Here's how to help your clients make oncology safe skincare choices

Jan 13, 2021

If you didn't know, Jennifer Young Training has a sister-site where you can buy our range of natural, organic skincare and wellness products for those living with and beyond cancer. Beauty Despite Cancer was created with the help of NHS hospices and nurses to formulate expert skincare suitable for use on cancer patients. 

Some of the chemicals used in your regular skin care and cosmetics are linked with long term devastating illnesses like cancer. There is a strong link between some of the ingredients and breast cancer. Also short-term health effects, like eczema, dermatitis, skin reddening and soreness can be caused by some of ingredients. As well as this, once cancer treatment begins, the perfumes and chemicals in these products can react badly with the newly sensitive skin. 

So, how can you help your clients make safe skincare product choices while undergoing cancer treatment?

Here are 'The Rules' - a set of criteria for skincare laid down by the NHS nurses and Jennifer on choosing safest products for your clients:

Rule 1

Don’t have faith in marketing words

‘Hypoallergenic’ is a word created by marketing experts (see Rule 2). Everyone has different skin and different sensitivities. There are not, to the best of my knowledge any ingredients that are guaranteed not to cause a reaction.

EU Cosmetic Safety Regulations require ingredients listings to be in Latin. Often the Latin will be used to disguise some less than natural ingredients. Liquid paraffin is an often-used, cheap, but not-so-nice, ingredient. It will be listed as Liquidium parafinium.

Ingredients labels are listed with the greatest ingredient first, if a product is called ‘Organic Lavender Body Oil’ and the ingredients are ‘Liquid parafinium, Lavandula Angustifolia’ it means that the oil has more Liquid paraffin than lavender. The product is likely to contain 1% (or less) organic Lavender.

Rule 2

All natural ingredients are equal but some are more equal than others

Have you read about the lack of plant oestrogens in our Defiant Beauty Collections. The nurses that we worked with to develop our products, had a very strict rule and, as a result, oestrogens are not allowed. The nurses advise the patients on their ward not to use skincare and cosmetics that include natural oestrogens.

We love our natural ingredients and whilst we would always choose natural and organic for those going through treatment (and we do), some oestrogenic ingredients might not be great for you. If you see the words 'Persea gratissima' on an ingredients list, you may wish to choose a different product. (Did you pass the Latin test??)

Not all natural ingredients are good for you. I am often asked to provide a definitive list. Sadly, this is not possible. Research regularly uncovers more hormone disrupting ingredients and compounds - I can’t be sure that any list would be up to date. Whenever faced with a new ingredient, I do the research. I can only suggest that you do the same (sorry).

Rule 3

Patch test ingredients or products. An ingredient in the product could react badly with your client, or perhaps they have an allergy. Always check if you client has allergies before you begin, and cross-check with the ingredients list of the product. 

Even if there are no obvious ingredients that could react with the client's skin, a patch test is always recommended. 

Rule 4

If there are more than a handful of ingredients – don’t use the product

Your clients skin can very sensitive and reactive. It will be difficult for you to identify the exact ingredients that may cause a reaction The fewer ingredients in any product, the easier your task will be.

If you're interested in stocking our range of specialist oncology-safe skincare products for your clients with cancer, then get in touch.



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