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Your Skin Changes When You Have Cancer

No matter what kind of cancer treatment you may be undergoing, skin issues are among the most common side effects patients experience. Different treatments result in different reactions, but whether you’re going through radiation, traditional chemotherapy, targeted chemotherapy treatments, immunotherapy, gene therapy, hormonal therapy, or stem cell transplants, you’re probably going to have some issues with your skin. Everyone’s different, but you may experience burning, itching, dryness, or blistering. It’s deeply not fair, and pretty much the essence of adding insult to injury. You’re already dealing with cancer—now your skin needs to act out, too?

But unlike so much else right now, you do have some control over this one part of life. By knowing how your skin may react—and what you can do about it—you can proactively get yourself into a routine so you can minimize any skin issues that can arise (or even stop some of them before they start).

Take Care of Yourself

Wondering what skincare ingredients to avoid? Not sure of what foods add high nutritional value when little tastes good? The articles in this section may help you as you (or a loved one) navigate changes while undergoing cancer treatment.

The Worst Skincare Ingredients For Cancer Patients

One of the many unfortunate side effects of most cancer treatments is that your skin often becomes a lot more sensitive than it was before—which means that aside from everything else you have on your plate at the moment, if you’re about to undergo cancer treatments, you need to rethink the skincare products you’ve been using for years.

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The Best Skincare Routine For Cancer Patients

As though undergoing cancer treatment wasn’t already difficult enough, the chances that you’ll encounter some skin irritation are extremely high. In fact, while skin issues vary from treatment to treatment (and even patient to patient), issues like rashes and blisters are among the most common side effects of cancer therapies.

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Nutrition Advice for Cancer Patients: 7 Top Tips

“There’s not one food or food group that is going to help you prevent or fight cancer,” explains Jennifer Smith, Breast Cancer Dietitian at Joy, Energy, Nutrition. “We need a variety of foods and a rainbow of colors working together to give us the maximum benefit for good health.”

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I’ve Been There

Columnist Emily Alford was skincare-obsessed long before she beat breast cancer. Now she answers your questions about all things cancer-related, from skincare concerns to how to handle friends who say all the wrong things. Feel free to reach out with questions about your own cancer journey.

The Loaded Question of “How are you?”

Everyone is trying to be kind to me right now, but friends and coworkers keep asking me “how are you” and I have no idea how to answer that because I feel like garbage. What should I say? —Callie L., Savannah, GA

Oof, I feel you. I got this question all the time when I was going through breast cancer treatments, and it consistently threw me for a loop. It’s really strange how so many “normal” things become weighted with meaning after a cancer diagnosis, isn’t it? Ordering takeout used to be such a simple act, but now it’s… complex. And answering a question that you used to answer unthinkingly—”busy!” “great!” “so good!”—stops being mundane and becomes, well, incredibly fraught in light of your new reality. Callie, you don’t say exactly what you’re concerned about in regards to the question, but from my own experience as a breast cancer survivor, I suspect there might be a couple of different issues at play here.

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The Loaded Question of “How are you?”

Everyone is trying to be kind to me right now, but friends and coworkers keep asking me “how are you” and I have no idea how to answer that because I feel like garbage. What should I say? —Callie L., Savannah, GA

Oof, I feel you. I got this question all the time when I was going through breast cancer treatments, and it consistently threw me for a loop. It’s really strange how so many “normal” things become weighted with meaning after a cancer diagnosis, isn’t it? Ordering takeout used to be such a simple act, but now it’s… complex. And answering a question that you used to answer unthinkingly—”busy!” “great!” “so good!”—stops being mundane and becomes, well, incredibly fraught in light of your new reality. Callie, you don’t say exactly what you’re concerned about in regards to the question, but from my own experience as a breast cancer survivor, I suspect there might be a couple of different issues at play here.

Read More »

Products We Love for Cancer Patients

Calming Creamy Cleanser

Happy 2nd Birthday

$38.00

MSRP:

This soothing creamy cleanser removes impurities and leaves your skin feeling healthy and pampered. Rich in powerful antioxidants and essential fatty acids, kukui and jojoba oils nourish your skin and replenish moisture.

  • It’s formulated to hydrate, cool, and soothe irritated, sensitive skin as a result of cancer treatments
  • We included pre and probiotics that help calm and soothe your dry, sensitive skin
  • It’s full of ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties
  • It provides a luxurious cleansing experience that will leave skin feeling calm and nourished

Oil-Free Daily Moisturizer

Happy 2nd Birthday

$39.00

MSRP:

This lightweight, pH-balanced moisturizer hydrates and nourishes your skin without leaving a shine. Powered by essential amino acids, prebiotics, and probiotics, this superstar also helps to provide protection against damage from environmental stressors such as pollution and blue light.

  • We formulated this product especially for cancer patients with no essential oils, phenoxyethanol, and other known potential skin irritants
  • We included pre and probiotics that help calm and soothe your dry, sensitive skin
  • It protects and repairs skin from pollution and blue light
  • It quickly absorbs without leaving a shine

Our Favorite Resources

We’re striving to offer our community great info, whether or not we came up with it ourselves. So we’ve put together an ever-growing collection of some of the best cancer-related educational content we’ve read. This mini-library can be a great place to start if you’re looking for answers and feeling a little overwhelmed right now.
  • MedlinePlus
  • National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  • American Cancer Society (ACS)
  • National Comprehensive Cancer Network
  • ClinicalTrials.gov
  • Cancer.net
  • Sarah Cannon
  • Triage Cancer
  • Inspire App
  • Bright Spot Network
  • One Village
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