Integrative Oncology Esthetics: Protecting your skin from the effects of cancer

Integrative Oncology Esthetics: Protecting your skin from the effects of cancer

Miriam Friedman is a Licensed Medical Esthetician.  Her passion for Oncology Esthetics came from experiencing cancer as a caregiver and an in depth knowledge of cancer treatments and their effects on the body as a whole. As a medical professional she remains positive and supports a strong and healthy recovery.

Out of the field of Integrative Medicine, emerges another integrative field that is 100% focused on the healing, management and prevention of skin related side effects of cancer therapies.  Cancer treatments (i.e. chemotherapy, radiation and surgery) present numerous skin conditions because of toxicity to the body with many manifestations on the skin.  Radiation therapy damages skin cells from the external beams that are in the path of the radiation to the targeted eradicated cancer cells resulting in topical soreness and irritation.

Skin reactions can afflict individuals ranging in intensity from mild to severe, and at different intervals during and post treatment. Healing times will also vary from person to person and therefore all oncology esthetic treatments are individualized to meet the specific needs of the client.

The most common side effects of cancer treatments are as follows:

  • Dry Skin (disrupted sebum/oil production)
  • Dehydrated Skin (Trans epidermal water loss)
  • Itchy Skin (toxins in medication)
  • Hyper-pigmentation (discolorations of the skin)
  • Photosensitivity (sun burn easily)
  • Radiation Recall Rash (rash caused by chemotherapy drugs with or after radiation)

Things You Can Do to Manage Dry Skin Reactions

  • Wash / bathe your skin in tepid water. Take showers or short cool baths instead of steam showers and long hot baths. Bubble baths should be avoided.
  • Use ultra-calming mild body washes and cleansing gels on all exposed skin and scalp. Soap, particularly perfumed and deodorant bars are harsh and irritating. Any products containing fragrance including perfumes and various body sprays should not be avoided.
  • Dry yourself by patting your skin with a soft towel, rather than rubbing vigorously. Moisturize your skin while still damp for better penetration of ultra-calming cream.
  • Avoid anything you think you might be allergic to. (I.e. Allergy causing agents, detergents, plants, pets, harsh chemicals in household cleaning products, latex gloves, jewelry, grass and pollen, artificial fingernails and adhesive, cosmetics and alike).

There is help

  • Skincare and spa-like therapies help relieve the negative side effects of anti-cancer treatments in an environment that is safe for both the patient and Esthetician.
  • Therapeutic facials address the face, neck and décolleté areas to soothe any side effects and help rebuild the skins barrier. Revitalizing and restoring skin to its optimal health which will allow a person to become more relaxed and thus promote healing.
  • Proper product selection is critical and therefore all skincare products focus on creating a positive effect on skin to hydrate, soothe and aid in the healing process.  Formulations are simple yet effective and designed specifically for sensitive skin.
  • Taking time out for oneself is a good way to keep focused on personal interests and self-worth, there is life outside of cancer.

Looking forward to a healthy recovery.

Please note: any skin care treatments, advice or guidance should always be discussed first with a medical professional.