The month of October is known for chilly weather and autumn colors, but it is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month we’re sharing how clean skin care can bring support and comfort to cancer patients.
Cancer treatment is one of the harshest things a body can go through. Rounds of radiation and drug therapy is not only rough on the body, but the battle is also mentally and even socially exhausting. And because of the changes a person’s body goes through during treatment, they may even lose a sense of identity in their own body.
During cancer treatment, a person’s body is in a delicate place. Its natural defenses are worn down, both the internal immune system and the external protective barrier, the skin. This is why using clean, non-toxic products is key, so no unnecessary chemicals are introduced to the body.
It’s important to note that any recommendation made here is not meant to supersede those of physicians. However, cancer treatment and support organizations do recommend using beauty and skin care products that align with clean practices, including gentle products that are alcohol free.
When we recommend being gentle, we don’t just mean using gentle products. We also recommend being gentle with the person undergoing treatment, be that yourself or someone close to you. Cancer treatment is a long, difficult process, which requires patience on the part of everyone involved.
There are a lot of toxic products out there. Fortunately, Think Dirty provides a list of verified, non-toxic beauty brands. It’s still important to always check the label for individual allergens even with these brands. From personal experience, we know our own Cleansing Milk is a perfect gentle cleanser for all skin types.
Take Care of Your Nails
While hair loss and damage is a commonly known side effect of chemotherapy treatment, a lesser known one is the effect it has on nails. The skin around the nails can become extremely dry and cracked, while the nails themselves can even become ingrown.
Focus on moisturizing these areas with unscented lotions that are specifically formulated with natural ingredients to repair and protect damaged dry skin. Amino acids like arginine (repairing) and lysine (protecting) are ingredients to look for.
All natural nail oils are another good option. This will help nails damaged by chemotherapy grow stronger and healthier. There are plenty of natural options on the market, but it’s also possible to make your own by using either Argan or Tea Tree certified organic essential oil.
While there are many causes of cancer that are complex and even unknown, switching to clean skin care can be a preventative measure. Conventional skin care contains huge amounts of chemicals linked to cancer—parabens, synthetic fragrances, formaldehyde releasing chemicals, BHA, and phthalates that are often found in plastic. There are many skin care and beauty products formulated with all natural and organic ingredients.
For a more comprehensive list of chemicals to watch out for (by product type!), check out this red list from the organization Safe Cosmetics.
Remember that early detection is crucial for any cancer treatment. Always self-check and don't forget your annual screening appointments.