Since this is breast cancer awareness month, I wanted to talk to you about how cancer has affected my life personally. Sadly, cancer is now a full-on epidemic, and none of us are untouched by its impact, either personally or with someone we know. As most of you know, Sunshine Botanicals is all about beauty, health, and wellness from a holistic perspective, And the irony of how cancer has impacted my life and my brand is both an unbelievable story and the driving force behind my passion. I want to share some of the backstories of how our oncology collection came into being and the insane irony surrounding the creation of these handcrafted products specifically targeted to heal and repair the devastation cancer does to the skin.
A cancer diagnosis changes your life – forever. How well I know. Pancreatic cancer quickly took the life of my husband and partner, Dr. Philip Fritchey – the master herbalist who had a gift for wildcrafting medicinal herbs and plants and deeply understood the healing power and energetics of natural medicine…his unique processing methods that created the products that launched Sunshine Botanicals exist to this day and is what sets our brand apart. My amazing father lost his leg to bone cancer and had more skin cancer surgeries than I can count… he was a very strong man and handled so much with tremendous grace, and I seemed to follow in his footsteps. I have personally survived multiple skin cancers and Moh’s surgeries. …to say I understand the physical and emotional impact of this raging beast is an extreme understatement. The irony of all this was that my passion for corrective skincare had me studying aesthetics and skincare at a very young age. In my heart, I knew there had to be effective alternatives somewhere, and conventional drug therapy only suppressed symptoms – I wanted to know what the root causes of these skin disorders were so I could participate in my own healing process. Little did I know where this passion to learn alternative methods of healing would take me.
God had a plan for my life, and I was watching it unfold right in front of me. My healing path positioned me to share what I learned to help others and bring the amazing power of plant medicine into healing and corrective skin care – it was part of the master plan. Repairing the damage to the skin caused by chemotherapy, radiation, and other cancer treatments is a mission to me, and helping others restore a positive self-image and sense of joy is what it’s all about to me! Now, let’s look at a few facts:
- Sadly, cancer is now an epidemic… According to the National Institute of Health, an estimated 1,806,590 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States, 606,520 people will die from the disease, and approximately 39.5% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime.
The Cancer Survivors Tool Box: A New Beginning
There is an ocean of information out there, and overwhelm comes with the territory of a cancer diagnosis. That being said, I want to share some of my favorite resources with you that can provide valuable information from people I trust and help you navigate through all the decision-making processes you may face…
Cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments often suffer visible and painful side effects on their skin. These treatments kill cancer cells; however – they destroy healthy cells as well. The treatments, while killing cancer cells, also affect healthy cells, including the skin and nails. Patients can suffer from varying degrees of hair loss, chemo skin discoloration, chemo skin sores, radiation skin burn, as well as skin rashes, dry skin, peeling, blisters, swelling, and loss of feeling.
Accepting that your skin will change during this process skin is the first step Everyone is aware that nausea and hair loss is part of the process, but most people are not aware of how their skin (especially the face) will also change. While undergoing chemotherapy and radiation (and even afterward), the skin is extremely dry and dehydrated due to the barrier function being impaired by the treatment. Cleansers with harsh surfactants or exfoliating scrubs are not an option, so a gentle cleanser must be used. During this time, the skin may be much more reactive than usual, becoming easily inflamed and irritated. Treatment products with AHAs, BHAs, retinols, and other aggressive ingredients are strictly off-limits, so a soothing anti-inflammatory serum is a perfect replacement. Red, peeling rashes may appear, and skin may become extremely fragile and develop sensitivities to products that use to be part of your daily skincare regime. A rich, gentle moisturizer or balm is necessary for healing and protecting the skin. The skin is also highly prone to sunburn, so a gentle moisturizer with a purely physical sunblock is crucial.
Remember, the idea with oncology skincare is to heal the skin, not treat cancer. Here is my recommended skincare routine for clients battling cancer:
Cleanse and Calm
Dry, sensitive skin is prone to eczema, itching, and irritations that can lead to chronic inflammation conditions oncology patients to deal with. Our unique blend of Lavender Hydrosol, Calendula CO2 extract, and Comfrey root extract has a warm, soothing, buttery feel that will restore dry, inflamed, and stressed skin.
Hydrating Recovery Mist
Colloidal Silver and Lemon Balm are the key ingredients is this skin-soothing skin mist. Colloidal Silver destroys P. acne bacteria on the skin and numerous other pathogens living on the skin surface. Helps heal burns, wounds, eczema, and a host of bacterial and fungal related conditions to help clear and balance the skin.
Rapid Repair Fluid
This multifunctional serum is especially indicated for compromised skin conditions and helps heal skin recovering from radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Cool, fresh, and oil-free, this soothing serum may also be used as a daily hydrating fluid to help restore the skin’s natural barrier function and help fight breakouts and irritations.
