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Does Chemotherapy Age your Face?

image of Genna Pinnick
Does Chemotherapy Age your Face?

Short Answer: Yes, And Here's What You Can About It

The premise behind chemotherapy treatment is that the chemotherapy drugs kill ALL the cells, healthy and cancer cells alike, with only the healthy cells growing back. This explains your hair loss, your memory loss, and your skin's massive decline during cancer treatment. 

Unfortunately, in this process, chemotherapy also breaks down collagen within your skin, which ultimately leaves it saggy and wrinkled. It can't be helped. The damage is caused by the cancer treatment drugs themselves, as well as the understandably high stress and anxiety that patients experience during cancer treatment. 

So, it's easy to see how chemotherapy can cause premature aging in healthy cells which explains why some people who have had chemotherapy treatments look older than their actual age, adding insult to injury.

Yes, your body can heal some of this damage, but the chemo damage to the skin is so great that the body can't significantly repair itself and this leads to premature aging.

Since your skin is the largest organ of your body, manufacturing proteins, hormones, and other factors, as well as pushing waste and chemicals out of your body through your skin, whatever you put in your body ends up in your skin. 

In addition to premature aging, research, and oncology patients' own experience, have found that chemotherapy can cause hair loss and significant hair changes, permanent memory problems and fatigue. It also damages the DNA in hair follicles, causing them to shrink or stop producing hair altogether.

Research at the National Institute of Health and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has been able to show how chemotherapy affects your cells at a genetic level. Chemotherapy actually changes your DNA and these changes are passed onto any children born after you've undergone cancer treatment. 

The researchers analyzed the effects of chemotherapy on cells from healthy people and those with breast, lung, colon or ovarian cancers. They found that chemotherapy caused DNA damage in all four types of cancer cells.

In particular, they found that a type of cell death, called apoptosis, was triggered by chemotherapy.

Apoptosis is like the body's way of saying, "I'm sorry, but I can't repair you anymore so let's get rid of you."

But when it happens too early in life, such as during chemotherapy treatments for cancer, it can cause problems. 

The researchers found that chemotherapy also caused cells to age faster.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have said this was because the treatment triggered a process called senescence in which cells start unraveling and die earlier than normal.

Senescence is like an internal countdown timer. telling the cell when to die.

It's not uncommon for cancer patients to look older than their actual age after chemotherapy treatments.

Studies have shown why -- it's because of the premature aging effect of these drugs on both skin and hair follicles.

The researchers have reported that they hope their findings will help doctors personalize cancer treatment by taking into account how different people respond to chemotherapy.

Essentially, their findings are saying, "there is no 'One-Size-Fits-All' approach."

Some patients may benefit from more aggressive treatment, while others might be better off with less intensive therapy or even watchful waiting.

Studies on this have been published in peer-reviewed medical journal such as Aging and Cancer, NPJ Breast Cancer, and PLOS Online.

What about Radiation Therapy?

Radiation therapy damages tissue on a cellular level and kills surrounding healthy cells in addition to cancerous ones. The effects are similar to those of chemotherapy.

It may also affect the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones and joints in addition to other parts of the body that are exposed during treatment. It does cause memory loss or cognitive dysfunction (a decline in mental abilities) in many patients, as well as physical pain from damage done by radiation directly hitting nerves or bone structures.

Some Good News!

Encouragingly, researchers found that the skin of patients, who took vitamin C and E supplements, was less damaged than those who did not. They said the supplements both reduced anxiety during treatment, as well as increased survival rates.

Interestingly, they also discovered that antioxidants helped to protect against damage caused by the radiation therapy itself, which is used in some cases to treat cancer. This finding may be an excellent use for Lipo Naturals Liposomal Glutathione with Vitamin C supplementation. Glutathione with vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant combo. The liposomal delivery means it gets into your body, and into your cells, faster with more of it to protect you from the inside out. 

Specialized oncology skin care products, for people who are going through cancer and radiation therapy, have to be gentle, unscented, hydrating, calming and restorative in order to not only protect your skin during this time, but also keep your skin quietly calm, hydrated and intact. Hale and Hush has built their reputation calming, protecting, and nourishing the skin of people going through the unimaginable, a cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment.

