Whether you’re a bar of soap kind of guy or someone who knows their way around an Ulta, cancer treatments can change the way you approach a daily routine, including skincare. You may notice changes in skin tone or even the way that it feels. For men, this may also include facial hair thinning. You’ll want to give your skin extra attention during chemotherapy and radiation.
Chemotherapy and radiation change the way cells regenerate. For cancer cells, this is great news because the treatments aim to stop those unhealthy cells from growing and increasing. Unfortunately, for healthy skin cells, which rapidly produce, chemotherapy and radiation can cause dry skin, flushing and hyperpigmentation because old skin cells that would normally slough off over time now stay around longer.
It’s no secret that cancer treatments can cause the hair on your scalp to thin and fall out, but this can also extend to the rest of your face–eyebrows, eyelashes, mustaches and beards. During treatment, you may notice that your facial hair will begin falling out and grow patchier afterwards. If you are used to shaving every day, the extra sensitivity of your skin may make this more challenging. Fortunately, technology has come a long way since the straight razor days. Finding the right products and routine can make a world of difference in improving your self-esteem.
For some people, any type of skincare routine may be new, so here are the basics: cleanse, moisturize and conceal. When choosing skin care during cancer treatment, keep it simple and moisturizing. Avoid fragrances, preservatives and essential oils. Opt instead for gentle products and thicker consistencies. The more hydrated your skin is, the quicker it is able to heal. Caring for your skin can help your confidence and also your comfort.
We’ve gathered some of our favorite skincare products to ease the side effects of cancer treatments for men and help you to put your best face forward, cancer warrior.
Perricone MD Hypoallergenic Gentle Cleanser is just as it says: gentle and hypoallergenic, making it great for sensitive skin. It won’t strip your skin of natural oils and it will still leave you feeling clean and refreshed. Apply gently with your hands, splashing warm (not hot) water on your face to rinse, avoiding rubbing or scrubbing. – $38
SOFT FACE TOWEL
When washing your face during chemotherapy or radiation, it is best to use just your hands to gently splash water on your face. Do not use a sponge or washcloth during cleansing as the rougher textures could irritate your sensitive skin. After washing, you’ll need to dry, so do it in the most gentle way possible. Super soft skin cloths from Pai Skincare are made for sensitive skin. Simply pat and dab dry. Do not rub. – $20
When it comes to choosing a moisturizer, consider cream over lotion as these will provide a heavier protection for your skin barrier to keep hydration locked in longer. The Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream from Aesop is filled with nut and plant extracts to soften skin and calming chamomile to soothe it. – $50
Keeping beard hair soft helps to both easily remove it when shaving and encourages it to grow back. Beard butters and oils help to manage rougher beard hairs by keeping them soft and manageable. Apply the Temperance Unscented Beard Oil from The Art of Shaving directly to your beard. Use a light amount to keep from appearing too oily. – $30
If uneven skin tone caused by redness or hyperpigmentation is hitting your confidence, a moisturizer with a little color like First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 30 can do wonders. Apply this nourishing and gentle formula at the start of your day to cover up some of the discoloration. Plus, the added SPF is always a good thing. – $28
Chemotherapy can cause photosensitivity, which means that skin sunburns or develops a rash more easily. A good daily face sunscreen is mandatory while undergoing cancer treatment. Neutrogena is a classic favorite for sensitive skin. And the Neutrogena® Sensitive Skin Face Liquid Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is water resistant for up to 80 minutes, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, oil-free, PABA-free and free of other irritating chemical ingredients. Plus, it won’t clog your pores. – $12.99
Your lips deserve love (and SPF) too. Stay away from any flavors or additional essential oils as they can irritate the skin. And avoid products with petroleum jelly, as they can be endocrine disruptors. Keep it simple and hydrating with a calming lip balm, a multipurpose one from Doctor Rogers. – $30
Sometimes skincare isn’t just about what you put on your face, but where you lay it. Traditional pillowcases can be scratchy or made from material that sucks out moisture. A silk pillowcase eliminates friction to skin (and hair) while you sleep. Plus, they feel really nice. Brooklinen pillowcases come in five colors, including a calming dove grey. – $59