Cancer is a devastating disease that affects every part of your life; it interferes with your job, tests your relationships and takes a huge toll on your body. One of the hardest parts of this experience is getting used to the new and unrecognizable person you see in the mirror every day. Especially as you are going through harsher forms of treatment. The skin may feel super sensitive, parched, or look flaky, or covered in spots. Your luscious hair, arched brows and long eyelashes may have fallen off. On the good days, you might actually feel quite good, but sometimes, the way you look doesn’t keep up. While we are not doctors ourselves and every story is unique with their own set of concerns and needs, our founder Meryl Marshall knows first-hand the traumatic impact that these external changes can have on a woman's self-esteem. She experienced them herself after being diagnosed with breast cancer. A fighter and a beauty lover through and through, one of Meryl’s battles was coming up with a makeup and skincare routine that helped her look and moreover, feel beautiful as often as she could when she faced the mirror. To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Meryl shares with us how cancer has prompted her to give her beauty routine a green makeover, a challenge that would later inspire and motivate her to create Hynt Beauty, and the tricks she learned to pamper herself so she could look and, in turn feel, her best while fighting cancer.
1. Switch to organic and fragrance-free moisturizers Cancer treatment can slow down the skin's ability to renew itself and reduces the production of sebum, the skin's own natural moisturizer. As a result, your skin feels dry and parched and, in the worst cases, can flake and itch. Keeping your skin as hydrated as possible during this time is essential. Unfortunately, too many moisturizers on the market contain undesirable ingredients that can at worst, interfere with your treatments and worsen your skin’s condition.Meryl opted for organic formulas that feel nourishing and pampering to the skin and made sure they are fragrance-free, too. Your sense of smell becomes very acute during treatment and even the subtlest scent can make you feel nauseous. Meryl's go-to brand that fits all these requirements is Acure, especially their Ultra Hydrating Body Lotion, Bare Baby Lotion, Moroccan Argan Oil and Sensitive Facial Cream!
2. Deep condition your hands and feet Your face isn't the only part of your body that needs an extra dose of tender loving care during this difficult time. Up your moisturizing game by giving your hands and feet a bit of deep conditioning before you go to sleep. Slather on rich and moisturizing oil-based natural balms and then put on a pair of cotton gloves or socks. In the morning, your extremities will feel much softer and smoother.
3. Wear physical sunscreen every day Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is always a good idea, but it becomes of paramount importance during cancer treatment when your skin is extremely vulnerable and sensitive. Ideally, you should avoid the sun as much as possible but that's not always feasible. To give your skin the extra protection it needs, use a physical sunscreen with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. Unlike their chemical counterparts that are easily absorbed by the skin, these natural minerals remain on skin's surface where they create a protective shield that reflects UV rays away from it.
4. Neutralize the appearance of facial redness Steroids are often prescribed as part of cancer treatments to help reduce inflammation. Unfortunately, they have several side effects, including flushing, redness and rashes. If your skin is affected by steroid redness, the best course of action is to mask it with makeup.
A yellow-toned powder, such as our FINALE Finished Powder in Neutral Yellow can neutralize the appearance of redness, rendering it near invisible to the naked eye. It is also formulated with organic arrowroot, which deeply moisturizes and offers a soothing feel to irritated, tired skin. For best results, apply it with a brush with synthetic bristles. Animal hair brushes tend to be coarse and, therefore, feel more irritating. Also, skin discoloration is common during cancer treatment so apply and blend our moisturizing, luxuriously creamy and full coverage DUET Perfecting Concealer over the affected areas. Most times, these discolorations fade with time.
5. Smell good with natural deodorants Some cancer treatments can force a woman into early menopause, which can result in frequent perspiration during hot flushes. If this is happening to you, it may be very tempting to use heavy-duty antiperspirants containing aluminum. What you may not be aware of is that antiperspirants cause more problems than they solve. To start with, they act like a plug, sealing shut the entrance to your sweat ducts, thereby stopping the flow of sweat.In addition, aluminum can easily be absorbed by the skin and has been linked to breast cancer. A safer alternative is a natural deodorant that contains baking soda and/or kaolin clay. However, due to the skin's heightened sensitivity at this time, some patients report feelings of mild irritation even to these gentler ingredients. A better option that Meryl used and wholeheartedly recommends is natural corn starch powder like Honest Company's Organic Baby Powder.
6. A polished manicure Many cancer patients experience nail deterioration and even loss, so traditional manicures and nail polishes are strictly forbidden at this time. To help your nails stay in the best possible condition, keep your nail care routine simple and basic. Keep your hands clean, trim your nails and make them shine with a soft nail buffer. Finally, work in a bit of olive or jojoba oil to stave off brittle nails.
7. Go green with your lipstick A creamy lipstick or shiny gloss is always a great mood-lifter. But, once again, it is important to pay careful attention to the labels and what they contain. Opt for unscented and organic formulas that are free of harsh and potentially harmful chemicals. Lip products can be easily ingested so why risk even the slightest chance of causing more havoc on your health now or in the future, when there are purer, equally beautiful colors and great natural brands to choose from! Meryl and the rest of the Hynt Beauty team sincerely hope that these little bits of advice will somehow give you or your loved one, some relief from the side effects but moreover, give the confidence boost to fight against cancer – in style! If you have any additional tips, please do send us an email, comment on our social platforms or comment on this blog post! We are sure others will find it helpful as well.
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