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 short video (less than 3 minutes) tells you how to look after your skin when you have cancer.
Skin care: Tips for people with cancer - Transcript
Hello, I’m Annie. I run workshops about skin cancer for cancer patients. As many treatments can leave your skin looking tired and dull. And in this video I’m going to give you a basic skin care routine that may go a long way to making you look and feel brighter.
And I’m going to start with cleanser to the face. I am applying a creamy cleanser to because in the main the cream cleansers are better for mature, dry and sensitive skin. The wash off varieties are usually very good for those with normal, combination or oily skins. This only has to be tissued off. You need to cleanse morning and evening but if you have been wearing make up you need to cleanse twice because the first cleanse is all about removing the make up and the second cleanse is about cleansing the skin.
Step two is all about toning. So, I am going to apply some toner. Just a little bit on to some damp cotton wool. And just sweep it gently across my face. Now your toner should be really mild and non astringent. Toners remove any residue of your cleanser and they leave the skin feeling really fresh and cool.
The final step is all about hydration. And I am going to use a moisturiser and I am going to massage that into my skin. Massaging it in, into those areas where I have got fine lines and wrinkles.
Now your moisturisers can be lotions, creams, they can have an SPF factor they might be oil or oil free and you can even buy tinted ones so buy one that most suits your needs and your skin type.
Now, all of those steps that I have shown you should accommodate your face, your neck and your upper chest but if you have had any recent surgery or radiotherapy to any of those areas do check out with your nurse first.
So, for a quick recap: Cleanse, tone and moisturise it’s as simple as that. I am sure if you practise that on a daily basis it will go a long way to making you feel and look brighter. So good luck.
It helps to have a skin care routine for the morning and evening. Always cleanse and tone before you moisturise. Some cleansers can cleanse and tone at the same time.
Remember that your skin may become drier during treatment. So choose gentle products or those for sensitive skin. You can ask shop assistants to help you or 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. Try to choose products:
- within your price range
- that feel good on your skin
- that you like the smell of or are unperfumed
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
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 and dry 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.
Choose a gentle product and use it once a week, after cleansing. Avoid exfoliating if your skin is sensitive or if you have small blood vessels visible near the surface of the skin.
Face masks can be used up to three times per week depending on the type you choose.
There is a wide variety of face masks and it’s best to pick the one best for your type of skin.
You should be putting face masks onto clean skin and with clean hands. The amount of time you wear the mask varies, follow the instructions for the face mask you pick. When the time is up clean the mask off with water. You should moisturise your skin afterwards so it doesn’t dry out.
There are also overnight masks. 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 help
Make up counters
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.
There are lots of other organisations that can help you cope with changes to how you look.