WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN SKINCARE DURING CHEMO:
Gentle & Non-Drying
Many products contain alpha-hydroxy, acids and other agents formulated to remove dead skin cells, exfoliate and achieve a younger-looking skin. When you are undergoing chemotherapy however, heavy exfoliants and harsh scrubs are not appropriate for the skin.
Chemo can mess up your nervous system and you may develop strange reactions to things that never bothered you before. Hence it is best to not provoke your skin to potential allergens.
Avoid harsh chemicals, dyes, or perfumes
The average product is designed to appeal to the market and are loaded up with perfumes, dyes and other harsh chemicals. During chemo, you should avoid these ingredients as they can cause irritation and other adverse reactions.
• Moisturization and Hydration
During chemo, the skin tends to dry out faster, so opt for products that deliver moisture, rather than stripping it away. Avoid cleansers that use harsh surfactants or sudsing agents that can strip the skin off its environmental protective barrier. Emollients, ceramides, phospho-lipids and hyaluronic acids – these are all moisturising ingredients that are very soothing. Botanicals like Boswelia and green tea are actives that are soothing. Protective ingredients like zinc are great for healing and sun protection. If your skin is very dry and flaky, ammonium lactate cream can increase moisture.
• Apply Face Oil & Sunscreen
Applying oils to the skin, without the interference of a wax barricade, gives your skin the essential fatty acids it needs. These fatty acids, called lipids, form an environmental protection barrier that prevents the elements from assaulting our skin, keeping all skin types healthy. Wearing sunscreen every day is the best way to prevent basal and squamous cell carcinomas, and non-nano zinc oxide is the ingredient you want to see in your sunscreen. Some chemotherapy drugs make skin more susceptible to sunburn.
• Avoid Triclosan
Lab studies link this ingredient to cancer. It is found in many products, including anti-bacterial hand washes and wipes.
Used for preservative purposes, ingredients belonging to the paraben family are endocrine disruptors. Look for paraben-free products.
• Green doesn’t mean natural, organic or safe
Do not assume "natural" and "organic" labels are safe products for you. Products that claim to be natural and organic, thus assumed to be safe, can actually be greenwashing their claims.
• Pink doesn’t mean safe
Over recent months, there has been a rising controversy within the breast cancer arena called pinkwashing - companies who use breast cancer awareness to promote products that are not safe for breast cancer survivors. Similar to greenwashing, recognize the possibility that a "pink" product may not be as safe as it should be for cancer survivors, especially in skin care.
• Eat A Balanced Diet
When it comes to selecting your entrees, the American Cancer Society recommends that cancer survivors: o Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily o Choose healthy fats including omega-3 fatty acids o Select proteins that are low in saturated fat, such as fish, lean meats, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes o Opt for healthy sources of carbohydrates, such as whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables
• Limit Alcoholic Beverages
Studies have found a link between alcohol intake and the risk of getting a number of cancers.