10 easy beauty tips for cancer patients

October 28, 2015 | by Veronique De Turenne

Celebrity hairstylist Jose Eber and actress and cancer awareness activist Jaclyn Smith are no strangers to the transformative power of a great beauty routine. At a recent City of Hope Day of Beauty event, they shared what they know, helping their team of stylists beautify and pamper more than 80 cancer-fighting patients.

Smith, a breast cancer survivor, and Eber, an advocate in the fight against women's cancers, donated their time and enthusiasm to the many women who attended the light-hearted event. Smith, in partnership with Paula Young Wigs, donated 100 wigs. Eber, famous for his ability to match a woman with the best cut and color for her face, brought his staff to specifically fit, cut and style the wigs for each attendee.

Also a focus of the event were the unexpected ways a woman undergoing the rigors of cancer treatment can help herself feel better. A bit of makeup, a luxurious moisturizer or even a gentle hand massage are just a few little things that can have big rewards. More tips gleaned from the Day of Beauty are below.

  1. At about six to eight weeks post-op, it’s time to be fitted for a mastectomy bra. It’s absolutely OK to care about your silhouette – make sure you like the fit and how it feels. Good bras will have a special pocket sized for a prosthetic, which slips right in.
  2. When it comes to dealing with hair loss, the most important thing is what makes you feel best. A wig or a scarf? A cute hat? Perhaps nothing at all? Trust your instincts. However you feel the most comfortable is the way to go. If trying a wig, try experimenting with the color and cut.
  3. Having a normal routine, even when you feel awful, makes a big difference. Not quite ready for makeup? Just a glimmer of lip gloss can lift your spirits.
  4. When you’re ready for makeup, seek out a cancer specialist. You’ll not only get specialized tips on areas like eyebrows and eyelashes, you’ll also learn the important steps to take to avoid infection.
  5. Using a nail strengthener can help with the effects of chemotherapy, which can leave nails fragile or brittle. (But don’t get the product near your cuticles.) And be sure not to cut your cuticles right now, as that puts you at risk of infection.
  6. You’ve got a medical reprieve from doing dishes – the hot and soapy water isn’t good for your skin. But if you must spend time at the kitchen sink, wear rubber gloves. And why settle for boring when going high-fashion is so much fun?
  7. Moisturize. A lot. Make your next moisturizer purchase a splurge, something wonderful that will make you feel pampered each time you use it.
  8. Fight the blahs with style. A chic blouse, a new necklace or some great new shoes can give you an instant boost.
  9. Get rich – rich colors, that is. Chemo can cause sallow skin and jewel tones will make a big difference. Not ready to add to your wardrobe? Go with a pretty scarf around your neck – very Audrey Hepburn.
  10. Try something new, just like the participants did at City of Hope’s Day of Beauty event. Whatever the service, whether it’s makeup, hair or nail care, or even a massage, be sure to let the provider know what your skin, body and immune system can (and cannot) handle.

Learn about the image-enhancing services offered to patients at City of Hope’s Positive Image Center.


Learn more about our unique patient experience, how to make an appointment or get a second opinion at City of Hope. You may also request a new patient appointment online or call 800-826-HOPE (4673) for more information.


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