10 beauty ingredients to avoid after cancer treatment

Hello Gorgeous,

A cancer diagnoses can be one of the most traumatic events in your world. However, life after diagnosis can still be lived positively despite the setbacks.  One of the many ways cancer treatment can impact your life is your appearance. 

 Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy wreck havoc on your skin, hair and nails, causing them to be be irritated, sensitive and dry.  You may find that you are unable to revert back to products you loved before diagnoses. This can in turn impact your self esteem negatively.

A common question I get is “What kind of beauty products should I use during cancer treatment?

There is so much noise about cancer causing ingredients these days and a few years ago Johnson & Johnson was embroiled in a major scandal involving their Talcum powder.

Don’t loose hope. There are excellent alternatives you can use. We will research and select them for you. We are great advocates of organic, natural, therapeutic ingredients that actually help to nourish and repair your skin especially in its very fragile state.

We also believe that you should be proactive in sourcing the right things for yourself.

Before you buy a product, it is worth reading the labels (We will do a post on product labels soon).  Look up a product ingredient, ask questions and research thoroughly. You deserve the very best.

By, avoiding a few ingredients, you can still enjoy your beauty routines, especially with natural products.

Here is a quick list of 10 ingredients in your beauty products that you should avoid during and even after chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment:

1.    Alcohol

During chemotherapy, your skin can become dry or irritated. Therefore, you have to be careful about the stuff you apply over it. Many beauty products commonly contain alcohol denat. You may have used creams and toners that naturally contain it. Alcohol denat can disrupt the pH of the skin. This leads to unbalanced and unpredictable skin.

2. Parabens

Common parabens include methylparaben, ethylparaben,propylparaben and butylparabens . Parabens are commonly used to extend the shelf life of your beauty products but they are also absorbed into your body via your skin. They are associated with hormone disruptors. So if your cancer is oestrogen responsive especially, avoid them.

According to Mercola.com, the human body can absorb as much as five pounds of cosmetic chemicals every year. Parabens can mimic hormones in the body and disrupt your body’s endocrinal functions. We advice that you consider products with natural preservatives where possible e.g Germaben.

3. Petrochemicals

The European Union indicates petroleum as a carcinogen. Therefore, they prefer limited usage. However, they are almost in many common beauty products we use throughout the day, especially moisturisers and petroleum jellies.

Natural skin balms made with plant butters (Shea and Cocoa butter) actually do a better job of moisturising and penetrating  nutrients deeper into the skin and are safer for you.

4. Formaldehyde

Certain skin care preservatives are reported to release this ingredient. Formaldehyde is a colourless gas used in making everything from fertiliser to nail polish. It acts as a preservative system alongside other chemicals. it is also a known carcinogen and can appear in your products under the name FORMALIN.

Avoid using a product containing it  (look for formaldehyde free nail polish and use a nail repairing oil like sweet almond oil to treat your nails) as it can irritate your skin, cause hair loss and scalp burn. Cancer treatment will leave your skin sensitive and you want to nurture and protect yourself.

5. Triclosan

This is found in toothpaste, body washes, and deodorants. It is known to be an endocrine disruptor and may lead to cancer. Consider Triclosan free alternatives.

6. Lead

Lead is found in more than 60% of lipsticks. It is one of those ingredients that gradually became a problem as companies started to use it more. Look out for Lead acetate, chromium, thimerosal, hydrogenated cotton seed oil, sodium hexametaphosphate on the labels.

According to www.safecosmetics.org   Lead is a well-known and proven neurotoxin that has been linked to learning, language and behavioural problems and reduced fertility in both men  and women, hormonal changes and menstrual irregularities.

Why not try a vegan or lead free lipstick instead?

7.    DEA (diethanolamine)

These are Amonia derivatives used as emulsifiers and  found mostly It is found in creamy and foaming products. They can react to form nitrosamines that cause cancer with prolonged use. Some common names to look out for – as “MEA, DEA, & TEA,” abbreviations for monoethanolamine, diethanolamine, and triethanolamine.

Natural soaps or castile soap do a better job of cleansing without the addition of DEA’S.

8.    BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole)

BHA can be found in makeup and moisturisers. They care known to interfere with hormone function.

9.    Parfum/Fragrance

This is an umbrella term. Commonly found in perfume, cologne, conditioner, shampoo, body wash and moisturisers, it can be difficult to determine what exactly (most likely synthetically derived ingredient) is in the formula.  Even some unscented products may still contain it.

It can cause skin irritation and allergies, dermatitis, respiratory issues and so on so it is to be avoided during chemotherapy and we dare say after. Essential oils are better alternatives as they are extracted from plants.

10.    PEGs (polyethylene glycols)

This is widely used in conditioners, deodorants, and moisturisers. This ingredient can be contaminated with 1, 4 – dioxane, which can lead to cancer.

There are many more harmful ingredients and the list may disappoint you. It makes it very difficult to use the wide range of beauty products in the market as they are not always properly regulated.

However, you can continue your normal beauty routines during cancer treatment by using trusted natural cosmetics brands like Etie’no Skincare.

Companies in the EU are required to comply with very strict formulation guidelines and submit their products to a cosmetic chemist for assessment . We are also required to register on the European Union Cosmetics portal before we can legally sell our products.

Our products are created with the finest natural ingredients we can source and are free from Parabens, Sulphates, Petroleum and Mineral oils.

We would love to hear from you.

Are they any ingredients you need to ditch from your skincare products?