Chemotherapy certainly takes its toll on the body, both inside and out. It’s an invasion that doesn’t leave a single cell untouched – that’s the whole purpose really, isn’t it; to bleach out the bad cells. Unfortunately it doesn’t leave the good cells unscathed; chemo drugs target all rapidly dividing cells and as a result, they leave their calling card with hair, skin and nails too.
Today I want to talk about skin and nails. Hair is another ball game for another day.
Throughout my chemo I’ve received some fantastic skincare gifts from some truly lovely people and I wanted to share the ones that worked best for me. Here are my top five chemo skincare saviours:
My Trusty Little Sunflower cream
Perfectly named, this cream is the business. Available in body butter, a non-perfumed moisturiser (my preference) and a lavender scent, as well as other products, it was originally designed by Salisbury District Hospital for burns victims and people having plastic surgery so you can imagine it’s pretty strong stuff.
Initially I was skeptical (my skin wasn’t instantly soft and smooth after one application) but after three or four uses I couldn’t believe the difference it made. It’s a natural cream that really moisturises and it absorbs quickly (even the body butter) so you don’t have to wait ages for it to dry before getting dressed – a big tick for me.
I’d recommend using it all over your body, focusing on particularly dry areas and your scar (I use it on my scalp too, when it’s flakey or itchy) every other day so your skin can still make it’s own natural oils.
My trusty tops the list because it’s natural, it works wonders after just a few uses and all profits go straight back into Salisbury Hospital patient care – everyone wins.
It’s not particularly cheap but it’s worth it and the online shop often has deals. A number of shops across the UK stock the cream and I’ve also seen it in my hospital pharmacy so keep an eye out for it when you’re picking up meds.
Olive oil soap
You need this in your life, ladies and gents. A friend of mine brought me a bar back from Italy and it’s working wonders. It completely got rid of the dry, itchy scalp I’d been having after just one use. I use it two or three times a week on my head and every day on my body – it really locks in the moisture. This, combined with a lathering of My Trusty is a marriage made in moisture-matrimony!
Olive Oil soap is a real hit for me. I had no expectations but was amazed how quickly it did the trick on my scalp. It’s reasonably priced, it’s natural and it works quickly. That’s my kind of skincare!
You can buy bars made in the Mediterranean easily from Holland and Barrett, the Vitamin grocer and other online sellers.
Neal’s Yard Organic Shea Nut and Rosehip lip balm
I’ve never been one for lipbalms but my gorgeous friend, Lauren, said this balm holds the answers to the questions chemo would ask of my lips and she wasn’t wrong.
I’m still guilty of neglecting my lips but when I do remember to use it, it really makes a difference. I’ve found my lips have been soft and healthy looking, despite the winter cold and irregular application.
If your lips are calling for some TLC, head to Neal’s Yard shops or buy online.
Ahh bottoms. First it’s boobs, then it’s bottoms…
Thanks goodness for Drapoline – it’s not just for babies you know.
Drapoline is readily available in supermarkets and pharmacies so you won’t have trouble getting your hands on a pot. It’s not exactly natural but when it does the job, I’m willing to make that compromise.
Defiant Beauty Nail Oil
I’ve been lucky with my nails – they haven’t turned black and they haven’t fallen out * touches wood *. I’ll be honest, I haven’t done anything to prevent this – my nails have been au natural 90% of the time and I’ve not done much with them, except occasionally use this lovely nail oil from Beauty Despite Cancer. I’m not suggested that the oil prevented any colour change or nail loss but it seems to have kept them relatively strong.
My oil came in a beautiful gift set from my work colleagues but you can buy the oil separately too.
These products were my skin saviours and I’d love it if they work for you too. I have naturally dry skin and different skin types will respond differently but if any of these work for you, let me know!
What potions and lotions helped your skin survive chemo? I’d love to hear your recommendations