So those of you who follow my blog regularly know that Breast Cancer Awareness Month holds a special place in my heart due to the fact that we lost our dear, sweet Mama 10 years ago after a long breast cancer battle. And just in the past few months, I’ve had several close friends who have dealt with either the passing of a parent or the diagnosis of someone close to them. It’s so scary, you guys. And so devastating in a million different ways. The patient not only has to deal with the shock of being diagnosed, and the fear of what comes next, but also with a myriad of other issues. Cancer truly affects every single aspect of your life. From the financial worries about how to pay for treatment and how to cover expenses if you have to be out of work for an extended period of time, to the practical concerns about keeping up with laundry and meals and housework, to the frightening and difficult conversations that must be had with children and loved ones. And then there is a physical toll as well, whether it is due to cancer itself, or the treatments…everything changes.
One thing that really changes when one is going through cancer treatment is your skin. Some of the changes that can occur during chemo are the following:
Photosensitivity (sensitivity to sunlight)
Ugh, right? You already have all these other awful things to worry about and now you have to deal with not looking quite like yourself either. Most health care professionals encourage their patients to stay away from products that contain lots of synthetic fragrance, colors, etc. when they are experiencing any of these issues because they can exacerbate the irritation.Here are a few examples of products that may be too harsh for delicate, irritated skin:
Acids, (retinol, etc)
These can really irritate already sensitive skin. It’s best to stay away from these until you are done with treatment.
These are basically meant to soak up oil. And your skin needs oils right now to help you combat all these other skin irritations.
Vitamin C Products
OMG, I know, you guys. Vitamin C is a miracle for fine lines and wrinkles, but it’s also a powerful exfoliator, and can irritate your skin when it’s in this delicate state.
Synthetic Perfumes and Fragrances
Now, y’all know how I feel about these anyway, (bad, bad, bad), but if you are going through cancer treatment, the irritation can be twofold, irritating and drying out your skin as well as upsetting your tummy and contributing to nausea. Stay away from these for sure!
So, now you’ve had to give up all your favorite products, what can you use that will soothe your dry, irritated skin and make you feel, even just a little bit, pampered? Here are some healthy, natural alternatives that can help:
Coconut oil is basically a miracle, you guys. It smells delicious, it soaks in quickly, it hydrates and fights fine lines, it won’t clog your pores and you can eat it. So, win, win, win. It also contains a natural sunscreen, (about an SPF 10), which, when used in conjunction with your regular sunscreen can help with the effects of photosensitivity.
Shea butter contains several fatty acids and plant sterols such as oleic, palmitic, stearic and linolenic acids, as well as plant antioxidants, such as vitamins A and E. Vitamins A and E can help protect the cells from free radicals and environmental damage. Shea butter has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help soothe a myriad of skin irritations. It also helps create a thin barrier on the skin, protecting from environmental irritants and locking in moisture, which your thirsty skin definitely needs right now.
Grapeseed oil is a wonderful natural treatment for acne. It contains compounds that are anti-inflammatory, but at the same time, it won’t leave a residue on your skin that could lead to breakouts. It will help to balance your skin and moisturize all at the same time.
Essential oils can be combined to create soothing fragrances, and when mixed with carrier oils, can also be used topically on the skin to ease irritation. Do be cautious when applying essential oils to the skin, always mix with a carrier oil or butter and remember that a little goes a long way.
These are just a few things that you (or your loved one) can try, to make things more comfortable during cancer treatments including using all natural skin care products, like Sweet Georgia Sugar’s Natural Body Butter.
And y’all? Let’s kick cancer’s ass!