After breast cancer, you might view your beauty habits differently. Chemotherapy and mastectomy procedures can change your body. You can lose hair, eyebrows and eyelashes when you get chemotherapy treatment. It also dries out your skin. A mastectomy can leave you with just one or no breasts.
As a woman who has survived breast cancer and undergone chemotherapy, I know how important it is to still feel feminine and beautiful while all these drastic changes are happening to your body. For me, I couldn’t bear the thought of walking around bald. Even the idea of sleeping on a head with no hair attached was unthinkable. Leading up to my chemotherapy treatments, this was one of the scariest parts of the whole experience.
I decided to get fitted with a natural hair wig. It’s amazing, really. They attached a specially made wig to my head using adhesives. I was able to shampoo and condition the hair in the shower, and I could even color it if I chose. The one catch was that they attached it shortly after I began my treatments — before all my hair fell out. So before they could stick the wig on, they had to shave my head.
The first time they shaved my head, let’s just say, I didn’t keep my cool. As each stroke of the razor took more and more hair off, it was like I was looking at a stranger. And not a female stranger — some weird man was looking back at me. I felt like I was losing my femininity. I screamed at the stranger in the mirror, and he just screamed right back.
I know some breast cancer survivors who don’t mind the changes that occur because of the medical procedures, but if you’re like me, an adjusted beauty routine is essential to your self-esteem and feeling like yourself. Fine-tuning your beauty routine to address one or more of these changes may help you cope and maintain your confidence. And no matter how you feel about your post-cancer appearance, your feelings are valid. I hope that these tips will help you beautiful survivors take control of your self-care regimen.
1. Use Moisturizing Body Wash
The soap you use can make or break your skin. Bar soaps and non-hydrating body washes can dry your skin, especially if you don’t or can’t moisturize after you shower. You don’t have to shell out a lot of money to get body wash with moisturizing ingredients in it, either. Plus, here’s a tip — use it to wash your hands, too. Body washes tend to hydrate your skin much better than hand soap.
2. Wear a Head Covering That Makes You Feel Great
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy affect everyone’s hair growth differently. Sometimes, it has no impact at all, but other times it can change the way that it grows back. If you’re still waiting for your hair to grow back normally after treatment, you might want to use a head covering like a wig or a scarf. My natural hair wig helped me to feel like myself during my recovery. If you didn’t get a head covering when you had cancer, you could still check out the American Cancer Society’s TLC program for cancer-friendly options.
Of course, some survivors want to rock their bald head. If you don’t feel comfortable shaving your head yourself, visit a haircutter or barber with head shaving experience. In a DIY mood? Try following WebMD’s tips.
- Get Eyebrow or Eyelash Extensions (Or Use Some Nifty Shortcuts)
You’re more likely to lose the hair on your head than you are to lose eyelashes and eyebrows. But, when you do lose them, you can replace them with extensions to save time. Instead of putting on false eyelashes and drawing your eyebrows in every morning, you can get new ones at the salon! When you get eyelash extensions, a beauty professional glues fibers to your lash line that get replaced about every month. A similar process happens with eyebrow extensions, but you can also get microblading.
However, these beauty treatments sometimes have a high price. If you don’t have enough money to maintain extensions, you can still make your makeup routine easier. Eyebrow stencils take the guesswork out of drawing your eyebrows. You can cut and stack false eyelashes to change how they look on your eyes.
4. Use Prosthetic Nipples as an Alternative to Reconstruction Surgery
Mastectomy patients who want their nipples back sometimes go through nipple reconstruction surgery. However, it’s not always affordable or feasible, and the replaced or tattooed nipple can collapse or fade. After my mastectomy, the surgeon told me that my skin was still too sensitive after having the treatment, and I would have to wait two years to have nipple reconstruction surgery. If you’re like me, you’ll know that was way too long to wait.
Pink Perfect prosthetic nipples fit naturally to your breast and match your original one. Learn how they can make you feel comfortable in your own skin!