They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What one-person finds beautiful, another may not. Beauty in things and people only exists in the mind that contemplates them. I recently wrote a post about my freak accident in my DIY hair coloring experience and the loss of some of my hair. Even though I was aware that using harsh chemicals during chemotherapy treatment was a huge “no-no”, my vanity prevailed me and I went ahead and dyed my hair despite the consequences that it may have. I spent the remainder of that evening criminalizing myself over my vaingloriousness and my lack of consideration for my actions.
Finally after degrading myself to a self-proclaimed narcissist, I found my bravado and said to hell with it. I realized it wasn’t a crime or a sin to crave making myself feel enhanced. When one feels decent about themselves, particularly during chemotherapy, when there are so many exterior side effects, does not mean that they don’t deserve to feel fabulous on the outside while their insides are waging a war.
Clearly chemotherapy does a number on your interior, but the impacts that it has on your exterior can really do a number on your self-esteem. It can range from hair loss, to fingernail loss, to dry, rashy and irregular pigmentation on your skin. Of course not every person battling chemo has the same effects, but lately I have been noticing my skin has been the greatest target in the bull’s-eye that chemo goes after.
There was once a time when I wouldn’t leave the house without a full face of makeup. Makeup was my safety net, my camouflage against the flaws I thought I had and that others would observe. Once I was diagnosed with cancer and began chemotherapy, I noticed that I no longer cared about going out in public with a makeup-less face. So be it if people didn’t find me visually appealing due to my lack of being gussied up. I barely had the energy to get out of bed, let alone put myself together. As time went on, I noticed that it was liberating to not feel the need to put makeup on for the sake of others, but in the same regard, I realized that getting ready made me feel better about myself. When I was dolled up, I felt less sick, at least from the outside. I grasped that I couldn’t trivialize myself for wanting to keep up my appearance during illness. In fact, it gave me all the more ump to get up and look my best. Now when I go to chemotherapy sessions, I make it my mission to look like a million bucks.
However, more recently the cause and effect of chemo has bequeathed itself upon my poor skin. For a period of time I was going monthly to get facials and when filling out the paperwork where “health conditions” was required, I would hesitantly write “cancer” . Once they were aware of my condition, I was treated as though I had the plague and they were resistant on touching me with a ten foot pole. Taking matters into my own hands, I decided that the commonly dark under eye circles, dry skin and irregular pigmentation was something I would have to tackle myself. I began researching things that help to revive skin when going through chemo. There are three key ingredients, SPF, creamy face wash with minimal chemicals and zero alcohol and a dewy daily and nightly moisturizer. All things Aveno became my new best friend and go-to for my entire facial needs. After some time, I slowly began to see results that my skin was coming back to life. While I still have the dark under eyes from the chemo effects, my skin has become less dry and I overall feel better about myself with or without makeup because of my skin care rituals.
My point is, one must do what makes them feel good. Whether it is being makeup free or putting on a full face, chemo girls must find what is right for them and do just that. Beauty can be a very ambiguous term, but the way I see beauty is by being balanced from the inside out. The makeup and skin regimen just helps me feel a little bit better about myself and allows me to confidently fight back against this cancer. After all, the cancer is an epic battle and I will win it, with my full face of makeup on. Looking good, means feeling better…💋
PS- I recently read a great book called, “Beauty Pearls for Chemo Girls” written by Marybeth Maida and Debbie Kiederer, with a foreword by Betsey Johnson. The writers are cancer survivors that first handedly saw the effects that chemo can have on one’s self-esteem with regards to feeling beautified. This book provides TONS of advice as far as what to do about skin care, makeup, hair loss and stylish tips for those battling cancer and chemotherapy.