Looking good gives a mental boost to cancer survivors. Our skin care, nail care, and beauty tips will help you look great and put a smile back on your face.
After cancer treatment, reclaiming your beauty and confidence can be an integral part of healing. Although it may seem trivial when compared to other health issues, our beauty tips will transform you from sallow to sensational with a bit of natural makeup and some TLC for your skin, hair, and nails.
Natural products offer a chemical-free way to regain your healthy glow.
Be kind to your skin
Even those with normally oily skin can experience dryness and flakiness due to chemotherapy. Radiation can also cause sores, thin skin, and rough patches. So when it comes to caring for your skin post-cancer, being gentle is key.
Opt for cleansers, toners, and moisturizers formulated for sensitive skin. Castile soap is very mild and works well on even the most tender skin. Ingredients such as milk and oats, found in some cleansers, can also soothe skin that’s dry and irritated.
Although many toners can be too harsh, ingredients such as rosewater and lavender revive skin and act as mild astringents that won’t cause irritation.
Look for nourishing and calming ingredients in moisturizers, such as calendula, camomile, and aloe. Try moisturizing after showering or bathing, and before bedtime. This allows the oils to absorb into your skin as you get your beauty sleep—literally!
While essential oils are the best choice for natural fragrance, fragrance-free options may be an even better choice for fewer potential reactions. Alcohol-based products and foaming agents such as sodium lauryl sulphate should always be avoided, as these can be irritating.
Make makeup your friend
There’s no need to avoid makeup, even with sensitive or irritated skin. Returning to a daily beauty routine can bring a sense of normalcy and fun. Plus, makeup can even out your complexion.
Since cancer treatment can alter your complexion, drop by your natural health retailer and speak to their in-store beauty expert to determine the correct shade of foundation or powder for you. Also ask about a natural blush, which can add a healthy glow.
Keeping lips moisturized is essential—choose a gloss or lipstick that contains nourishing ingredients such as cocoa butter, shea butter, and coconut oil.
Fingernails can become dry and brittle and even rough or discoloured from chemotherapy. Nourish them and prevent infection by moisturizing with rich nut or vegetable oils. Raid your kitchen cupboards for products—olive, coconut, and sesame oils are all great options. Just massage them into the nail bed and cuticles before bed to allow the oils to moisturize overnight.
It’s best to avoid nail polish if your nails are discoloured or extra sensitive. If you do paint your nails, select natural polishes and acetone-free polish remover, which are gentler.
Eyebrows pose a particular challenge for cancer patients and survivors, as they may be sparse after treatments. However, by investing in a quality natural eyebrow pencil and eyeliner and learning a few simple tricks, you can easily fill in your eyebrows yourself.
Here’s how to do it:
- Point the eyebrow pencil up, between the nose and inner eye—this is where your eyebrow should start. Draw a small dot in this location.
- Move the pencil to the centre of the eye, and line it up with the outer edge of the iris (the coloured part of your eye)—this is where your arch should be. Draw a small dot here as well, making it slightly higher than the first dot.
- Finally, point the pencil diagonally between the nose and outer edge of the eye—this is where the eyebrow should end. Draw a final small dot there, making it slightly lower than the middle dot.
- Using gentle strokes, connect the dots with the eyebrow pencil. It should be thicker near the inner eye and become gradually thinner near the outer eye.
Finally, apply eyeliner to your lash line for added definition.
With all of the challenges cancer survivors face, beauty tips as simple as these can make each day a little brighter.
Be sun savvy
Cancer treatments can leave skin extra sensitive to the effects of the sun at any time of year.
Here’s how to stay protected:
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect the scalp, neck, and face. This is especially important if your hair hasn’t totally grown back post-chemotherapy.
- Don’t forget your UV-protective sunglasses!
- If you can help it, stay out of direct sunlight between 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun is the strongest. Remember—just because the summer heat hasn’t hit yet doesn’t mean the sun isn’t strong. If you are currently undergoing cancer treatment, speak to a health care practitioner before spending any amount of time in the sun.
- Tanning beds are a definite “no!”
- Choose natural sunscreen. The Environmental Working Group recommends mineral sunscreens that use either titanium or zinc for more effective protection without potential hormone disruptors. Even better, these are the best options for sensitive skin. Visit ewg.org/skindeep to rate your current brand.
Tip: double check!
If you’re undergoing cancer treatment, ask your health care practitioner if there are any cosmetic ingredients you should avoid.