With one more chemo to go (tomorrow – YAY!), I thought I’d share some of the products that I’ve been using throughout my treatment. To be honest, my chemo skincare hasn’t been that far off from my usual routine, which is a definitely a good thing because it has been an expensive enough business having breast cancer, as it is. I try to stick to products that aren’t too harsh and as someone with dry/normal skin, I spend a lot of time trying to hydrate it.
No one really went into too much detail about how my skin would react to chemotherapy at the hospital, which I’m guessing is because every case is totally different. I was just told to protect myself from the sun, which is never too much of a problem in the UK, and definitely not a problem when you spend a great deal of your time recovering in bed after each treatment. I was also told to drink a lot of water, so have upped my game in that department, as I massively failed to do so before.
After my first two sessions of EC chemotherapy, things were bad. My skin totally dried out and on a few occasions my face flared up with a really nasty rash. The doctor prescribed me with hydrocortisone cream, but there was no way I was using that for more than a few days. Combined with antihistamines, it did the trick, but as a skin-thinning product, I decided it wasn’t one that I wanted to use regularly. I was already seeing a lot more fine lines appearing on my face, as well as some weird markings around my lower cheek area, so thinning things out was certainly not an option… eek, no thank you!
As time has progressed and each session has passed, I’ve found that my skin has been plumper (the water?) and I’ve lost the redness that I used to have before chemo. After the first two chemo treatments, things calmed down and my skin is actually a whole lot softer than ever before. Personally, I put this down to a combination of the products that I’m using and the amount of water I’m drinking. I have been straying a lot from my wheat-free diet, due to the effects chemo has been having on my taste, and my skin doesn’t seem to be reacting quite as badly as it used to. Always a bright side to everything, I suppose!
From left to right:
My shower gel of choice is by Caudalie and is bit of an investment, coming in at around £9. I picked mine up in Paris, where it was a fair bit cheaper, but I’d say it’s worth the money, as it’s free from all nasties and has lasted well. It also smells amazing! I’ve been lucky enough to have absolutely no problems with dry skin on my body during chemo and think that the combination of this and Garnier’s Body Lotion Repair has really helped to keep my skin in good condition. Unfortunately the body lotion didn’t make into the pics because someone (Alex) has knocked it behind my drawers and I can’t reach it! #PICCLineproblems
I use the Superfacialist Rose Intense Moisture Mask a few times a week and absolutely love it. It really hydrates my skin and I’d definitely recommend it to those looking for softer skin. The rose scent isn’t my favourite, but overall this has got to be one of my most preferred hydrating masks so far.
My day starts and finishes with a hot cloth cleanse – The Superdrug Vitamin E Cleanser is great value for money and really makes my skin feel nice and soft. I’ve tried a lot of more expensive versions and this has exactly the same results. Why spend more?!
These three products are ones that I’ve used on and off throughout my treatment…
The BIODERMA Photoderm MAX Cream SPF 50+ is one of a few sun creams that I bought for my face. It has proved to the best, as it didn’t go all bitty like the others and dried into my face quickly ready for make up application. It doesn’t clog up my pores or feel heavy on the skin as some sun creams can do.
Another one from Super Facialist – This is my second tube of the Vitamin C+ Glow Boost Skin Serum. My skin just soaks it up before I add my moisturiser. It brightens, softens and smells divine. I usually wait for Boots to reduce it, or offer some sort of offer on the Una Brennan Super Facialist products… I mean, who doesn’t love a deal!
I actually bought the La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Soothing Repairing Balm for my naughty boob, ahead of my scheduled radiotherapy sessions, but started to use a little on my face when my skin was really suffering. I found it really helped with the intense dryness, after a few days. It is a really heavy cream, so I like to rotate it with other moisturisers, but it does work wonders, which I’m sure my boob will be glad to know ;)
Bioderma Sensibio H2O – Micelle Solution
Every scrap of make-up must come off! I bought this tiny bottle for travelling, but have been through quite a few large ones now, too. I generally pick them up when I’m in Paris, to save money. It’s definitely one of the best at taking off the day’s dirt, but I always cleanse afterwards as well.
