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Oncology Esthetics Spotlight: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

by Sara Cifani

A cancer diagnosis triggers a cascade of emotions, doctor visits and treatments. And that treatment can also wreak havoc on your skin.

About 1 in 8 U.S. women develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Statistics show that the number of new cancer cases will rise to 22 million in the next two decades.

Chemotherapy and radiation treatment are responsible for many undesirable symptoms. One of the most common is sensitive, dry, extremely itchy and/or flaky skin. Treating the skin at a spa, with the support of a skilled oncology esthetician who can recommend healthy natural products, can ease the discomfort and help cancer patients feel better on many levels.

Holly Green, the owner of Norabloom Botanicals & Beauty Lounge in Ithaca, NY, is a certified oncology esthetician with a passion for bringing holistic health to compromised skin. “Oncology Esthetics became a part of my life and practice when a guest I had worked on for years was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time, I was not sure how to help her.

“I began my research and ran across an Oncology Esthetics Training. Once I completed the certification, I began to see her every two weeks with her physician’s permission. To assist her skin’s needs further, I began creating products to support and heal her skin conditions that were aftereffects of the cancer therapies.”

Chemotherapy and radiation can break down the skin’s outer layer and interfere with new cell growth, creating “thin" skin or the appearance of fine lines. To keep skin healthy, Norabloom created a Soothe & Heal Set specifically for women undergoing cancer therapies. “We selected specific botanicals that support and heal the delicate skin. We love organic rose flowers and organic rosehip seed oil as well as organic pumpkin seed oil and chamomile and hibiscus.”

Many of these botanicals may be used in The Norabloom Restorative Facial, a customized experience based upon your skin story – health history, current health condition, current cancer therapies, overall well being, medicines and skin concerns.

“I don’t charge for these facials. I charge for the product set, but I don’t charge for the facial. I want to take care of my community of women. It feels right.”

For those undergoing cancer therapies, a restorative facial steers away from aggressive exfoliation, peels, steam, traditional massage and harsh synthetic ingredients that may even be considered carcinogenic! Instead, facial massage movements often move downward versus upward to assist in lymphatic drainage. Depending on the patient’s needs, treatments may include gentle facial cleanings and gentle massage of the face, scalp, arms, hands and feet.

Natural Brands to Try

These brands, below, are designed for cancer patients, formulated to be especially gentle and avoid ingredients that can lead to irritation or sensitivity on compromised skin.

*De La Terre Skincare also offers an Oncology Skin Support package including herb rich teas, cleansers, mists, balms and more; delaterreskincare.com

*CV Skinlabs, created by a former cancer patient; cvskinlabs.com

*Norabloom Botanicals, norabloom.com

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