In providing uniquely effective skin care for those who can't use regulars skin care products, the ever-present need to prevent as much aging as possible in the face of highly oxidative and age-advancing cancer treatments, Hale and Hush not only helps calm, hydrate and heal your skin, they also provide true anti-aging, mega-antioxidant products in their skin care line. 

Selective ingredients and careful formulation is the key to the effectiveness of these products, with your skin drinking in the clean, cool, and healing ingredients deeply. 

This means that these antioxidants can be transferred directly to the skin cells and tissues of your skin, which will shield and protect it from damage caused by UV radiation, environmental stressors, and other factors.

Hale and Hush Skin Care Products, used morning and night, can help prevent irritation, redness and withering dryness which may occur during your therapy. 

These ultra-sensitive products are designed with a "micro-delivery system", which allows for easy absorption by your skin. The micro-delivery system is highly effective and amazingly delicate.

Who uses Hale and Hush?

Medical and Cancer facilities such as:

  • Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, IL
  • Providence Roy & Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center in Burbank, CA
  • Norton Cancer Institute in Louisville, KY
  • Celio Cancer Center in The Dalles, OR
  • Living Well Cancer Resource Center in Geneva, IL
  • Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center in Aurora, IL 

If your skin is chapped, red, irritated, raw, and overall ultra sensitive to most things you put on it, I highly recommended that you start with the Hale and Hush Core Essential products:

  1. Gently cleanse your skin with Quiet Wash to soothe and quiet any irritation your skin may have to this simple step. Splash off with tepid water or use a cotton pad for extremely gently rinsing. 
  2. Mix a pinch of the Relief Bio Powder into the Soothe Essence, mixing it thoroughly in the palm of your hands before gently patting this application onto your face, neck, eyes, chest, and hands.
  3. Next, protect your skin by putting a small amount of the Vital Lipid lotion into your palm and adding a pinch of Relief Bio Powder, mixing together before also patting this in gently to your skin. 
  4. Lastly, protect your chemically-thinned and irritated skin from damaging UV and sun with this Ultra-Delicate mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen.

Even with your first application, you'll feel the calm safety of feeling at home in your skin.

After just a few days of using these core essentials, your skin should feel refreshed, hydrated, calm, and quiet. Restoring your skin's own barrier protection leads to more and more comfort. And a better outcome during and after your treatment is over. 

After a few weeks, you should begin to notice a huge improvement in the overall appearance and feel of your skin, more like your original self.  And perhaps even better. As I shared earlier, Hale and Hush goes beyond simply skin care and is true anti-aging skin care.

When your skin is no longer reactive and raw, try Hale and Hush Rare Retinal Serum, Rare C Serum, Eye Mousse (which is also great on your neck), and Brilliant Eye and Lip Serum.

For dryness anytime, during your chemo treatment, on your bare skin, over your products, even over your makeup, hydrate your dry, delicate skin with Hale and Hush Mist Me anytime. Just spray it on as often as you need.

Hale and Hush reduces further damage from occurring on your face as you complete your chemotherapy.

Keeping your skin as beautifully healthy and as comfortable as possible is the goal. Feeling and looking like yourself is reassuring, and the preventative care you're imparting to your skin can be a great gift you can give yourself during this time. 

Give yourself the gift of self care during your chemotherapy treatment, consistently and reliably caring for your skin every day, will reward you with a more comfortable, calm and hydrated skin you'll love, even after you've recovered and getting back to your life.

Invest into your future. Care for your skin now so later you'll be so relieved you did.

About Genna Pinnick

Genna holds a degree in Biology and an accomplished Concierge Esthetician currently serving Silicon Valley's high-power female entrepreneurs. In 1990, she earned the Premiere European Esthetics Certification of CIDESCO Diplomat in International Esthetics.

Since 1990, she founded and managed her own skincare clinic, growing it through referrals, newspaper, TV and Radio appearances, and as a guest writer in the local Health & Beauty section of the newspaper.

As an early member of the NCA's Esthetics America Education & Trends Team, she offered professional development at the national, state and local level, immersing herself in advanced training from such industry greats as Erica Miller, Robert Lees, and Rebecca James Gadberry.

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Disclaimer: The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only.

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