Beauty Secrets from the Chemo Club
Chemo patients have to really focus on their skin; chemo stops cells from dividing, so skin cells aren't regenerating as they normally are, causing dry and fragile skin. Plus, because our immune systems are suppressed, even a paper cut can get infected and land us in the hospital. So when we're getting chemo, occasionally the talk turns to beauty tips, and it's amazing what you hear from the real skin pros.
Here are the best of the skin secrets (shush - don't tell):
- Best lotion? Skip the department stores and mall stores devoted to lotions, and head straight to your pharmacy - it's Aveeno. The nurses are united on this one; use after a shower or bath and say goodbye to dry skin.
- What about your face? Don't skip the night cream no matter how tired you are, and make sure your morning moisturizer has SPF. Feeding skin is equally important: eat some avocado, salmon or other healthy fat every day, and drink lots of water. You can really damage skin by not eating right when you're losing weight from chemo or a diet, as that's when skin needs to be its most elastic. Best products? the Olay products with Regenerist rate among the most effective and least expensive so they're a best buy; there are also La Mer advocates.
- Best all-purpose item to keep in your purse: again a drugstore standby, Aquaphor. Good for even radiation-damaged dry skin and promotes healing: use on dry skin, minor scrapes, cuticles, chapped lips, blisters, even the grandkiddo's diaper rash. Clinically proven better than Neosporin.
- Use the right SPF level: 15 is a joke, 30 is the minimum, and put on 50+ if you'll be in the sun. Nothing causes more skin issues than sun (except smoking).
- Best prevention tip: always treat your hands as though you just had nail polish applied. Most small scrapes and cuts result from using your hands carelessly.
And for eyebrow tricks, talk to your BBFF (best blond female friend) about her eyebrow tips as yours begin to disappear. Most figured out the best tips years ago as their eyebrows can lighten to non-existence during the summer. Mine advises brow powder for light fill-ins; use an angled brush with brown powder to lightly darken the natural brow line. They also make great stencils if you want to play with another brow shape.
And there you have it - secrets from the chemo lounge!
I was back for a check-up yesterday and found that my cell counts finally dipped well into the danger zone after the last mini-chemo, despite injections designed to bump them up. I'm not house-bound yet but my freedom days will end soon, so I'm making final trips out. On the list: dinner with friends, an afternoon buying an armful of books at Barnes & Noble, and a good movie in memory of Roger Ebert. Anything else I should add to the list?