The other day I received a call from a cancer survivor. As the conversation progressed, it was clear the woman I was talking to was incredibly brave, having suffered gravely. I was honoured that she rang me. She wanted to know: "how do I nourish my skin when I'm on so many various drugs, that all seem to deplete me?" I did my best to offer helpful advice.
The challenges the skin faces with chemo and other cancer medications are very diverse. Typically the skin is drier than normal, all over the body. It can feel extremely sensitive, become flaky, red and inflamed, and suffer many other irregularities. So, while it makes sense to minimise the exposure to further chemicals by using natural skincare, due to the skin's heightened sensitivities it's also important to select products carefully, patch testing as you go along.
Above all, caring for the skin gently and lovingly, during and after treatment, is important. If you feel up to it, do your best to follow a 'cleanse, tone and hydrate' ritual, morning and night. Be mindful when you apply the products to your skin - take the time to experience them and slow everything down. This will allow your skin to respond better.
I'd recommend using the following products, but there are no rules - as I always say, use what feels right for you at the time.
The Relaxing Creme Cleanser, with Geranium, Calendula and St John's Wort, is aptly named and ideal for calming the skin as a first step. It'll be lovely and creamy. Use a nice hot face cloth to remove it. The skin won't feel tight or dry - it should feel delicious!
Next, mist the Facial Toner on to the face like a gentle veil - spritzing from elbow length is good. With Aloe Vera and Rosa Gallica this toner is delightfully refreshing and soothing, so you may wish to use it on a regular basis, as a rehydrating mist, if you're feeling unwell.
If your skin is flaking, proceed with the Renewing Facial Exfoliator - it has gentle Jojoba beads and Papaya Extract to remove the flaking skin, and is also very balancing, with Manuka Oil, Geranium and Lavender so you shouldn't encounter any dryness from this. Don't use a scrubbing action - slow everything down so you are using slow small circular movements. Once again, use the hot face cloth method to remove. You can do this step 2-3 times a week.
Follow with the Facial Toner again, to balance the skin's pH before you moisturise.
For the treatment part of the ritual, I'd highly recommend our Facial Serum first up, as this will soak into your skin beautifully. Dispense 3 to 4 drops of the product into the palm of your hand and rub your palms together to walm the oil blend. Then press firmly onto your skin with both your palms. The apricot kernel is softening and the evening primrose, jojoba, rose absolute and rosehip oils will feed your depleted skin. The serum's divine all-natural fragrance has a wonderfully soothing and relaxing effect as well.
Follow the Facial Serum with the Recovery Day Cream in the morning and the Recovery Overnight Cream at night.
Include the Rehydration Rescue Masque in this ritual if your skin's in need of a further boost of hydration. You can use this at night, instead of your Recovery Overnight Cream if you prefer, as it's perfect as a leave-on treatment. Make sure you apply it to your neck and decolletage as well. This has Borage and Kawakawa which are also in the Recovery Day Cream,
For the body, use the Smoothing Body Lotion daily over your entire body while it's damp after bathing. It soaks in quickly and doesn't leave any oily after feel. With all the medication you are taking, you'll likely have weaker nails too. Regular use of the Nourishing Hand+Cuticle Cream will help harden them. Rub it into the base of your nails and massage in.
I received a lovely follow up message from my caller who confirmed she'd bought the products I recommended. I was thrilled to hear she was not only enjoying the results, she felt as if she was nourishing herself too.