Our skin cells renew regularly. However, when you are having cancer treatment such as chemo, radiation and targeted treatment, the replication of skin cells slows down. Dry skin eventually builds up and cracks appear. These are entry points of allergens and infection making your skin more sensitive. You can have itchiness and rash which affect quality of life. Cancer patients need to be discerning when it comes to the skincare products that they use.

Moisturizing skin care products such as shampoo, body wash, lotions, and creams help soothe dry skin. Choose shampoos and washes that do not have too much surfactant that can over dry. Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is one of the surfactants that can irritate and dry the skin. Consider diluting your shampoo or body wash before use, or better yet use a SLS free shampoo and body wash.

After bathing, pat dry and apply a moisturizing lotion. If there are very dry areas such as radiation treated skin or xerotic (dry) patches on the legs apply thick creams twice a day to relieve the itchiness. Moisturizers replenish the lipids and helps hydrate your skin making it a better barrier against infection and allergens.

Choose skincare products that are safe for cancer patients

You might also want to consider paraben free moisturizers and skin products if you are a breast cancer patient. Parabens are chemicals that act as preservatives for cosmetics. They are xenoestrogens which act as endocrine disruptors. Growth of breast cancer cells in the laboratory can be stimulated by exposure to these methyl parabens in some studies. Though no sufficient epidemiologic data has been published on humans and effects of parabens, it may be helpful to note that environmental factors in addition to genetics may contribute to increased risk of breast cancer.

Know more about how to care for your skin in “Staying Beautiful and Hopeful: A Cancer Patient’s Skin Guide”.

Konduracka E, Krzemieniecki K, Gajos G. Relationship between everyday use cosmetics and female breast cancer. Pol Arch Med Wewn. 2014;124(5):264-9. doi: 10.20452/pamw.2257. Epub 2014 Apr 2. PMID: 24694726.

Lillo MA, Nichols C, Perry C, Runke S, Krutilina R, Seagroves TN, Miranda-Carboni GA, Krum SA. Methylparaben stimulates tumor initiating cells in ER+ breast cancer models. J Appl Toxicol. 2017 Apr;37(4):417-425. doi: 10.1002/jat.3374. Epub 2016 Sep 1. PMID: 27581495; PMCID: PMC5338571.

Skin Care for Hope is a local skincare brand that offers mild, safe, and moisturizing skincare products that are dermatologically approved and specially formulated for sensitive skin of cancer patients, bringing quality of life through hope and healing.

It is committed to providing safe and gentle skin care products that are paraben-free with moisturizing and calming ingredients; Educating and promoting good skin care and supportive care for those with sensitive skin; Bringing together a compassionate and collaborative skincare community that puts God’s light and hope at the center of it all.

For more information on skincare tips, advice, as well as gentle and moisturizing skincare products for your self-care journey, follow @SkinCareforHope on Facebook.