Our next interviewee, Morag was saddened to hear reports of women being turned away from their beauticians due to a lack of education on how to tailor treatments post-chemotherapy. It quickly became Morag’s lifelong mission to ensure no client faced rejection from a therapist due to a lack of confidence in how to treat them- and she created the world’s first Oncology Esthetics® certification for spa professionals. Through certification, therapists can confidently meet the specific skin and hair needs of clients who have been through chemotherapy. And clients can easily identify those who have had the training to know they’re in safe hands.
We hope that this education around chemo-related sensitivities becomes commonplace during training of all beauticians or more therapist opt to take a well-informed approach for all clients. If you have a close relationship and an open dialogue with your therapist you could always suggest this course. In the meant time here are some factors to keep in mind when choosing a salon or caring for your skin at home after chemo.
What are the potential differences in treatments post-chemo?
Skin treatments after chemo may need to be shortened as the skin may be extremely sensitive and any invasive treatment would not do the skin justice. The focus needs to be on re-building the skin, rejuvenating and restoring, but all at the pace that the skin can handle.
What can you do at home to care for skin and hair?
This is really important if the client has the energy to do it. Taking care of the skin and hair is imperative to a good outcome, but to keep the regime simple, cleanse it with a lotion cleanser and keep it moisturised with a product that can be soothing and hydrating. If they are on any drugs that cause photosensitivity, use a good SPF. Hair can fall out completely or partially – any new hair growth is fine and can easily be damaged so gentle handling and products with SPF if the skin on the scalp is exposed to the sun.
This is assuming there are no skin rashes on the face or scalp as that may require the use of some medicated creams such as cortisone cream.
Products need to be non-fragranced, gentle and effective in restoring the skin barrier since chemotherapy is affecting the skin and hair, like dermaviduals.
What are some tips that women can pass onto their current beauty therapist?
Every client needs to communicate any concerns to their therapist when having a treatment. Areas of pain, numbness, lymphedema risk, wounds, medical devices. Clients must know that hand-foot syndrome, low white blood cell and platelet count and bone metastasis are contraindicated.
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