• After initial diagnosis, it is time to prepare and protect the skin from the effects of chemotherapy and radiation.
  • During treatment, regular Skincare sessions will work to maintain optimal levels of the skin by keeping skin moisturized, minimizing the effects of inflammation and sensitivity and by further protecting the skin’s natural barrier function.
  • Post treatment is the time to restore, replenish and renew the skin as cell regeneration is occurring once again.
Oncology Skincare and Ingredients
By: Samantha Kool, Licensed Oncology Esthetician
As a Cancer patient you may deal with many different skin conditions due to the disease itself, treatments you receive and medications you take. The skin is extremely compromised during this time. Looking at skin care labels can be a daunting task with everything else you are dealing with but the ingredient list can be your best friend or your worst enemy. You want to be extremely careful when undergoing treatment to make sure you are not adding ingredients that may further cause irritation or harm. Anthocyanins, Polyphenols and Flavonoids are important ingredients that are increasingly used in today’s skincare. There are many studies that show their positive benefits for skins challenged with Cancer and other health issues.
These three types of extractions are considered the mega extract from fruits and plants of certain colors. They are the heart of the key molecules that contain the specialized antioxidants from a particular fruit or plant. The deeper the color of the plant, the stronger the antioxidant power.
Interesting fact: These key molecules are antioxidants that plants use to protect themselves from UV radiation, fungal infections, environmental stress and even climates with extreme temperatures and conditions. If they can protect the plant, imagine what they can do for those of us who may be dealing with compromised and sensitive skin issues related to various treatments. These issue may include but not be limited to the following; dry, itchy, rash, photosensitivity, immune compromised, pustules, papules and hyper pigmentation.
Here are some of the most impressive ingredients in Skincare today …
Red Algae
Algae is green in the early stages of its growth and becomes a purplish red as it matures. Its polyphenol and flavonoid extracts are considered highly effective against DNA damaging UV sun exposure. Red Algae has several other benefits for compromised skin including antioxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, antibiotic and free radical fighting properties.
Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil is actually a liquid wax derived from a jojoba seed. Cancer treatments create a need for skin to be hydrated and moisturized. The molecular structure of jojoba oil is the closest to our own skin’s sebum, which allows it to be easily absorbed and to restore the skins natural oil balance without clogging pores. Jojoba oil will reduce inflammation and itchiness. Jojoba oil has other benefits that can help fragile skin including antibacterial, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-aging, anti-viral and free radical fighting properties.
Black Rice
Depending on the extraction point of the plant, black rice contains anthocyanins, polyphenols and flavonoids. Recent studies have reported that an anthocyanin-rich extract from black rice inhibits breast cancer cell growth when taken internally. Based on its internal abilities black rice is starting to appear in topical products for its antioxidant properties and to help reduce inflammation. Other benefits of black rice include, anti-viral, antibacterial, antioxidant, antiaging, UV protection, moisturizing, anti-microbial and free-radical fighting properties.
Green Tea
Green tea has high levels of polyphenols. Studies have shown that it may help certain types of Cancer. Green teas have several other benefits that can help someone with sensitized skin due to treatment. These benefits include anti-viral, antioxidant, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-carcinogenic, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and free radical fighting properties as well as UV protection.
Studies on the benefits of broccoli both internal and external have shown it can strengthen health challenged skin. There is also evidence of positive UV protection from Broccoli when it is added to a topical formulation. It has several other benefits that can help someone with challenged skin, including antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti- allergic, anti- viral, anti- aging, hydrating and free radical fighting properties as well as UV protection.
All of these ingredients offer the benefits listed above and include anti-aging properties that we all look for in Skincare. As you move through the phases of your Cancer journey and enter into the recovery phase, your skin will have new challenges. It will not be exactly as it once was, but it will have what we call a “new normal” skin type. The body, including the skin may function differently after treatment and understanding how to treat it will be an important part of your healing.
Oncology Esthetics is the practice of preparing, protecting and treating the skin from diagnosis through recovery. A licensed Esthetician certified in Oncology Esthetics will be able to provide emotional support, compassionate healing skincare services and a solid understanding of Skin Care products and their ingredients. To learn more about the products I use in my Oncology Skincare practice, go to www.haleandhush.com. All products are available for purchase at Cancer Rehab and Integrative Medicine or feel free to contact me at 512-608-7760 for a free consultation on products and/or treatments.