Has it become sensitive and easily irritated? Does your complexion appear dull and pale, and does it seem less vibrant and healthy than normal? If you have been undergoing cancer treatment—and especially chemotherapy or radiation treatment, which may deplete your skin’s energy and slow down its normal rate of renewal—you may be noticing these changes in your skin.
The good news is that a skin care program employing gentle products formulated for dry or sensitive skin can help improve your skin’s condition. By using products specifically designed to handle your unique issues, along with some simple application techniques that stimulate microcirculation, you can revitalize your complexion—and you may even improve your sense of well-being.
Facial cleansing is the first step to a good skin care program because it removes daily environmental buildup and makeup and prepares the skin for treatment.
Remove your eye makeup by soaking a high-quality cotton pad with a non-oily eye makeup remover. Place the soaked cotton pad gently over the entire eye area and allow the formula to dissolve the makeup.
Sweep gently from the inside corner of your eye toward the outer corner and the temple. Press gently at the temples to help encourage lymphatic drainage. This will help tired, stressed eyes feel better and prepare them for eye treatment.
Use a creamy cleanser and gentle circular motions to cleanse your face. This will help stimulate microcirculation and improve the skin’s renewal process.
Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
Follow up with a gentle toning lotion to rebalance the skin’s pH and prepare it for facial skin care products.
Eye cream can help alleviate dryness and the appearance of fine lines as well as refresh and provide comfort to the eye area.
Place a small amount of product on your ring finger. Using a light touch, gently pat the eye cream along the orbital bone.
Start at the inner corner of the eye and move out toward the outer corner and the temple. Never sweep your eye cream in circles, and don’t push or stretch the skin.
By moving from the inner corner toward the outer corner, you will help alleviate dark circles and puffiness. Your eyes will feel refreshed and may appear brighter.
Every woman should learn about serums. These products contain highly concentrated ingredients that penetrate the skin a little more deeply than regular moisturizers do. When you layer a serum with a facial moisturizer, you will receive the added benefits of using both products. The result is softer, smoother skin.
Select a serum that is formulated for dry or sensitive skin. Begin with just a few drops warmed in the palms of your hands (by pressing your palms together).
With both hands, simply press the product lightly from the middle of the forehead and move gently out toward the temples.
Then press the serum lightly in the middle of your face and move gently out toward the ears.
Finally, press it lightly in the middle of your chin and move gently out along the jaw line. Repeat this application method two to three times, and it will help improve microcirculation.
A good moisturizer should provide hydration throughout the day (or night) and prevent your skin from becoming dehydrated. Ask for a sample to try at home, and show your doctor before you make a final purchase.
Use a moisturizer that calms and soothes dry, irritated, and sensitive skin. A product that is too rich in texture may clog pores, and one that is too light will not provide the necessary hydration for your skin’s condition.
Use the same application technique as for the serum. The gentle pressing movements on the face will help the moisturizer deliver its benefits to the skin more efficiently as well as give an overall sense of well-being.
As a last step of a good skin care routine, I recommend a sunscreen product on top of your moisturizer. Some moisturizers even include sunscreen.
Sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher is recommended for sensitive skin. Because radiation and chemotherapy treatment may cause skin to be sensitive to certain ingredients, it’s important that you ask your doctor to check the ingredients in the product you plan to use.
Queenie Lee is a beauty professional who has been working in the cosmetics industry for 15 years. She enjoys sharing her expertise in skin care and helping women look and feel good about themselves. She combines a positive attitude toward life with a commitment to women’s health and beauty issues. Queenie is the director of education at Clarins.
The Look Good…Feel Better program was founded and developed in 1989 by the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, a charitable organization established by the Personal Care Products Council, the leading national trade association representing the global cosmetic and personal care products industry. The program is a collaboration of the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the Professional Beauty Association/National Cosmetology Association, a national organization that includes salons, spas, distributors, manufacturers, and more than 25,000 beauty professionals. For information about Look Good…Feel Better, visit www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org