This elegant skin fluid is a superfood for the skin and is packed with fast-absorbing Omega-3, 6, & 9 essential fatty acids and antioxidant-rich botanical extracts and potent anti-inflammatory benefits to repair, nourish and rejuvenate aging and stressed skin. Cooling botanicals relieve redness & leave skin feeling calm & nourished, with nature’s most effective anti-inflammatory & skin-repairing ingredients.
This blends together the benefits of a moisturizer, foundation, skin repair, and environmental protection – all in one chemical-free formula. This weightless, beauty balm is formulated with potent antioxidants and micronized zinc and titanium oxide that will protect healthy skin from the ravages of harsh environments without any carcinogenic chemicals.
Oncology Skin Care – Simplified:
Everything you need for oncology skincare in one simple kit☺
Tips for Supporting Someone You Love with Cancer
Below are some points to consider before talking to a close friend who has cancer:
- Process your very own feelings ahead of time. Discovering that a close friend has cancer can be difficult information to hear. Require time to recognize and deal with your very own emotions concerning the diagnosis before seeing him or her. By doing this, you can keep the focus on your good friend.
- Learn about the diagnosis. Your loved one may not wish to speak about the information for several reasons. It can be physically as well as psychologically tiring to repeat the same info to different people. If possible, the person’s spouse or a mutual friend might have the ability to give you the essentials. Please write it down and also repeat it back to them to ensure you have the correct info. If there are details that are unknown or not shared, do not push.
- Think about it from your loved one’s perspective. Bear in mind a time when you were terrified or felt ill. What did it feel like for you? What were you willing to talk about during your difficult time? How did you wish to be treated? You may also want to prepare yourself for modifications in their appearance. Fatigue, loss of weight, and hair loss prevail in cancer and/or therapies’ adverse effects. Begin “It’s good to see you” rather than talking about their physical situation.
Although each person with cancer is different, here are some essential tips that can help you show your concern in the most supportive ways…
Ask for consent. Don’t just drop by, give recommendations, or ask questions until you know that it okay. Be sure that they have your permission not to discuss their health if that is their choice.
- Make plans. Do not be afraid to make plans for the future. This provides your friend with something to look forward to, mainly because cancer therapy can be lengthy and very tiring.
- It’s all about flexibility. Make plans that are simple to change in case they require rescheduling.
- Laughter is the best medicine. Laughing together is so important. A light discussion or an entertaining story can make their day.
- Make time for a check-in phone call. Allow your loved one to understand when you will be calling and allow them to recognize that it is OK not to answer the phone.
- Many people discover it challenging to request for assistance. Still, your friend will likely really appreciate you making the first move to provide assistance…you would be amazed how wonderful it would be to help provide for youngsters, preparing a meal, or assistance with home chores…that being said, if your close friend declines your offer to assist, do not take it personally.
- Do not allow your friend’s condition to get in the way of your relationship. Don’t treat them differently just because they have a cancer diagnosis – it does not change who they are.
- Talk about things besides cancer! Ask about passions, hobbies, and also various other topics that have been their interest to keep them focused on the good things in their lives. Individuals experiencing treatment require a break from discussing the disease.
- A family member will undoubtedly post updates to an individual’s social media pages or send group emails. Stay current with these updates to ensure that your friend does not have to repeat experiences or information multiple times. These updates are additionally an excellent means to begin a discussion. This is SO important and helpful…
- Do not be afraid to talk with your close friend. It is far better to state, “I don’t know what to say” than to stop calling or visiting out of anxiety.
Loving things to say to show your support:
- I’m sorry this has happened to you.
- If you ever feel like chatting, I’m here to listen.
- What are you thinking about doing, and also exactly how can I help?
- I appreciate you.
- I’m thinking of you.
Never Say This!
- I know just what you should do.
- How long do you have?
- I’m sure you’ll be fine.
- I know just how you feel.
- Don’t worry.
Bear in mind; you can connect with a person in many different ways, depending upon exactly how they wish to communicate. If you do not regularly see your good friend, a phone call, text, or video phone call can show you care.
Ingredient of the Week: Oregon Grape (Mahonia Aquifolium)
The Oregon grape root has been used as herbal medicine to treat many maladies, including colds, flu, herpes, hepatitis, syphilis, stomach upset, cancer, skin disorders, yeast infections, and more. Herbalists have touted Oregon grape’s use, claiming that it effectively stimulates liver function, treats infections, and supports digestive health.
Top 5 Skin Benefits and Usages
- Liver Health
- Blood Cleansing
- Fights Psoriasis & Dermatitis
- Bone Strengthener
- Overall Digestive Health
When used on the skin, Oregon grape has been found to combat certain skin irritations. Oregon grapes power helps fight psoriasis and atopic dermatitis!
According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the laws governing cosmetics and personal care products are so limited that known cancer-causing chemicals, or carcinogens, are legally allowed in personal care products. Some carcinogens, such as formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, are common in personal care products, while others are less common, but still occasionally present.
Next week, I will review product ingredients you will want to avoid in your skincare products; I hope these ideas have helped you or someone you know… as we support Breast Cancer Awareness Month.