Surviving Beautifully: Fighting Breast Cancer with Beauty and Grace

About 1 in 8 U.S. women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Along with the emotional and internal stressors of treatment, women also deal with changes in their appearance — including very dry skin, thinned or no hair and the realization that their go-to beauty looks and products no longer do the trick. As organizations like Look Good Feel Better show, these physical changes have a profound effect on how a woman feels about herself. But the right makeup and skin care can completely change her outlook for the better!
Women surviving cancer deserve to feel empowered, feminine and beautiful. Here are some beauty tips and products designed to help women feel beautiful as they endure cancer treatment.



Skin becomes overly dry and sensitive during chemotherapy and radiation, because the treatment is designed to attack rapidly dividing cells in the body. While this target cancer cells, it also includes normal cells like those in your skin. Eyes can also appear sunken in, which is often exacerbated by weight loss and stress. In this situation, women should treat themselves to a daily skincare routine that optimizes their weak skin barrier and keeps skin pH-balanced, so it can absorb much-needed nutrients and resist environmental pollutants.
·         Cleanse morning and evening with a gentle pH balanced cleanser that will balance the skin without irritation. Dr. Sherry Ingraham, board certified dermatologist, recommends Sebamed Liquid Face & Body Wash.
·         Trade in your regular lotion for a two-step moisturizing routine formulated for dry skin. Your skin will need additional moisture during this time, and a morning/night two-step system will go further than regular lotion, giving your skin the hydration it needs at all times of day. Sebamed Day Defense and Night Intensive Moisturizing Cream work together to target extra dry skin and restore the essential moisture balance of dry skin.
·         An anti-aging eye cream will help treat dryness, dark circles and puffiness and offer added protection to the delicate area. Try DECLÉOR Expression De L’Age Relaxing Eye Cream.


Base Makeup:
Pale, sallow skin is often a side effect of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments due to the loss of red blood cells. Women can follow some strategic tips when choosing/applying foundation, and concealer can give the skin an even and healthy glow.
·         Apply a color-correcting moisturizer or concealer under foundation. Green tints neutralize red skin and lavender tints neutralize yellow skin. Merle Norman Cosmetics Cover Up comes in 12 shades that will help treat many skin inconsistencies.
·         When applying concealer, borrow a method from the professionals called stippling. Rather than applying one heavy coat of concealer, apply a small dot, and use a sponge to blot and blend. Repeat applying small dots and stippling until you've covered the imperfection.
·         When picking a foundation, try a liquid, cream or moisturizing formula if your skin feels dry or dehydrated. It will also be easier to blend into delicate skin. Try Merle Norman Sheer Defense Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 15.



Just like the hair on your head, Cancer treatments can cause thinning of the eyebrows as well. There are several ways to recreate your eyebrows if they have thinned or fallen out:
·         Choose an eyebrow pencil in a shade that resembles your hair color and fill in your eyebrow area with light, feathery strokes in an upward motion. Blend as needed.
·         Highlighting your eyes with shadow, liner and mascara will brighten and emphasize the area and take focus away from changes in your skin, if need be.
·         Counteract tired, sunken in looking eyes by using jewel-toned eye shadow. This will add warmth and vibrancy to the area.
·         For ultimate definition of the eyes, try using a liquid liner in a dark color. Merle Norman Pro Pen Eyeliner is super easy to apply and gives the eye an intense, dramatic look.
·         To thicken thinning eyelashes, apply several light coats of mascara. For an added bonus, you may apply loose face powder to lashes in between coats for a thicker appearance. Merle Norman Flawless Effect Loose Powder makes an ideal setting for makeup and is safe for contact lens wearers.
·         False eyelashes are a great way to create thick, full lashes. However, do this only after seeking your doctor's approval as the adhesive may cause problems.


Losing your hair during cancer treatments can be one of the most difficult side effects. Some women may lose all or some of their hair while others don’t lose any. However, you have many options in taking care of it during this time.
·         Use gentle, non-irritating shampoos during treatment. Try Sebamed Everyday Shampoo.
·         Avoid blow dryers, curling irons and other heat-styling tools.
·         If hair loss does occur, there are many solutions to fit your needs—whether it be wigs, hats, scarves or even going without any of the above.


For more product info, visit:



Merle Norman Cosmetics


Thanks to 5WPR for the story idea and product recommendations!

Ribbon: Dawn Poland/Getty Images Entertainment

Skincare: i love images/Getty Images Entertainment

Base Makeup: Pierre Bourrier/Getty Images Entertainment

Eye Makeup: Brad Wilson/Getty Images Entertainment

Hair: Image Source/Getty Images Entertainment

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