Proper Skincare for Anyone Living With Cancer
After a cancer diagnosis, skincare is probably one of the last things on a patient’s mind. With the flurry of doctor’s appointments and treatment planning, things can quickly become overwhelming.
Treatment of cancer comes with some well-known side effects, including nausea, vomiting, pain, and hair loss. But did you know that the skin is affected, too? Skin reactions and sensitivities are common side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.
Doctors and nurses often don’t spend much time addressing this issue. Healthy skin cells are affected by cancer treatments, so the skin may dry out and become more sensitive. The glands in the skin are also affected; radiation can cause the skin to become irritated, ranging from mild to chronic in severity, and surface wounds may be prevented from healing. Such skin reactions can be painful. Hormone therapies target the body’s estrogen, so the skin loses its youthful look.
Some simple tips to help make your skin look better include:
- Avoid additives: Read the ingredients on the labels of your skincare products since some of them may harm your skin. Buy products that have fewer ingredients listed, as this will reduce the chances of irritation.
- Choose fragrance-free products: Some products smell delightful because of their scent, but they might also irritate the skin due to their additives. So, it’s best to avoid skincare products that have fragrances.
- Pick a gentle cleanser: Avoid cleansers with alcohol as the main ingredient. These may cause your glands to produce less oil, which in turn might make the skin dry and even more sensitive. Also, avoid sodium lauryl sulfate.
- Moisturize your skin with natural oil: The natural oil that is lacking in your glands can be replaced with natural oils, such as coconut or argan oil. Virgin coconut oil is natural and makes rough skin smooth, as well as keeps it hydrated.
- Use regular lip balm: Lips can feel painful when they’re dry and chapped. Moisturize them regularly with plain lip balm and be sure always to carry a stick of it with you.
- Protect your skin from UV rays: Your skin will be vulnerable to damage from UV rays due to its heightened sensitivity. These rays can cause skin cancer and painful skin reactions. Try to get a sun block with a high SPF that contains an ingredient called non-nano zinc oxide. You should also wear a hat whenever you go out in the sun, or use an umbrella. The sun block’s SPF number will tell you how long it will protect you and how well it can block UVB rays.
- Scalp care is important: Hair loss is a distressing and well-known side effect of cancer. Those experiencing it need to take proper care of their scalps. People undergoing treatments often choose to wear wigs to hide the visible hair loss. However, the scalp may still need a little extra TLC; the scalp can become dry and itchy due to the wig, so be sure to moisturize the skin using natural oils or moisturizers with minimal ingredients. Do not scrub the scalp vigorously.
The skin may become dry and sensitive due to cancer treatments so, to keep it moisturized, find non-irritating products. This will help you take better care of your skin. Eat healthy and be kind to yourself every day. Take care of your body inside and out.