolic acid, co-enzyme Q10 and any number of other anti-aging concoctions in order to "look after" my skin. Somewhere along the way I must also have thrown in a toner or two, or even a two-in-one cleanser-toner.

My current array of skincare products includes a rinse-off cleanser, a lip/eye cream, a day cream with SPF 25 and a night cream - no SPF needed in the dark, which is where I always look my best. Although I'm now in my fifties, the skincare range I use is intended for women aged 60+. Far from locking in moisture, these creams act as a smooth surface over which a generous layer of water leaking from every pore can glide easily during hot flushes. Welcome to my mad world of menopausal skincare.

As a womb cancer survivor I believe that diet and exercise play an important role in fighting cancer. Likewise if I want good skin. I like to give my skin a helping hand without resorting to threads, fillers, Botox or surgery, so I've dabbled with Eva Fraser's facial exercises - which worked when I remembered to do them regularly - and I've now discovered Fumiko Takatsu's Face Yoga Method which looks very promising.

 Since my brush with womb cancer I've had a healthy respect for getting older and I live by the adage that age doesn't matter as long as I reach it. To me, each new birthday is a milestone on my journey away from cancer. The downside of having had my ovaries removed is that I feel I look every one of my fifty-three years and the impact the lack of oestrogen has had on my skin is very obvious to me. I should explain that, having had an oestrogen-fed cancer, I've not been allowed to take HRT or any form of natural alternative that may have an oestrogen-like effect, and this is in order to minimise any risk of possible recurrence.

I miss my former skin quality and, as I'm not a snake and won't be stepping out of this aging cover to emerge pristine and new, any help along the way is always welcome. Users of Jennifer Young products gratefully report excellent results, so I'm keen to try them for myself. All I can say is 'watch this space'!

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Tagged with: beauty, experience, endometrial cancer, cancer, identity, survival, womb cancer, help, community, survivor experience, dry skin, flaking skin, sore skin

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