Not having had breast cancer and not being an oncologist, it is humbling to write something for those with deep personal experience or expertise. What can be said that you don’t already know or that won’t contradict ‘standard of care’? I truly hope this piece will be helpful, informative and of value to you.
A cancer experience changes everything, including the skin. As your largest organ and body cover, skin is profoundly affected by both external and internal influences. It feels all that is going on, you feel all that is going on with your skin, your skin feels all that goes onto and into it.
In other words your diet, health, emotions, environment, and personal care impact your skin. Now add surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, any of which will cause skin change whether temporary or permanent, especially dryness, itchiness, pigmentation, burn, rash, scarring, sores, altered texture and so on.
How can the skin be protected and returned to normal?
Steroid creams, silicones, aqueous creams, antihistamines, antibiotics may be recommended. Do they work without causing adverse effects? It is not my place to comment but there are complementary topicals that offer supportive skincare before, during and after treatments.
Here are their key characteristics:
- naturally soothing
- radiation protective
- pH balancing
- DNA protective
- skin barrier friendly
That’s a long list! Fortunately nature has some treasures that can be combined to deliver all these attributes.
This is Bio-First’s special A to Z :
- Aloe Vera
- Argan Oil
- Bio-fermented Papaya
- Green Tea
- Manuka Honey & Oil
- Milk Thistle
- Prickly Pear
- Olive Squalane
- Vitamin E
Bio-First’s aim is to improve the feel and appearance of unhappy skin.
The bioactives listed above are safe and suitable for this purpose – they can be found in either Manuka Skin Saver Gel or Ultrasensitive Skin Rescue Lotion. Depending on individual needs some people choose one, others use both. These products have been clinically tested in Australia and Europe, confirming that they:
- Are hydrating and moisturising
- Reduce trans epidermal water loss
- Improve skin barrier function
- Are hypoallergenic
- Are highly biocompatible
- Are Non-irritant
- Are pH balanced
- Are Non-sensitising
- Are Microbiome-friendly
In relation to Manuka Honey and Milk Thistle there is specific evidence in the literature of benefits for breast cancer patients affected by radiodermatitis.
On the self-care level a few easy tips may be useful:
- If you have access to fresh aloe, cut and peel thick pieces for direct application to ‘burning’ skin, apply straight from fridge or freezer
- Use cold or lukewarm water on your unhappy skin, not hot
- Avoid chlorinated pools but get into the clean ocean if you can
- Drink plenty of filtered water every day, limit alcohol
- Apply skincare before, during and after treatment regimes
Remember, your skin has a cycle
Regarding that last point, remember your skin has a cycle. You will also have cycles of therapy. The skin cycle during which the epidermis regenerates is between 28 and 40 days depending on age and state of health. That’s how long it will take for the outer layer of skin to ‘process’ disruptions - you can actively help by using supportive skincare and eating high quality proteins daily.
I hope you’ve found this useful, sent with warm wishes from Australia.
All the best,
Dr Jude Lenart, PhD
*Please note this is not medical advice and you should always seek such advice from medical professionals. Dr Jude Lenart has a Ph.D. in Natural Medicine, she is not a medical practitioner.
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