Cancer treatments: look good, feel better

When my mother was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, how she looked did matter to her. She wants to be able to project the self she feels like through her appearance, because there’s more to her than cancer. That’s true of everyone dealing with this horrible disease.

When my mother was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, how she looked did matter to her. She wants to be able to project the self she feels like through her appearance, because there’s more to her than cancer.

When my mother was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, how she looked did matter to her. She wants to be able to project the self she feels like through her appearance, because there’s more to her than cancer.

 

In theory, the last thing that you care about on receiving a cancer diagnosis is how you look. If you or someone you love has not experienced it, thinking about looks seems superficial. However, the fact that cancer treatments – chemotherapy in particular – change the way you look is just another way in which cancer robs you of self-control. It’s easy to forget how important having control over the image we project to the world can be, and how discomfiting it can be to lose that control.

When my mother was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer, how she looked did matter to her. She wants to be able to project the self she feels like through her appearance, because there’s more to her than cancer. That’s true of everyone dealing with this horrible disease.

Despite popular opinion, not everyone on chemotherapy loses his or her hair. They do encounter another issue though. Some chemo isn’t compatible with hair colouring, as the skin is too sensitised to cope with ammonia and peroxide. Cancer makes you feel bad enough, but my mother became glum about the grey roots that she couldn’t colour. I gave her Color Wow Root Cover Up (€38.50), a fantastic powder that temporarily covers grey or dark roots. It washes out, but completely disguises roots and made my mother feel good about her hair again. It also works wonders to bulk up thinning eyebrows, which can be another concern during treatment.

Cancer treatments make skin incredibly sensitised and dry. I’m not for a moment suggesting that an ill person should go and spend a lot of money on beauty products (they have far better things to be doing), but I do know that when someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, you just want to improve their quality of life in any way, no matter how small. Darphin Intral Redness Relief Soothing Serum (€65) is the best product on the market for super sensitive and rosacea-prone skin. This month, there’s a special edition of the product which donates €6 from every UK purchase to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (www.darphin.co.uk). I would recommend the product regardless, because it works, but buying online from the UK contributes to breast cancer research, which makes it an even more thoughtful gift.

To further protect and nourish uncomfortable skin, a good quality facial oil is best. Trilogy Age Proof CoQ10 Booster Oil (€29.95) is designed for skin over 50, or skin that needs extra love. It is packed with nourishing seed oils and gives skin a protective layer that will make it immediately more comfortable.

If you’re undergoing chemotherapy and would still like to wear some makeup, opt for a mineral foundation or tinted moisturizer, both of which are gentle on skin, and don’t forget to wear a high SPF on sensitised and exposed skin. My mother has taken to rubbing Crème de la Mer into her dry hands. When I caught her at it and nearly had a fit, she said “What!? I have cancer.”

Fair enough.

BEAUTY2WOW_WEBBEAUTY3TRILOGY_WEBBEAUTY1DARPHIN_PRINT1444062285_WEB

lkennedy@irishtimes.com

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.