A diagnosis of cancer is devastating news – hardly the time to worry about your skincare routine. But challenging treatments and harsh medications leave the skin extremely compromised. Cancer patients often have skin that is:
- Irritated (rashes)
- Immune compromised
- Pustules and papules (pimples)
Selecting Safe Ingredients and Products
Care in selecting skincare products is important for those with cancer since many of the chemical ingredients and compounds found in most skincare products could further damage and harm compromised skin.
Here are some ingredients that you can benefit from if you have skin that is compromised due to a diagnosis of cancer and the subsequent treatment:
Red Algae: Algae is found in the oceans, near rocky shorelines. Algae is green in the early stages of growth, and becomes red or purple as it matures. Its extracts are highly effective against DNA damage caused by UV sun exposure. Red algae has several other benefits that can help compromised skin, including antioxidants, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, antibiotic and free radical fighting properties.
Jojoba Oil: This is actually a liquid wax extracted from the jojoba seed. The molecular structure of jojoba oil is very close to our own skin’s sebum (oils) – this makes it an idea ingredient for skin compromised by cancer treatments. It is easily absorbed and restores the skin’s natural oil balance without clogging pores. Jojoba oil also contains qualities that help reduce inflammation and itchiness. It’s ideal of fragile skin and, like red algae, has antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-aging, antiviral and free radical fighting properties. Read more about jojoba oil here.
Black Rice: Depending on the extraction method used, black rice contains properties that have been reported to inhibit breast cancer cell growth when eaten. Based on these findings, black rice is starting to appear in topical products for its antioxidant properties and to help reduce inflammation. Eating black rice also provides people with cancer antioxidant, anti-aging, UV protection, antibacterial and free radical fighting benefits.
Green Tea: Green tea contains high levels of polyphenols. Studies show that these may help certain types of cancer. The most potent polyphenol is EGCG which is particularly helpful to someone with fragile, sensitive skin. EGCG delivers antiviral, antioxidant, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-carcinogenic, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and free-radical fighting benefits to the skin.
Broccoli: This florid green veggie is packed with skin strengthening and protective ingredients. The qualities found in Broccoli deliver antioxidant, anti-microbial, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antiviral, anti-aging, hydrating and free radical fighting properties. There is also evidence that broccoli provides UV protection when it’s added to a topical formula. Yes, you should not only eat your broccoli, the beneficial extracts can be added to topical treatments and used directly on the skin.
You may find that as your diagnosis changes and you move out of treatment into recovery, your skin will change too – it might be different after treatment and recovery, leaving you with an altered skin type (dry, sensitive etc.) than you had prior to your diagnosis.
Resources: LNEONLINE: September 2012; Kris Campbell