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Skin care advice

We know that this a time when you want to do the best thing for your health and that you do not want to interfere with your treatment.

If you have any concerns you should discuss them with your health care team. The following is not medical advice.

We know that this a time when you want to do the best thing for your health and that you do not want to interfere with your treatment.

If you have any concerns you should discuss them with your health care team. The following is not medical advice.

Good practices for your skin

Having reviewed the advice given to cancer patients, by doctors and advisory bodies, we suggest the following:

  • Use only natural products1 formulated especially for use during cancer treatment2

  • Be gentle with your skin3

  • Use less soap4

  • Moisturise your skin regularlyavoiding products that contain alcohol as these can be drying6

  • Use lip balm daily7 from the start of chemotherapy8

  • Protect your skin from the sun9

  • Look after your hands and feet, moisturising them often10 from the start of chemotherapy11

  • Look after your fingernails and toenails12 use a natural oil based product to moisturise13

Questions we are most often asked

What causes skin issues during cancer treatment?

Dry, sore, sensitive skinchapped lips and itchy skin are common side effects of cancer treatment14.  Many cancer drugs such as capeciabine, caelyx, sunitinib and sorafeneib are associated with skin conditions 15,16.  A full list of drugs and their side effects can be found hereNails can become damaged when being treated with paclitaxel and docetaxel17

Will Defiant Beauty help with the damage caused by radiation treatment?

Yes. Defiant Beauty can help to soothe and moisturise your skin. We recommend our Itchy Skin Oil. You need to be very careful about when you apply the Itchy Skin Oil. You should NEVER apply the oil before treatment, only afterwards and during breaks in treatment. We suggest that you apply the oil before a bath or shower so that excess oil can be washed away20.

Itchy Skin Oil contains Calendula, a soothing herbal macerate that has been shown to improve moderate-to-severe dermatitis (sore, dry and itchy skin)20.

The Society of Radiographers23 recommends that thick creams and creams with a high content of paraffin or petroleum jelly are not used on radiation-damaged skin.

 The Defiant Beauty Collection does not contain creams as creams and lotions contain oil and water. In order to turn oil and water into a cream or lotion, preservatives and emulsifying agents must be added. Creams and lotions cannot be made without using a large number of ingredients, increasing the number of substances that the patient is exposed to. As cancer patients often have sore, sensitive, dry, itchy and damaged skin we have decided to keep the number of ingredients in our products to a minimum – this means no creams or lotions.

Defiant Beauty does not contain any paraffin or petroleum jelly. You will find only natural vegetable oils in the Defiant Beauty Range.

Why wasn’t I told to expect this?

Many patients are told of side effects such as hair loss and nausea but few hospitals mention skinlip and nail related side effects18. We hope that anyone reading our skin care advice will pass it on to anyone undergoing treatment as research also shows that skin care products designed specifically for cancer patients can make life easier during treatment 18,19.

Will anything make it better?

Research has shown that skin care products specifically formulated for cancer patients are ‘better’ than other products18. Cancer patients report that the effective management of skin related side effects improves their quality of life during treatment 19.

During cancer treatment, helping with skinnail and lip related issues aren't much on the scale of things but it is a small thing that makes a real difference.

Which ingredients are particularly effective?

Products containing Calendula have been shown to be more effective at reducing the severity of dry skin than a standard product20. Olive oil is also reported to offer protection8

What should I do?

Cancer patients are advised to use natural products22 and to take extra care of their skin.

What is a natural product?

We run workshops to try to explain this and to help people understand about ingredients so this isn’t something that we can explain in full here.  We consider natural to be from a plant and to have had minimal processing.

In the ‘natural’ skin care industry there are lots of attempts to make products appear to be natural. We find the Environmental Working Group’s website helpful. 

May I come to a workshop?

We would be delighted for you to come to one of our workshops. Please contact us for more information. Our workshops are free of charge; a donation to our chosen charity would be appreciated.

If you would like to arrange a workshop in your area, please contact us.

