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Caring for your facial skin

Your skin might feel different and look less bright when you are having cancer treatment.

Taking good care of your skin and giving it a boost might help you feel more like yourself.

This video tells you how to look after your skin when you have cancer.

Practical tips

It helps to have a skin care routine for the morning and evening. Cleanse and tone before you moisturise.  

Choose products for your skin type. You can ask shop assistants to help you.

Remember that your skin may become drier during treatment. So choose gentle products or those for sensitive skin.

Try to choose products:

  • within your price range
  • that feel good on your skin
  • that you like the smell of or are unperfumed

During treatment some people find they are sensitive to particular smells. Some might even make you feel sick. So unperfumed or lightly perfumed products may be best.

Skin care products vary in price. You don’t have to buy expensive ones.

Supermarkets might have special deals on products. Make up counters in large chemists or department stores can often give you free samples to try before you buy.

Look online for feedback from other people about products you are interested in so that you can compare different ranges.

Make sure you check with your doctor or specialist nurse before using any skin care products if you:

  • are still having cancer treatment
  • have had treatment to your face or neck
  • have had a skin reaction

How to extend your skin care

You can use serums, exfoliators or face masks to brighten your skin and keep it in good condition.


Serums are designed to treat the lower layers of the skin.

Use them sparingly and pat gently onto the skin before you apply your moisturiser. Choose one for your skin type.


Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells which helps brighten your complexion.

It also lets your skin better absorb serums and moisturisers.

Apply a small amount to damp skin but avoid the eye area. Remove it with a soft wet face cloth or wash it off in the shower.

Use twice a week after cleansing, or once a week if your skin is sensitive.

Face masks

Face masks can be used once or twice a week.

You can remove some hydrating masks with a tissue after only eight minutes. Then you tone and moisturise as normal.

Or you can use an overnight mask. Just put it on a few minutes before you go to bed.

  • Creamy masks help to hydrate and are good for dry or mature skin.
  • Clay masks draw out impurities and are better for oily skin.

Where to get advice

Make up counters can feel a bit daunting. But shop assistants are trained to give helpful advice. You can always take a friend or relative with you to the shops for support.

Some companies offer free facials or make overs. Others might charge for this service, but give you back the cost of it if you buy any of their products.

Ask the staff to write down the products for your skin type and the order they used them in.

Tell the make up staff that you are having cancer treatment or that your skin is particularly sensitive before they start.

Do not feel like you have to give in to sales pressure. Tell them that you want to see how your skin reacts to the products before you buy them.

Last reviewed: 
31 Mar 2014
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About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.