Unfortunately, cancer treatments can take their toll on your skin – often making it more sensitive, itchy, dry, and pigmented. So, we’ve gathered five top tips to help you navigate this chapter in your skin’s story.
It’s estimated that around half of people undergoing cancer treatment develop an issue affecting their hair, skin or nails. Although not everybody will suffer from skin problems, it can be uncomfortable and upsetting for those who do. Using natural, gentle and protective skincare can help you to manage any dermatological difficulties and shower your skin with the love it deserves.
Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy and hormonal therapy are some of the most common cancer treatments. Although these treatments work hard to make you feel better, they can be challenging for your skin.
Tip 1: Doctor Knows Best
It goes without saying, but you should always speak to your doctor or specialist nurse before using any skincare products during treatment. They’ll be able to provide advice and guidance about how to take care of your skin, as well as suggesting any products or ingredients to steer clear of. You’ll be left with a skincare routine that’s just what the doctor ordered.
Similarly, you should tell your medical team about any skin changes you’re experiencing as a result of your treatments, like rashes, dry skin, spots, or itchiness. They can check them over and work towards finding a solution, so don’t be afraid to speak up if anything seems unusual. Organisations like Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK also provide plenty of useful resources if you want to do some extra reading or would like some additional support.
Tip 2: Gently does it
Skin can often feel super sensitive during treatment, so opting for gentle, creamy cleaners and avoiding harsh, alcohol-containing toners can help to prevent flare-ups.
Our best-selling Smoothing Cleanser Complexion Purifier is the ultimate cleansing companion for even the most sensitive skin. Melting away dirt without any need for rubbing, opt for the unscented, oil-based formula to keep sebum levels in check while delivering a much-needed rush of moisture.
For a hydrating hero, reach for our Vitamin Toner Pore Refining Mist. Aloe vera and cucumber juice are blended with cranberry oil extracts and Vitamins B3, B5 and C to create this milky mist. Ph-balancing and hydrating, it’s your skin’s perfect pick-me-up.
It’s also worth remembering that your usual exfoliation treatments might feel a little too intense right now. Some exfoliators can strip the skin of its natural oils and moisture – but we want to keep all this good stuff locked in! So, why not try putting them on pause for a while?
Tip 3: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Dryness is a very common concern with cancer treatments, especially during chemotherapy. The skin on both face and body can feel very tight, dry and even peel, so it’s more important than ever to keep your moisture levels topped up.
We know it can be tempting to spend ages in a hot shower or bath – especially during the colder months – but your poor skin will be getting more dehydrated by the minute. Plus, if you use body washes and bubble baths containing harsh detergents, you’re doubling the dehydration!
Instead, try shortening your washing time and keeping water lukewarm. Our Body Wash and Luxury Bath Foam swap skin-stripping detergents for natural, pH-balancing ingredients – leaving you refreshed and protected.
Once you’ve washed, dive straight into the moisturiser. For a body cream that’s good enough to eat, look no further than Whipped Body Velvet. Designed to replicate buttercream icing, this deeply nourishing, repairing and hydrating cream makes moisturising oh so sweet. But remember, it’s always best to check with your doctor before using any skincare products.
Tip 4: Take Care in The Sun
It’s always important to be sun-safe, but certain cancer treatments can increase skin sensitivity to sunlight and put you at higher risk of UV damage. You don’t have to stay out of the sun completely, just be sure to wear a high SPF, broad-spectrum sunscreen (like Great Barrier Sun Lotion) daily – yep, even during winter! This will protect you from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
When applying, pay extra attention to particularly sensitive areas like the lips, inflamed skin or scars. Our pocket-sized Sun Stick is perfect for targeting these spots and topping-up protection when you’re out and about. Oh, and don’t forget to keep a pair of sunglasses handy!
Tip 5: Good Hand and Nail Care
Chemotherapy and targeted therapy drugs can make hands – and especially nails – very dry. A good pair of rubber gloves may sound like an unusual skin recommendation, but protecting nails and hands while doing chores will always help to keep the area much more comfortable.
Clean hands have never been so important in the current climate, but soaps and gels can leave hands feeling extremely tight and uncomfortable. Look for formulations that are pH-balanced, like our Signature Hand Wash, and always follow with a hydrating treatment, like Superfood Hand Therapy.
Treatment often causes nails to become brittle and grow more slowly, so a good nail and cuticle treatment, like Nail Nectar, can help to prevent snagging and splitting. Try to avoid cutting your cuticles too, as this can lead to a higher risk of nail infections.
Everybody’s skin journey will have its own changing tides, that’s what makes us unique. But skincare is all about learning to ride each skin wave – equipped with the raft of knowledge and the will to use that knowledge – and nourishing it to the healthiest version of itself.
If you’re undergoing cancer treatment, please always remember to speak to your doctor before starting or continuing your skincare routine.