Benefits of Oncology Skin Care during Cancer Treatment
72% of people on active cancer treatment experience dermatological side effects which can affect their tolerance to treatment. This is where oncology skin care can help, not only to support skin health but also promoting emotional wellbeing.
We caught up with oncology skincare specialist Fiona Murphy from The London Clinic for a Q&A to find out how to best support your skincare if going through chemotherapy.
After her own cancer diagnosis at 25, Fiona realised the lack of specialised and safe skincare therapies for people like her who were going through treatment.
It became her mission is to empower people during cancer treatment not only with better skin health but also to help reclaim themselves.
She completed her postgraduate in oncology therapies, created ‘Sparkle Through Chemo’ and the went on to work at The London Clinic becoming the first oncology skincare specialist in a UK hospital setting.
Here Fiona explains the benefits of oncology skincare, alongside her own personal tips and advice from experience in the clinic.
What is Oncology Skincare?
Oncology skincare is about understanding the effects that cancer treatments have on the skin and providing the right techniques and ingredients to remedy the impact.
Oncology skincare involves restorative therapies that help to build up the health of the skin and nails by using only safe, non-invasive skincare ingredients and protocols.
What side-effects might I experience to my skin from cancer treatments?
Skincare and nail issues can come as an unexpected surprise to patients, negatively impacting their body confidence and self-esteem.
The most common issues include skin rashes, redness, dryness, pigmentation and changes to nail colour.
Why is skin-health so important during cancer treatment?
As the body’s biggest organ, looking after our skin is vital. Its role is to protect us from various pathogens and maintain the body’s equilibrium by forming a protective layer, so is especially important when our immunity is compromised.
The goal during therapy is to analyse and determine what needs to be addressed to bring a patient’s skin and nails back to a state of balance and comfort.
As a patient’s skin and nails show signs of returning to a balanced state, the oncology skincare specialists can advise on future self-care treatments.
How can oncology skin care benefit my emotional wellbeing?
When going through cancer, keeping a sense of normality is one of the most important coping mechanisms we have. It’s easy to get lost, especially when it comes to our appearance.
Oncology skincare offers a safe space to address your skincare concerns and how they can affect both your physical and emotional well-being.
What other benefits could I experience from oncology skin care?
Regular oncology skin and nail therapies help to reduce side effects experienced from cancer treatments. They help us to tolerate cancer treatments better and for longer.
Why do you recommend using our magnesium flakes?
Westlab’s magnesium flakes are an essential part in the skin health therapies I offer, and play a huge part in home care regimens.
Magnesium flakes support an array of side effects from cancer treatments both physically and emotionally.
They help to improve skin health by reducing inflammation and dryness of the skin which helps to keep the skin’s protective barrier strong and healthy.
Magnesium flakes also help with joint pain and fatigue when used regularly.
Are magnesium flakes safe to use when on active cancer treatment?
Magnesium flakes are safe to use in a warm bath 1-2 times a week. I advise using 1-2 cups in the bath and make sure the water isn’t too hot. Gently pat your skin dry after the bath rather than rubbing.
As with anything new to your skin during treatment, I would always recommend you do a patch test 24-48hrs before you use them.
Take a teaspoon of the magnesium salts and mix it with 10ml warm water. Once dissolved, apply a small amount to your inner wrist or back of your hand. If you experience any discomfort or reaction remove with warm water. If the reaction continues seek medical advice.
Does it have to be warm water? Why not hot?
Your skin on active treatment becomes thinner due to the reduction of collagen and sebum. Hot water can be more drying for the skin making it more fragile. You may also experience some neuropathy which can reduce your sensitivity levels in your skin. You will still receive the wonderful benefits from the magnesium salts.
I have a picc line and struggle to have a bath - is there another way I can use the magnesium flakes?
You can use the magnesium salts in a foot bath, use 1-2 cupful’s of magnesium salts In medium temperature water, then soak your feet for 10-15 mins. To maximise benefits I recommend making this time part of your self-care routine. Maybe do some breathing exercises lor meditation to really boost your immune system and reduce tension or anxiety.
My toenails have lifted from my chemotherapy would magnesium flakes help?
In my foot and hand therapies I use magnesium salts with 2 drops of oregano oils which is a fantastic natural antibiotic and has anti-viral properties.
After you have done your patch test with both the magnesium salts and oregano oil. I recommend using 1-2 cups of the magnesium salts and 2 drops of oregano oil in a 3-litre footbath for 10-15 mins three times a week to support nail health and reduce fungal and nail infections.
Please inform your medical team of you are experiencing skin or nail fungal or infection issues.
Westlab pure magnesium flakes are suitable for all skin types and safe for everyone, even babies.
Made of pure magnesium chloride, these gentle salts are readily absorbed by the body while also providing essential skin health benefits.
Magnesium chloride has been used for decades in medical treatments to safely and gently cleanse the skin, reduce inflammation and help repair the skin’s natural barrier.