Why is it important to choose safe cosmetics during cancer treatments? As a consumer, the average woman uses 16 personal care products before she leaves her bathroom. The average man uses 6. That is a lot of exposure to the thousands of ingredients used in cosmetic products today. Are we as savvy at reading cosmetic ingredient labels as we are our food labels? As a huge supporter of Oncology Esthetics and being a Certified Oncology Esthetician myself, skin care ingredients are important to me.
Today more people choose organic when they can. Why? Because we want to know what we are putting in/on our bodies. We don’t have to wait until our bodies are in crisis mode to seek clean products. However, in the cosmetic industry, organic products are not currently well regulated. So what should you look for in skin care as a consumer?
Start with the COSMOS-standard Certified Organic seal. This seal is internationally recognized as a new measurement in how we will define Certified Organic in our personal care products going forward. You can trust the cosmetic companies who have earned the COSMOS seal, because of the strict requirements to obtain it, as well as recertify each year.
While there is a long list of ingredients one should avoid if you are a healthy individual, the stakes are higher if you are health challenged. A person undergoing cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiation, often have many skin issue including dry skin, lesions, cracked skin, and rashes. Many cancer survivors complain of residual skin concerns due to the many medications prescribed.
Whether health-compromised or in good health, you want to look for a skin care system that will handle four key elements. These ideal skin care products should focus on inflammation, address bacteria, deliver anti-oxidants, and provide moisture to protect the skin’s lipid barrier. You want to avoid petroleum-based products and reach more for water-in-oil emulsions for the best barrier protection, which helps prevent water loss.
Here are a few Certified Organic ingredients to look for in your skin care products, especially moisturizers, body creams, and oils:
- Safflower Seed Oil – rich in natural Vit E which prevents TEWL (trans-epidermal water loss)
- Sunflower Seed Oil – a natural source of Vit A which prevents skin infections and helps retain moisture in the skin.
- Linseed Oil - which expedites healing and assists with tissue repair.
- St. John’s Wort Extract - has anti-inflammatory properties. Has shown positive results in soothing atopic dermatitis. Astringent and antiseptic.
- Rose Flower Water – Calms, cools, protects skin from bacterial and fungal infections. Very hydrating.
- Arnica – antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti inflammatory properties.
- Shea Butter - mimics our own skin oil. Very hydrating. Rich in natural Vit A and E. Offering anti-oxidant protection and barrier protection.
- Edelweiss – anti-inflammatory, antibacterial. Contains Chlorogenic, which is able to neutralize free radicals.
- Olive Oil – Nutrient rich anti-oxidants in Vit A and E. Contains squalene (natural moisturizer).
- Sea-Buckthorn – rich in unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidant properties. Harmonizes the lipid layers in the skin.
Remember, your skin is the largest organ, weighing in at approximately 8 lbs and covering about 22 sq ft. Allow it to do its job, but give your skin the gentle nutrients and moisture it needs before/during/and after all oncological treatments. Keep it simple. Find a Certified Oncology Esthetician in your area, or one you can consult with over the phone.
To your skin health!
By Maxine Drake