many stories about women who overcome the cancer demon with
a fight in them that they may have never known they had. We
hear and read about the struggles of making decisions for
treatment as well as the constant fatigue, aching and
sickness women feel while undergoing the treatments. But we
rarely hear about the struggle to find beauty in the midst
of the beast that tries to devour the mind, body and spirit.
of being and feeling beautiful during the stages of cancer
treatments don’t often hit a woman until she sees notable
changes in her appearance. Depending on the stage of cancer,
her breasts may shrink or be severely bruised; she may have
scars from surgery; her eyes may be sunken due to fatigue
and her hair may be falling out. Experiencing hair loss
seems to be one of those times where the idea of feeling
beautiful slaps you right in the face. There are women who
try to hold onto their hair, and those who are in shock,
seeing clumps of hair just fall right off their scalp; and
there are those who say, “I am not my hair” as in the
India.Arie song, and they shave it all off. No matter the
reaction to losing their hair, it can happen and the
frustration with trying to remain feminine and pretty can be
an uphill battle while already in the fight.
Roberts, an ABC Good Morning America anchor, was victorious
over breast cancer. She wore wigs on camera after having
lost her hair. But at a charity fashion show one evening,
she decided to ditch her wig and walk the runway bald and
bold! Everyone remarked at how amazing she looked. That bold
move gave her the courage to be proud of who she was, no
matter what illness may have attacked her body. Roberts
stated that “Being optimistic is like a muscle. It grows
stronger with use. I have always been optimistic.” With that
statement, one can conclude that being free from cancer
means being free in her mind first. As many grab a hold of
their faith during the battle, a proverb comes to mind: “As
a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
women as we have seen in the public eye, who have fought the
good fight and won, there are many who are living their
everyday lives, still trying to find the ray of light, the
silver lining and the beauty amidst the ashes. These
everyday women don’t have makeup artists at their disposal
or money to buy human hair wigs; many of the women who have
breast cancer are in the low-income class or have very few
resources to pay for treatments, not to mention the lack of
paid time off. So finding ways to be beautiful on a budget
can be depressing.
some things that women who are on their journey with cancer
can do that can help boost confidence. Below is a list of
supports to help women rediscover their inner beauty, so
that it can manifest itself on the outward in time.
in the bottle? Be
mindful of not only what you eat, but what you put on your
hair/scalp. The skin of a person undergoing chemotherapy and
radiation treatments is delicate and can be dry. Try to
avoid harsh cleansers like detergents (sodium lauryl
sulfate) and alcohol which may strip the skin of its natural
oils. You may also wish to avoid artificial fragrances or
perfumes, this may cause skin and scalp irritation.
Use caution when applying essential oils. Due to their being
in their natural form, they are concentrated and can burn
the skin or scalp if applied alone. To apply essential oils
to the body or scalp for re-growth treatments, use a carrier
oil such as almond oil or grape seed oil to blend with the
essential oil. This reduces the risk of skin damage.
Petroleum jelly and mineral oil.
This is an old, tried and true remedy for dry skin from the
good old days. But today, the use of products containing
petroleum jelly and mineral oil are harmful for the skin.
The thick texture of Vaseline may clog pores and prevent the
skin from truly being moisturized from the inside out. It
blocks moisture as a matter of fact. Mineral oil is found in
many hair care products that cannot penetrate the scalp and
assist with moisturizing the scalp or hair. It will sit on
the scalp like a film instead.
ingredient is found in many hair products, including
Brazilian blowouts and some hair smoothing treatments. Avoid
things like this which may also read as Sodium
Hydroxymethylglycinate, DMDM hydantoin, and Diazolidinyl
still cleanse your scalp gently with something that is
fragrance and color free such as Dr. Bronner’s castille soap
massage your scalp. It’s not only soothing, but it does
stimulate blood flow so that hair can grow.
neglect your scalp. While it may not have any hair on it, it
still needs TLC under wigs and head wraps.
many ways to highlight your beauty without having hair. Try
some of the following ideas to adorn your crown as you go
through the process of restoring your health.
and more hats! With winter on its way, knitted hats of all
sizes and colors are available now in local stores. Beanies,
berets, skull caps, and every fuzzy ball caps are available
for reasonable prices. There are also great fedoras,
newsboys and crocheted Tams that can be worn with or without
also come in a variety of fabrics, textures and lengths. You
can even take an old pair of leggings and repurpose them as
a head tie. Stores such as Joann’s and Walmart carry fabric
ranging from $1 to $15 per yard. The possibilities are
endless. You may also find lightweight scarves that are
often used as clothing accessories, to be perfect to
accessorize your head.
for maintaining a bald head.
You can still use conditioner with the
shampoo. It softens the scalp and allows the hair to grow
back in healthy.
Protect your scalp from the sun and wind.
Use head coverings such as hats and head wraps to protect
The best time to shave it is right after
a shower, when the hair is softened.
Use aloe vera gel instead of shaving
cream. It has no chemicals or preservatives and is gentle on
Shave in the direction of growth!
Going against the grain may cause ingrown hairs.
Weaves. Many women will wear wigs while going through cancer
treatments. They give an immediate boost of confidence and
makes pretty happen quickly. While it may feel good to just
slap on old “Carol” or whatever name you may give your wigs,
take care as to not do anything that can scar the scalp.
Find a wig that is close to your hair
color, so it looks natural, unless you are into bold and
Choose a wig that feels natural to the
Be mindful if it can be styled with heat.
There are many non-human hair wigs that can be heat styled
Try a human hair wig if you have the
budget for it. It can be treated like your own hair.
Ask a stylist to customize a wig for you.
It may be costly, but it will fit your own head and be cut
and styled to suit you.
If you are low on money, try
organizations like Transform My Beauty to see if they offer
free wigs for women undergoing cancer treatments. The owner
of Transform My Beauty is a Toledo, Ohio native and cancer
survivor who creates custom wigs as well as donates them to
women with cancer. To learn more, visit transformybeauty.com
and click on the “Free Wigs” link.
feeling beautiful while fighting such an ugly disease is
possible. Sometimes just putting on a little lip gloss and a
pair of earrings can change a woman’s mood, any woman, who
isn’t feeling at her best. No matter the changes the body
faces during illness, many have learned to accept the things
they cannot change, and take things one day and one step at
a time. For Robin Roberts and Chris Tia-Donaldson, they have
also learned to take life’s lemons and make lemonade as they
remain at the top of their game as public personalities.