The best skincare products to use during and after chemo

Where skincare and makeup are concerned, I have always been a minimalist. I want to look my best of course, but I’m also not one to waste a lot of time or money. I remember laughing out loud while reading this quote, attributed to Virginia Postrel: “Cosmetics makers have always sold hope in a jar – creams and potions that promise youth, beauty, sex appeal, and even love for the women who use them.”

While I’m not quite that cynical, I do expect it to do what it says it will do, to be fairly simple to use, and to be reasonably priced (with a few notable exceptions).

The below items meet these criteria, at least for my skin type. I began using them after I stopped seeing results from Kate Somerville, and when my normally easygoing complexion was extremely dry and downright dull from seven months of chemo.

While I think this line is focused more on introductory skin care, no one has convinced me yet that an overpriced toner is any better than the 15 dollar stuff. If Glycolic Acid is as good as they say it is, then so much the better.

  • Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Eye Cream.

I tried Exuviance too, which was fine as a moisturizer. However, it provided no discernable difference for tired eyes. With this Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Eye Cream, my undereye area looks brighter, and concealer goes on more smoothly without those crepe-y looking lines.

I tend to be more of an Ulta than Sephora shopper, only because that’s what is closest to my house. But on one fortuitous lunch hour downtown, I wandered into the latter and found the solution for my dull as ditchwater complexion.

An informative and refreshingly not-pushy Sephora employee introduced me to Sunday Riley – a brand I’d only read about peripherally on a few beauty blogs. I was skeptical at first, but when he showed me on my hand the luminous result that just one dab provided, I decided to try it out.

A little bit goes a long way, and if you overdo it, you’ll go from glow-y (yay!) to shiny (nea) real fast. But I figured that out pretty quickly and have come to really love this product.

I don’t get facials as often as I should, but post-treatment, it’s something I’m paying more attention to, trying to think of it as a form of self-care and not a selfish indulgence.

That’s where I learned about SkinCeuticals. It was one of two products I bought after a basic facial treatment from Woodhouse Spa. At that time, I was only four months out from my last infusion, with a lot of toxins still in my system, and the esthetician told me what I already knew. Though my skin was super clean, with no need for any extractions, it was also super dry.

I’ve yet to try their highly-touted Ferulic Acid, but can certainly vouch for the effectiveness of their Hydrating B5 Gel.

This is one of my favorite steps in the new skincare routine. An all-in-one moisturizer and primer, it makes my skin feel smooth and supple. And makeup goes on like a dream. No streaks or cakes or settling into wrinkles and creases.

I’m sort of mad at the younger me for not adding this step in about 20 years earlier, but alas – I’m doing it now. Plenty of foundations that I’ve used over the years had SPF built-in, but I just feel like I’m getting more protection doing it this way, as its own separate step.

I was worried that foundation would look greasy on top of the Cetaphil, but that happily proved to be false.

I give a minute or two between each step to let the product sink into my skin before moving onto the next one. It takes less makeup and less time to “put my face on”, and my goodness am I a lot happier with the finished product when all is said and done!

As you navigate your own skin changes during treatment, I hope this helps you pinpoint what might be worth trying! (honorable mentions to Buxom Full-On Plumping Lip Polish Gloss, Rodan + Fields Lash Boost and Brow Defining Boost, and It Cosmetics CC+ Full Coverage Cream – these are still among my favorite beauty bag things!)

3 Comments Add yours

  1. J. Ross says:

    You did a great job with this!

    1. Thank you kindly for saying so! Means a lot coming from you!

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