Look Good Feel Better
To participate in the monthly LOOK GOOD...FEEL BETTER program run by volunteer cosmeticians and wig stylists call the Victoria based Canadian Cancer Society at 592-2244.
Every second Tuesday of the month 10:00 to 12:00 at the main office of the Canadian Cancer Society located at Blanshard and Hillside.
The last Wedneday of each month from 7:00 to 9:00. at the Canadian Cancer Society Lodge at the corner of Richmond and Coronation Street.
To register please call 250.592.2244 (NO DROP IN'S)
How We Feel Has a Lot to Do with How We Look
The side effects of radiation or chemotherapy can seem devastating. You may have to contend with thinning hair or the total loss of all hair including your eyebrows and eyelashes. There is also the possibility of developing unwanted facial hair. Your skin may become extremely dry, blemished or pigmented. You may experience puffiness, weight gain or weight loss; and your nails may become brittle and discolored.
Whatever changes therapy has produced in your skin and hair, remember they are temporary, once the treatments are over, they will go away. Until they do, with just a little time, effort and positive thinking, there's a lot you can do to make yourself look and feel as good as you did before your treatments began.
Medical research has proven that the better a person looks, the more confident they feel and the faster they recover.
Maintaining a sense of control and self-esteem can be difficult but it can also be very rewarding.
The Look Good…Feel Better program is available through the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association Foundation.
They have the following suggestions for you:
Hair loss can occur two to three weeks after your treatment begins. It may be gradual or sudden, depending on the amount of treatment you receive.
Pre hair loss tips
Cutting your thinning hair short will give the illusion of fullness and volume. Some women even choose to shave their head completely to reduce the distress associated with clumps of hair falling out. If you have chosen to wear a wig, set up a free consultation with the wig stylist of your choice and go over your options before you shave or lose your hair. By doing so, the stylist will be able to help you with your colour and style.
Use a gentle shampoo and a very light conditioner. If you are receiving radiation to the head, check with your physician or radiation therapist before you choose a shampoo. Remember, don't scrub with your fingernails as you wash… it may feel good, but you run the risk of irritating your scalp.
Pat hair gently, do not rub your scalp. Use a very wide-tooth comb, an afro pick works well. Let your hair dry naturally if possible. If you must use a blow dryer, make sure it is at its lowest setting.
Sleep on a satin-like pillowcase to minimize tugging of the hair at the scalp. Also, wearing a soft stretch or flannel cap at night can contain the hair when it is shedding and will keep your head warm. You lose up to 70% of your heat through your head!
There are many headcover choices available to you. They include wigs, scarves, turbans, headbands and hats. Most women use a combination of looks. Let your own personality be your guide, experiment with various looks, make-up and accessories.
Choose a wig that is natural looking and well fitted to your head, easy to care for and comfortable to wear. See Wigs under products.
Headwraps, scarves and hats
Headwraps, turbans and hats offer stylish alternatives to wearing a wig. They are also low in cost and high in comfort. The creative use of colourful scarves and accessories can really enhance your appearance. Be daring and have some fun!
For basic wraps, choose 26-inch or 28-inch square scarves. You can use larger squares, up to 36-inches, for fancier wraps; or oblong scarves for headwrap trims.
Mix and match contrasting prints and colors by using more than one scarf.
A soft shoulder pad placed on top of your head will give height and a more a natural look.
Add hair fringes or bangs, this will give the illusion of having hair. See accessories under products.
Basic tying of scarves
Lay the scarf flat, wrong side up. Fold it into a triangle, leaving one point slightly longer than the other.
Drape the scarf over your head with points in the back. Pull the scarf down in front, 2-3 inches above your eyebrows.
Tie the scarf ends in a half-knot behind your head, with the flap anchored beneath the knot. Tie the scarf ends into a square knot.
You can also tie by placing the knot over one ear instead of the back of your head. Let the scarf ends hang loose. Wear an earring on your other ear for an interesting look. Or, you can tie a square knot over one ear, wear a beret, covering the knot. Tuck loose scarf ends up into the beret.
You can also twist a second scarf over the first headwrap for a headband look. Try wearing a hat over your headwrap for a dramatic and different look!
USE YOUR IMAGINATION… THE SKY'S THE LIMIT!
Cancer therapy can change the condition and texture of your skin. It also weakens your natural immune system. Your biggest problem will be dryness and sensitivity.
To keep your skin in its healthiest condition be sure to use skin care products that are alcohol and fragrance free. This includes your soap; a clear, glycerin soap is a good choice.
Your skin also needs protection from the sun at all times; use a sunscreen (SPF level 15 or higher) on all exposed skin.
Before using any products directly on the skin that is being radiated, be sure to check with your physician or radiation therapist.
Avoid hot water or extended baths.
If your skin is blemished, irritated or itchy ask you physician to recommend a topical cream to ease the discomfort.
Do not use a razor on skin that is irritated or on skin that is being radiated. An electric razor is suggested if it is necessary to remove unwanted hair.
Be gentle to your skin!
When you complete your treatment
Depending on the type and duration of your cancer treatments, new hair will eventually start to appear. You can expect new hair to grow at a rate of about half-inch a month. It may be a different color and a different texture. It is often very soft to the touch.
It is recommended that you do not color or perm your new hair until you have had three haircuts. This way you may help ensure that your hair is healthy.
Some people worry about the "right" time to take off their wigs and headwraps and go out wearing their new short hairstyle. Do what feels good to you. Sometimes the advice of family and friends can be helpful, but in the end you will know when the time is right.
With these tips, a positive attitude and a good self-image, you can get through a difficult period of cancer and cancer therapy…beautifully!