When you’re being treated for cancer the changes in your appearance can have a big impact on how you feel, in addition to everything else that’s going on. Look Good Feel Better is the organisation providing workshops for women to offer advice on make-up, skincare, and a little bit of pampering as well, because sometimes what you really need is a bit of a makeover and a girly chat over a cup of tea. Here they give their guide to skincare …
How cancer treatment can affect your appearance:
The effects of treatment on your appearance vary with the type of treatment given and your individual response to it. No two people react in exactly the same way. Some of the most common ways in which cancer treatments can affect appearance however, are as follows:
• Skin tone changes: skin may become sallow or reddish during treatment
• Skin blotchiness or flushing
• Skin dryness, itchiness, and flaking
• Increased sensitivity to the sun
• Dark circles or puffiness under the eyes
• Hair thinning or loss: this may include eyebrows, eyelashes and body hair
• Altered growth and texture of nails; discolouration or lifting of nails
After chemotherapy in particular, skin is likely to be drier and more sensitive than normal. If you are having radiotherapy, you will probably find that it is just the skin in the area being treated that becomes sore and sensitive for a while. This product advice applies to people who are not having radiotherapy to the face or neck. For most women, the facial skincare products you will need during treatment are similar to those in a normal skincare routine,but there are a few important differences.
Cleanser and eye make-up remover: If you are treated with chemotherapy, your skin will be drier and more sensitive for some time afterwards. A gentle cream cleanser is kinder to skin than water. Steer clear of any products that are described as ‘energizing’ or ‘invigorating’, as they may be too harsh. Don’t use exfoliating products during treatment, even if your skin is flaky; again, they will be much too harsh. For removing eye make-up, it’s best to use an oil-based product which can gently dissolve make-up in the delicate eye area without rubbing or dragging the skin.
Toner: Toner refreshes the skin and removes any excess oil and make-up residue from the cleanser; it also helps moisturiser to be absorbed. If your skin becomes dry or sensitive, an alcohol-free toner for sensitive skin is best; it will also help to alleviate any discomfort you may feel as a result of having drier skin.
Moisturiser: Regular moisturising is essential during and after treatment, as chemotherapy can leave even the oiliest skin with dryness and flakiness. During chemotherapy, it’s best to avoid products with alpha-hydroxy and retinol in them, as these can irritate sensitive skin. You may find that you need a heavier moisturiser than usual until your skin recovers its natural moisture; night creams are also wonderful for soothing and moisturising the skin and many women find that it feels very comforting to treat the skin in this way at the end of the day.
Sunscreen: If you are having chemotherapy, your skin is likely to become more sensitive to the sun during treatment and for several weeks afterwards. It’s advisable to stay out of the sun as much as possible at this time and to cover up with hats and loose clothing if you are in strong sunshine. You will need to wear a sunscreen of SPF 30+ on your face, head, and any other exposed areas during treatment – don’t forget the tops of your ears! When choosing sunscreen, avoid gel or ‘oil-free’ formulations, as these will not help with skin dryness. Many moisturisers and foundations now include some sun protection, but most will not provide enough protection on their own. If you are having radiotherapy, the skin in the treated area will be very sensitive and need extra protection from sun for at least a year after treatment.
Note: If you are receiving radiotherapy treatment, don’t use any creams, lotions, cleansers or sunscreens on the area being treated until you have checked with staff in the radiotherapy department.
For more information and for a complete DVD Confidence Kit visit Look Good Feel Better .
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.