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Makeup, Skin Care Tips for Looking Good During Chemotherapy

FILE: Chemotherapy, Cancer Treatment, Breast Cancer
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(BPT) – Last year, 232,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States and many were told they would need chemotherapy. With October designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is important that women diagnosed with the disease and their caregivers feel empowered to take charge of their cancer journey.

For the many women undergoing chemotherapy, getting better is the top priority, but the side effects of treatment, such as hair loss and skin changes, also weigh heavily on their minds.

Emmy-winning makeup artist and breast cancer survivor Jan Ping is joining a campaign called Chemotherapy: Myths or Facts(TM) to share her own experience and help others who are undergoing chemotherapy. The program aims to debunk common misconceptions associated with chemotherapy and encourage patients and caregivers to speak openly with their doctors.

“Cancer is not something anybody plans for, and as a single, working mom – being told I’d need chemotherapy – I had lots of questions,” says Ping. “I realized it’s important that you feel educated about your cancer treatment to help you make any necessary adjustments to your daily life and to do all you can to stay healthy. As a professional makeup artist, one myth I often hear from people undergoing chemotherapy is that they shouldn’t wear makeup. However, I think it’s so important for women to feel as much like themselves as possible during this difficult time. By working closely with my doctor, I learned several simple steps during treatment that helped me maintain my beauty regimen, so speak with your doctor to see if wearing makeup is an option for you.”

Ping is providing some of her favorite tips about makeup and skin care to help women maintain their beauty regimen as they undergo treatment.

  • Think Clean: Take a look around your makeup drawer and consider buying new, fresh versions of your makeup.
  • Use Disposable Applicators: For patients undergoing chemotherapy, Ping always recommends using disposable applicators when applying makeup.
  • Keep Cuticles Moisturized and Do Not Cut Them: When it comes to maintaining nails, soak them in warm water for a bit, apply oil, and push back the cuticle. You can use a mild cuticle oil or even natural olive oil or grape seed oil on cuticles. Do not cut them and take every precaution during treatment to not break the skin.
  • Use Mild Soaps and Moisturizers: Fragrance-free and natural products may be less irritating.
  • Replace Mascara Every 2-3 Months: Take a marker and date the mascara so you know when it’s time to discard and get a new one.

As chemotherapy affects everyone differently, it’s important for patients to speak with their doctor to fully understand their treatment and how it might impact them. To learn more about Ping’s story and for more information on the campaign, visit Patients can go here to find out about some of the common myths associated with chemotherapy and also download the “Questions to Ask Your Doctor” resource to guide their next visit. Chemotherapy: Myths or Facts is sponsored by Amgen.


Information in this article came from the following sources:

1. National Cancer Institute. SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Breast. Accessed August 26, 2013.

2. National Cancer Institute. Chemotherapy and You. Accessed September 20, 2013.

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