Let’s talk about phyto-oestrogens. The word comes from the Greek word “phyto” or plant, and “oestrogen” the hormone which makes us fertile. Phyto-oestrogens or plant oestrogens, are naturally occurring chemicals which have a structure similar to the female hormone oestrogen. They affect the body by weakly[i] attaching themselves to our oestrogen receptors. Can they act detrimentally[ii] to oestrogen blocking drugs for breast cancer? There is no clear answer to this question. This is a contentious and complicated subject matter, with inconclusive and inconsistent research surrounding it. What do we know?


[i] Phytoestrogens and the prevention of breast cancer: The contentious Debate. World Journal of Clinical Oncology. Pub 2014. Accessed February 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4129534/

[ii] The Pros and Cons of Phyto-oestrogens. US National Library of Medicine. Published 2010. Access February 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3074428/

According to Breastcancer.org most breast cancers are hormone-receptor-positive:


About 80% of breast cancers are oestrogen-receptor positive.


About 65% of oestrogen-receptor-positive breast cancers are also progesterone-receptor-positive. This means that the cells have receptors for both hormones, which could be supporting the growth of the breast cancer.


About 13% of breast cancers are oestrogen-receptor-positive and progesterone-receptor-negative. This means that estrogen, but not progesterone, may be supporting the growth and spread of the cancer cells.


About 2% of breast cancers are oestrogen-receptor-negative and progesterone-receptor-positive. This means that the hormone progesterone is likely to support the growth of this cancer. Only a small number of breast cancers test negative for oestrogen receptors but positive for progesterone receptors. More research is needed to better understand progesterone-receptor-positive breast cancers.


If the breast cancer cells do not have receptors for either hormone, the cancer is considered oestrogen-receptor-negative and progesterone-receptor-negative (or “hormone-receptor-negative”). About 25% of breast cancers fit into this category.

Any positive test result — whether just for oestrogen receptors, just for progesterone receptors, or both — means that the breast cancer is considered “hormone-receptor-positive.” Hormonal therapy may help to slow or stop the growth of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers by lowering your body’s estrogen levels or blocking the effects of oestrogen. These medications also may reduce the risk that the cancer will come back (recur).

Oils such as borage, avocado, evening primrose, flaxseed & soy are examples plant-based oestrogens. Should these ingredients be going onto and in some cases into the skin? Each of us must make decide this for ourselves. As a practising Oncology Certified Facialist Corneotherapist, I choose not to use phytohormone based plant extracts on my health challenged clients.

My product of choice is dermaviduals. One of only a few corneotherapy products in the world today and the only corneotherapy line in Australia. They use the best ingredients from around the world, together with best practice from sterile formulating & packaging to containing no fragrance, silicones, mineral oils, amines, colours, preservatives, parabens, emulsifiers and is not tested on animals; making it safe, efficacious and gentle on the skin.

What is corneotherapy?[i] It an innovative and progressive skin treatment methodology that has proven it is possible to achieve a healthy skin with an optimally functioning innate immune system by preventing or reducing structural inflammation.

This is achieved by using preventative interventions that are primarily directed to correction and restoration of the stratum corneum and barrier defence systems.  
This approach leads to homeostasis and the improved function of the entire integument; protecting against harmful substances and microorganisms, while keeping the epidermis intact at all times.

By using methodologies that are primarily directed to correcting and building skin barrier defenses that have been rendered defective or impaired by disease, or intrinsic and extrinsic factors; corneotherapy is the individualized skin care and clinical treatment methodology of the future, as it can be perfectly adapted to the specific needs of skin.

[i] International Association for Applied Corneotherapy. What is Corneotherapy? https://www.corneotherapy.org/about-corneotherapy/what-is-corneotherapy

Be strong / Be kind / Be yourself