This is a new purchase that I’ve been using for just over a week now. I’m suffering with sore fingernails and am almost certain I’ll lose them, thanks to the Docetaxel chemo treatment I’m on. Since being diagnosed, I’ve been pretty persistent with my moisturising routine, as I was told that if you stimulate the nail area it helps prevent nail loss. Although this product is more expensive than many of the creams out there, I’ve noticed a difference in just a week. My hands have transformed and are really smooth… my nails however, may not be so lucky!
Cold-Pressed Almond Oil:
I love this product. Aside from being really cheap (£1.69), it can be used for a range of things. When I had hair, I’d run it through the ends a few times a week before bed. Now I’ve lost my hair, I rub it all over my head when my skin feels rough. It really helps! I also use a few drops on my face, a few times a week when I’m not using any other oils. It doesn’t clog the pours if you use just a little, but be careful not to over do it. I‘ve also been known to treat the dog with a little Almond fur-pampering session ;)
Vichy Noraderm Night Cream:
This is a night cream aimed at people with a lot of spots/acne. That’s not me (at the moment), but I purchased this at the start of my chemotherapy treatment and have been using it since. Perhaps another reason why my skin hasn’t been looking too bad lately. It’s got great reviews elsewhere online so if you are suffering with spots, then maybe give it a go. Used alongside an oil, it didn’t dry out my skin as some acne treatments can.
Dr Nick Lowe – Supercharged Day Cream:
I generally rotate day creams, because my drawer is so full of products and I usually lose them for a few days here and there… A girl needs a back up, until it resurfaces again! This cream is again, pretty lightweight and contains SPF. Oddly though, it seems to have disappeared from online shopping stores as have all Dr Lowe products. I’m assuming he is no longer trading, but currently can’t find any news that confirms this.
Olay Regenerist Eye Cream:
I’m never too convinced by eye creams, but am really struggling with ‘dry eye’ at the moment – a side effect of the chemo, which isn’t helped by the fact that I have currently have barely any eyelashes. My eyes are streaming constantly and my under eye area is starting to look a little worse for wear. Eye cream to go under my make-up is a must at the moment, so I’m testing this one out for now. It’s pretty hard to say if it’s doing it’s job, but I’m sticking with it.
OnicoLife Drops for chemo nails:
I’ve been using these drops since day one of chemo and my nails are suffering pretty badly now on my Docetaxel treatment. It feels as though I may lose a few, but I’ll keep you posted, as they are still there and it could just be that this product saves the day. The drops are said to help prevent, brittle or tender nails, nail ridges, split nails and yellowed or blackened nails. Mine haven’t really discoloured and seem to be as strong as they were before, so it must be doing something. I do however, have funny markings on most of my fingernails and that has got worse over my last few treatments. I have opted to cover them with nail varnish when I go out at this stage so as not to gross anyone out. I’d rather let my nails breathe when I’m at home though, so will continue to use the drops as much as possible.
Cien Hand Gel:
A cheap and cheerful Lidl must, for those having chemo or not. Best to keep the germs at bay – especially if you continue to work in clubs with over a thousand party people!
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair
Alex’s mum kindly gave me this as she didn’t get on with it. I’ve been loving using it in the mornings, rather than at night, as I find it helps provides a great base under my make-up. It leaves my skin lovely and smooth ready for the day. It does need a little time to sink in though, which is probably why it’s a night serum and not a day one. I’ve generally got the time though!
Keep It Kind Missy Roll-On Deodorant
Last, but not least. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I immediately wanted to move from the deodorant that I was using, as it contained aluminium. I wanted a more natural product, however after trying a few, none of them really did the trick. This Missy Deodorant, however, has been great. No whiffy pits – It does the job and is reasonably priced as well.
So, there you have it – This is only a little of my collection, but some of the products that have helped me through… We don’t really talk much about my beauty addiction out loud in this house. We just hide it all away and hope for the best!
Until next time x