Skin Care After Chemotherapy
What you need to know before you buy spa products for a chemo patient
If you have a friend or loved one who has undergone or is about to undergo chemotherapy, and you would like to get him or her a spa gift basket, we’d like to help. But first, it’s important for you to know a few facts about how chemotherapy affects the skin. Not all skin care products are appropriate for someone who has had chemo, and some may even aggravate some of its unpleasant side effects.
When many people think of chemotherapy, the first side effect to come to mind is typically hair loss. However, a person’s skin, as the largest organ in the human body, is just as affected by chemotherapy as a person’s hair. This does not mean that the skin will fall off with the hair, but it can become very dry, to the point of cracking and peeling. This is the result of chemo’s targeting and destroying any cells with a rapid rate of division, which includes not only cancer cells, but also skin and hair cells. This is also why a person’s hair falls out after receiving chemo.
Moisturizing is more important than ever for skin care after chemo
An effective yet gentle moisturizer is essential for combating this dryness without irritating or inflaming the already afflicted skin. Finding such a moisturizer can be a challenge, as almost all of the brands you will find in drug stores, department stores, and bath and body stores contain synthetic fragrances and chemicals. Spa products that contain fragrance oils and synthetic chemicals will often cause a chemo patient to become nauseous, and may also aggravate his or her already dehydrated skin.
Products scented with natural, essential oils should not pose a problem, but you should still consult your friend or loved one's doctor to confirm this. Check out these natural hand and body lotions made with organic shea butter and scented in proprietary aromatherapy essential oil blends.
Avoid products with fragrance oils
Many cancer patients may claim to have developed an allergy to perfumes and other cosmetic aromas as a result of chemotherapy, continuing to feel nauseous or develop headaches even after the treatment is over. The reason for this is not so much an allergy to aromas in general, but to the synthetic fragrance oils and chemicals used to create artificial aromas. Spa products made with essential oils, on the other hand, often have no adverse effects on chemo patients, and may even help speed recovery through aromatherapy.
If you're still unsure about which scent to choose, please feel free to call and ask one of our experts! You may also wish to check out our unscented collection.
Detoxify the deep layers of the skin
Another consideration to keep in mind when choosing spa products for chemo patients is that chemotherapy often leaves a person’s skin with an unpleasant, metallic odor. This is due to the presence of heavy metals such as Platinum in chemo medications. In the same way the scent of garlic clings to a person’s entire body after eating or cooking with it, these heavy metals can cling to the deep layers of the skin days and even weeks after a chemo treatment.
Heavy metals, while effective cancer fighters, are none too good for the human body themselves. To help purify the body of residual heavy metals, or at the very least mask their scent, it is recommended that a person take lukewarm baths and use bath salts scented in essential oils. Dead Sea Salts are particularly effective in helping to open skin pores and cleanse the deep layers of the skin.