References

  1. Thomas, R., 2011. Lifestyle and Cancer The Facts: Learn how to live stronger for longer. 2nd ed. s.l.: Health Education Publications, p. 210.
  2. Cameron, A., Calahan, H. and C., Gandhi, M., West, D.P., Rademaker, A. and Lacouture, M.E., 2011. Skin care management in cancer patients: an evaluation of quality of life and tolerability, Supportive Care in Cancer, [online] Available at: <http://link.springer.com/journal/520/19/4/page/1> [Accessed 24 August 2012].
  3. Cancer Care, Inc, 2008. Caring for Your Skin During Cancer Treatment. [online] Available at: <http://www.cancercare.org/publications/76-caring_for_your_skin_during_cancer_treatment> [Accessed 24 August 2012].
  4. UAB Skin Cancer Clinic, ca.2012. Skin Care for Cancer Patients. [online] Available at: <http://www.nccn.com/component/content/article/76-member-institution-spotlight/180-uab-skin-care-for-cancer-patients.html> [Accessed 24 August 2012].
  5. Cancer Care, Inc, 2008. Caring for Your Skin During Cancer Treatment. [online] Available at: <http://www.cancercare.org/publications/76-caring_for_your_skin_during_cancer_treatment> [Accessed 24 August 2012].
  6. UAB Skin Cancer Clinic, ca.2012. Skin Care for Cancer Patients. [online] Available at: <http://www.nccn.com/component/content/article/76-member-institution-spotlight/180-uab-skin-care-for-cancer-patients.html> [Accessed 24 August 2012].
  7. Thomas, R., 2011. Lifestyle and Cancer The Facts: Learn how to live stronger for longer. 2nd ed. s.l.: Health Education Publications, p. 213.
  8. Thomas, R., 2011. Lifestyle and Cancer The Facts: Learn how to live stronger for longer. 2nd ed. s.l.: Health Education Publications, p. 213.
  9. Cancer Care, Inc, 2008. Caring for Your Skin During Cancer Treatment. [online] Available at: <http://www.cancercare.org/publications/76-caring_for_your_skin_during_cancer_treatment> [Accessed 24 August 2012].
  10. Cancer Care, Inc, 2008. Caring for Your Skin During Cancer Treatment. [online] Available at: <http://www.cancercare.org/publications/76-caring_for_your_skin_during_cancer_treatment> [Accessed 24 August 2012].
  11. Thomas, R., 2011. Lifestyle and Cancer The Facts: Learn how to live stronger for longer. 2nd ed. s.l.: Health Education Publications, p. 216.
  12. Cancer Care, Inc, 2008. Caring for Your Skin During Cancer Treatment. [online] Available at: <http://www.cancercare.org/publications/76-caring_for_your_skin_during_cancer_treatment> [Accessed 24 August 2012].
  13. Thomas, R., 2011. Lifestyle and Cancer The Facts: Learn how to live stronger for longer. 2nd ed. s.l.: Health Education Publications, p. 218.
  14. Cancer Care, Inc, 2008. Caring for Your Skin During Cancer Treatment. [online] Available at: <http://www.cancercare.org/publications/76-caring_for_your_skin_during_cancer_treatment> [Accessed 24 August 2012]
  15. Scott Hamilton CARES Initiative, ca. 2012. [online] Available at: <www.chemocare.com> [Accessed 24 August 2012].
  16.  Thomas, R., 2011. Lifestyle and Cancer The Facts: Learn how to live stronger for longer. 2nd ed. s.l.: Health Education Publications, p. 210.
  17.  Thomas, R., 2011. Lifestyle and Cancer The Facts: Learn how to live stronger for longer. 2nd ed. s.l.: Health Education Publications, p. 214.
  18.  Gandi, M., Oiishi, K., Subal, B., Lacouture, M.E., 2010. Unanticipated toxicities from anticancer therapies: Survivors’ perspectives. Supportive Care in Cancer Volume 18, Issue 11. [online] Available at: <http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00520-009-0769-1> [Accessed 24 August 2012].
  19. Cameron, A., Calahan, H. and C., Gandhi, M., West, D.P., Rademaker, A. and Lacouture, M.E., 2011. Skin care management in cancer patients: an evaluation of quality of life and tolerability, Supportive Care in Cancer, Volume 19, Issue 4 [online] Available at: <http://link.springer.com/journal/520/19/4/page/1> [Accessed 24 August 2012].
  20. Thomas, R., 2011. Lifestyle and Cancer The Facts: Learn how to live stronger for longer. 2nd ed. s.l.: Health Education Publications, p. 210.Thomas, R., 2011. Lifestyle and Cancer The Facts: Learn how to live stronger for longer. 2nd ed. s.l.: Health Education Publications, p. 208.
  21. Thomas, R., 2011. Lifestyle and Cancer The Facts: Learn how to live stronger for longer. 2nd ed. s.l.: Health Education Publications, p. 208.
  22. Thomas, R., 2011. Lifestyle and Cancer The Facts: Learn how to live stronger for longer. 2nd ed. s.l.: Health Education Publications, p. 209.
  23. Summary of Intevention for Acute Radiotherapy-Induced Skin Reactions in cancer Patients: A Clinical Guideline recommended for use by The Society and College of Radiographers [online] Available at http://www.sor.org/learning/document-library/summary-interventions-acute-radiotherapy-induced-skin-reactions-cancer-patients-clinical-guideline-5 [accessed 8 March 2013].

 

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