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Oncological skin care

Oncological skin care is a specialised form of skincare designed for individuals who are undergoing cancer therapy or have completed it.

Cancer medications and treatments can have various side effects on the skin, making it sensitive, dry, and prone to irritation. Here are some key points to consider when providing oncological skin care:

  1. Sensitive and Irritated Skin: Patients undergoing cancer therapy often experience dry, flaky, and inflamed skin. Some may even develop onco-acne, which is acne-like skin changes resulting from hormone therapy.

  2. Cause of Skin Changes: These skin changes are primarily caused by cancer medications, which affect not only tumor cells but also other cells in the body, including those in the skin. This can lead to dryness, cracks, and increased susceptibility to bacterial infections and inflammation.

  3. Special Precautions: When providing skincare for cancer patients, you must take special precautions:

    • Avoid using compresses that are too hot.

    • Maintain strict hygiene, including wearing disposable gloves and a face mask.

    • Be cautious with heated cosmetic beds, warm neck pillows, or heating pads, as the skin is very sensitive to temperature changes.

    • Chemotherapy can affect wound healing, so be gentle when caring for hands and feet and avoid aggressive treatments.

    • Avoid wax hair removal due to the skin's increased propensity to bleed.

Consultation and Skin Analysis: Before each treatment, conduct a thorough skin analysis and have a detailed discussion with the customer. Inquire about their medications and the timing and location of their last radiation treatment. Avoid treating surgical wounds, unhealed wounds, skin tumors, and metastases.

Restricted Ingredients: Some ingredients should be avoided during cancer therapy, including mineral oil, parabens, PEGs, colors, fragrances, essential oils, hormones or hormone-like substances, fruit acids, retinol preparations, acne products, and alcohol.

Moisturizing and Soothing: Focus on moisturizing and soothing the skin. Use ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, urea, glycerin, panthenol (for radiation-damaged skin), and vitamin E (tocopherol) to protect the skin, promote healing, and reduce inflammation. Mild, soap-free cleaning products are recommended.

Enzyme Peeling: A gentle enzyme peel can help remove dead skin cells and enhance the absorption of active ingredients. However, this should only be performed by a trained beautician, and avoid using cosmetic devices that could further irritate the skin.

Massages and Lymphedema: If a customer requests a massage, use gentle strokes, especially if lymph nodes have been removed or are affected by cancer. Avoid stimulating massages that could lead to lymphedema.

Support and Listening: Many cancer patients appreciate the emotional support provided during their visits to the beautician. Sometimes, they simply need someone to listen to them without expecting solutions or answers.

Permanent Makeup (PMU) and Hand/Foot Care: Discuss the timing of permanent makeup procedures, as the skin's reaction to pigment may change during therapy. For hand and foot care, maintain hygiene, avoid nail polish on damaged nails, and be cautious with sharp instruments.

Consult with Healthcare Providers: When in doubt about a product or treatment's suitability, consult the patient's treating physician, especially regarding potential interactions with medications.

Treatment Process: A typical oncological skincare treatment process includes a detailed consultation, gentle cleansing, skin analysis, enzyme peeling, application of moisturizing products, soothing masks, and final care tailored to the patient's skin condition, including sun protection.

Providing oncological skin care requires sensitivity, knowledge, and a commitment to ensuring the comfort and well-being of cancer patients during their treatments.


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