Archive for February 2018

3D Nipple Tattoos: How Do “Nip Tats” Work and What are my Options?

These are exciting times if you find yourself in need of a new breast or two! After the pain, stress, and fear of a single or double mastectomy, breast cancer patients find themselves with what is hopefully an encouraging array of options. Do you reconstruct? Go for an amazing cover-up tattoo? Decide you’re done with…… Read More

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Summertime Tips for Hair Loss

If you’ve lost your hair from chemotherapy, or it’s just starting to grow back, the most important thing during the summer is to protect the skin on your head from the sun. Beyond that, do whatever is most comfortable for you in the heat of summer.

You might decide to wear a scarf, turban, or hat. If so, choose a breathable, washable fabric like cotton to absorb sweat and keep you cool.

If you are most comfortable with nothing on your head, remember that your scalp isn’t used to sunlight and can burn easily. If you go outdoors in the daytime with no head covering, be sure to put plenty of sunblock (SPF 45 or higher, zinc-based) on your head, ears, and face.

There are different options available if you decide to wear a wig.

Youval Balistra, a hair stylist at Ralph Manne Salon in Wynnewood, PA, presents both synthetic and human hair wig options to women undergoing chemotherapy. He tries to meet each client before treatment, to evaluate her natural hairstyle, color, and texture. The wig is then ready when she needs it.

“The most important thing in the appearance of a wig is the styling and shaping of the haircut,” Balistra says. He shapes both synthetic and human hair wigs to help them look more like real hair.

Synthetic wigs are often recommended. They hold their style, even if they get a bit wet in the pool or ocean. The fibers don’t fade or change color in the sun. (But they can melt at high temperatures, like near an open flame, over an oven, grill, or if you use hot hair-styling tools.)

While all wigs tend to be somewhat hot and itchy in the summer, lightweight synthetics are available. Their open-cap construction allows the head to breathe and heat to escape, so they’re cooler to wear. Standard synthetics may be worn with a mesh wig liner that’s like a fishnet stocking. This type of liner also helps keep your head cool.

Some women prefer the look and feel of wigs made from human hair. Human-hair wigs may match …

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Summer Skin Care

Sunshine feels great — especially after a long, cold winter. Getting some sun is a good way to improve mood, energy level, and sense of optimism.

A little bit of sunshine can also help your body process vitamin D, which is important for bone health. Just 10 minutes of outdoor light each day is enough.

But too much sun exposure can be dangerous. It can cause skin cancer, cataracts, wrinkles, and painful burns that may permanently damage skin. It can also make side effects of some chemotherapy worse. While not always predictable, chemotherapies can also cause some people to become sensitive to sunlight, leading to increased skin reaction, tanning, and burning. Intense sun exposure can also weaken the immune system even more than treatment has already.

Skin in an area that’s receiving radiation therapy should be protected from the sun with a bathing suit or other clothing, since the skin may already be red or burned from the treatments.

It’s also important to use sunscreen. Sunscreens work in different ways. Chemical sunscreen absorbs ultraviolet light before it can harm the skin. Chemical sunscreen acts as a filter and does allow some radiation to get through, which is why tanning is still possible. Physical sunscreen — sometimes called sunblock — reflects ultraviolet light so that it can’t penetrate the skin, creating a barrier between sun and skin. Zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are examples of physical sunscreen ingredients.

If you’re undergoing radiation therapy, ask your radiation oncologist or nurse whether using sunscreen is likely to irritate your radiated skin.

Still, you don’t have to hide inside on bright summer days just because you’re receiving breast cancer treatment. According to dermatologist Margo L. Weishar, M.D., of Springhouse, PA, you can enjoy the sun if you take these precautions:

  • Schedule your sun time for early or late in the day. Wear a tightly woven, wide-brimmed (5 inches) hat, …

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