A big concern for people first diagnosed with cancer is whether their personal care products are still suitable for use while they are having treatment.
Perfumed products may sensitise your skin now, even if they never have before, and your doctor will often advise you to use unscented products only. This is excellent advice and I believe that perfume should never appear in a skincare product. It simply does not belong on the skin. Ever. The reason that this advice is particularly given to chemo recipients is because the skin will dry out over the course of the treatment and scented products will cause irritation. Don’t forget, this advice is not just for artificial perfume, plant sourced scents such as essential oils will have the same effect on the skin so avoid aromatherapy products too.*
Should you ditch your anti-ageing facial skincare routine?
Another consideration when choosing skincare products the are safe and suitable to use during treatment is how they work on/in the skin. Anti-ageing or anti-wrinkle products have many active ingredients the stimulate collagen production, cellular renewal and repair mechanisms in the skin. While this is generally a good thing, during cancer treatment your skin is already under pressure from chemotherapy drugs and the best approach is to give it as little extra as possible to do and let your natural healing systems focus on battling the effects of chemo. We don’t want to ask an already overloaded system to start processing active anti-ageing ingredients too, there simply won’t be enough energy in the skin cells to do it all. Using gentle, non-stimulating formulations designed to support and protect skin function is what is needed right now.
What to avoid for now:
-Anything with acids such as glycolic, lactic, salicylic. These will mostly be found in exfoliators and cleansers. Some face or body lotions may have them too.
-Vitamn A/Retinol. While usually a great addition to a skincare routine, many vitamin A derivatives increase cellular turnover and you don’t want that right now.
-Epidermal Growth Factors (EGF). Again, usually recommended in anti-ageing, too stimulating during cancer treatment.
-Anything with perfume or essential oils.
-Anything with sulphates, a foaming agent usually found in cleansers that can dry out the skin. Use a non-foaming cleansing oil instead.
What to look for:
-Blended facial oils made with a combination of natural oils that will give a variety of essential fatty acids and ceramides. Look for Vitamin E, roseship seed, argan and olive fruit oils for example.
-Rich face creams containing hyaluronic acid and natural plant oils (not essential oils, think sesame seed oil, avocado seed oil, pomegranate seed oil). Protecting evaporation of water from the skin is the number one concern here.
-Body lotions based on oat milk (avena sativa) or calendula extract.
-Always use an SPF30 during the day.
The following products from the Skin Essentials range are safe and suitable for those undergoing chemotherapy. They can be purchased directly from our webshop, from our Wexford Town clinic, or call us on 053 9145981 for advice. In our online shop, all appropriate products are tagged ‘chemo-suitable’ to help you choose the best products for your needs right now.
Skin Comfort Oil – a deep nourishing, comforting oil created especially for those with skin that is compromised from chemotherapy or otherwise chronically dry. Use alone or mix with Skin Comfort Cream for comfort and suppleness.
Skin Comfort Cleanser – a gentle, oil based cleanser that respects the skin’s surface and cleans away daily dirt and makeup while moisturising the skin.
Lipid Repair Concentrate – a bio-identical oil blend to help strengthen and repair the skin’s barrier defence system while giving suppleness to the skin. Choose instead of Skin Comfort Oil when your skin is well on the way to recovery after treatment or if you experience only mild dryness during treatment.
Skin Comfort Cream – a rich, non-greasy cream to relieve tightness, redness and supply gentle, natural nutrition.
SPF30 Moisturiser – gives daily protection from UV damage while also supplying minerals, vitamins and hydration.
Lip Comfort Balm – use as required for relief from dry and cracking lips.
Suggested facial skincare basic daily protocol:
Cleanse skin every evening with Skin Comfort Cleanser. While still damp apply one pump of Skin Comfort Oil and follow with a generous application of Skin Comfort Cream.
In the morning gently rinse your face with water and a soft cloth, we love microfibre cloths.
Apply one pump of Skin Comfort Oil followed by a generous application of Skin Comfort Cream. Use SPF30 on top. Reapply SPF30 if out in the sun for long (best avoided).
Additional applications of Skin Comfort Cream can be used if needed throughout the day.
At Skin Essentials by Mariga we have gained specialist qualifications in Oncology Skincare Therapy and understand the particular needs of your skin during cancer treatment. We hope that by supporting your skincare needs with our in-depth understanding of your skin changes at this time, we can help a little to keep you feeling like yourself while you navigate this tough time.
Read more about our Oncology Facial and our Oncology Skincare Therapy accreditation here.
Like the Oncology Skincare Ireland Facebook page here for news, updates and tips.