Better skin throughout cancer

Caring for skin and feeling better during cancer treatments

Cleansing and moisturizing: basic steps

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No matter what cancer treatment you are undergoing, it has harsh effects on your skin. Your skin may feel uncomfortable, sometimes rough to the touch, tense, itchy, or even flaky, especially at the extremities. It is important to pay attention to these signals and provide your skin with optimal comfort and protection, i.e., generous amounts of creams, moisturizing balms, and skincare products that are suitable for fragile and sensitive skin.


Carine Larchet, dermo-cosmetic and corrective makeup expert at La Roche-Posay Dermatological Laboratory, corrective make-up workshop manager at La Roche-Posay Thermal Spa


How to cleanse and moisturize your face

Stephanie, currently under cancer treatment, follows Carine’s advice to cleanse, moisturize and protect her face

Morning ritual: daily routine for your face

  • 1Cleanse your skin
  • 2Prepare your skin
  • 3Apply a moisturizing cream
  • 4Apply a photo-protective cream

Evening ritual: daily routine for your face

  • 1Cleanse your face
  • 2Prepare your skin
  • 3Apply a moisturizing cream
  • 4Revitalize your eyes with a micro-massage

How to Cleanse your facial skin

As the skin on your face is exposed to UV light, pollution, and all sorts of outside aggressions, it sweats and gets dirty faster than the rest of your body. To preserve it, start by carefully cleansing it every morning and evening with a gentle, hypoallergenic cleanser which has been clinically tested by dermatologists.

Banish make-up remover wipes, which are too harsh on the skin, as well as soaps that will dry your skin out, alcohol-based toners, and some essential oils.

If you have sensitive skin you should use cleansing milk. Apply a small amount of milk to your forehead, nose, cheeks, chin, and neck. Gently massage it in with your fingertips in small circular motions. Then wipe it off with a cotton pad or a paper tissue (unscented), or gauze soaked in Thermal Source Water to avoid any contact with irritating hard water.


How to Cleanse your body

Instead of regular fragrance-free body wash, use syndet soap bars, ultra-moisturizing soap bars, or fragrance-free cleansing oils. Rinse well, preferably with tepid water, which is less aggressive, and then gently pat your body dry with a soft and fluffy towel.

Take quick showers instead of long hot baths that may be aggressive to your skin or cause itchiness.

Take quick showers instead of long hot baths that may be aggressive to your skin or cause itchiness.

Wash your clothes with hypo-allergenic and fragrance-free laundry detergent to avoid irritating your already fragile skin.

How to moisturize your face

Every day, moisturize or nourish each area of your face with specific products that meet its needs. Use a specific skincare product for fragile area around your eyes. Regularly nourish and protect your lips with a moisturizing balm.

Once a week, leave a moisturizing mask on your face for thirty minutes to relieve skin tightening and give your complexion a burst of radiance.

You can also keep your eye care product in the refrigerator for a fresh way to reduce puffiness.

How to moisturize your body

After your shower, gently pat your body dry with a soft towel or bathrobe instead of rubbing.

Moisturize your body every day with a re-lipidating balm such as Lipikar Baume Ap+. It is preferable to apply it from the bottom up.

Do not forget to moisturize your neck and your cleavage, if you are a woman.

How to Select your Cream or Balm

Choose a hypo-allergenic hydrating cream or balm designed for sensitive, atopic, or intolerant skin, and with a texture that feels pleasant to spread.

As for the composition of your cream or balm, its ingredients should have structures that mimic the natural fats of the stratum corneum (shea butter, ceramides, etc.). The shorter the list of ingredients, the better!

A word of caution: you should not use any hormone-based creams if you have breast cancer.

If you are Undergoing Radiation Therapy

  • Your skin must be clean and dry for your radiation therapy session, so it is preferable to refrain from applying any cream on the irradiated zone before the session.
  • However, you may use an adapted moisturizing cream on your skin after the session (and if you keep it in the refrigerator, you will enjoy the cool effect on your skin). Do not hesitate to ask your doctor to tell you which products and skincare products you may use on irradiated zones.
  • If your skin is flushed or red, do not hesitate to use a thermal spring water spray as soon as the session ends. Adapted to sensitive skin, it will soothe, relieve irritation, and soften your skin. Miniature versions are also available to help you through any unexpected hot flushes!
  • INFO +: Beware of scented products that may contain alcohol, which has a drying and irritating effect, and essential oils that should be avoided during treatments.

Carine’s tip

Has your skin seemed less resilient lately? This is to be expected. Do everything in your power to take good care of it. This starts with what you eat – add protein, calcium, and colorful fruits and vegetables to your plate to fill up on antioxidants. Do not forget to add 2 or 3 squares of dark chocolate – just for you to enjoy.