Cancer treatment can make it difficult to look and feel your best, especially if you’re a woman. One of the most difficult things for anyone is looking in the mirror. Cancer treatment can cause multiple changes in appearance, serving as a constant reminder of the disease and making you look sicker than you may feel. With practice, you can incorporate some easy tips and tricks into your daily routine to help you look and feel better while fighting cancer.
Hair care: Hair loss (alopecia) can be one of the most difficult side effects of cancer treatment, especially for women. While hair loss is not experienced by ALL cancer patients, some experience hair thinning or bald patches due to stress. Try these tips:
- Avoid shampoos that contain irritations, are medicated, are used dry or have these ingredients: eucalyptus, salicylic acid, camphor, menthol or henna.
- Avoid styling hair with blow-dryers, curling irons, flat irons, rollers, hair clips and elastic bands. Use a soft-bristled brush. Ask your doctor or nurse if you can have your hair colored, permed or straightened.
Makeup: Hair loss also can impact your eyebrows, eyelashes and complexion. Here are a few tips to help you look and feel like your old self:
- Apply moisturizer with SPF. A mild moisturizer can easily even out your complexion while providing necessary moisture and protection from the sun.
- Fill in thinning brows with eye shadow. Use an eye shadow that is a shade lighter than your normal brow color and stay within your natural brow line. Add a smudge of liquid concealer.
- If you lose your eyelashes, try a fine eyeliner brush and a dark gel liner to coat the inner rim of your upper lash line. If there’s a special event, consider using false eyelashes (be careful with the glue application).
Nail maintenance: Various chemotherapy drugs may cause nails and nail beds to change, including color, grooves, sensitivity, brittleness, etc. Fortunately, these are temporary changes. In the meantime, use the following tips:
- Keep nails trimmed and filed smooth. Do not file streaks, stains or brown spots.
- Avoid using false nails and getting manicures and pedicures. These might lead to infections. If there’s a special event, ask your doctor or nurse first.
- Wear gloves when working in the garden, cleaning or during prolonged exposure to water. This protects from fungal infections.
The best tip is to remind yourself every day how beautiful you are!
Caring for your overall appearance helps improve self-image, which can dramatically affect how you feel. These few, simple tips may help increase your confidence, feel more satisfied and improve your quality of life.