Cancer patients love luxury too!
Just because your friend has had to exist in a sterile environment, doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate luxury – and in spades!
So what can you give them?
As a patient, one often has the specialist nurse who frowns on anything that has the slightest touch of glamour! Many is the one who has grabbed a skincare product to search for any suspect ingredients.
I try to tell them that any chemicals manufacturers might include, wouldn’t even come within a mile of the poisons that get pumped into our bodies during cancer treatment – but all I get is sour looks!
Or else they tell you piously, “I couldn’t possibly recommend anything commercial”, and get cross when it is pointed out that drug companies are some of the most profitable companies in the world!
But don’t let this put you off. Cancer patients LOVE getting gifts, small or large.
A few ‘rules’ to help in choosing a present
- If a product is scented – either buy something your friend already uses, or look for the ‘old’ flower perfumes. Lavender and rose in particular were often, and still are, used as antiseptics.
- Most manufacturers have taken parabens out of products because of some dodgy publicity. However, if you ask a nurse to show you ingredients for IVs, often they contain parabens! Or ask if they recommend Blueberrries – apparently they contain parabens!
- However, it makes sense to avoid the ‘chemical’ designer scents that are around, particulary those ‘celebrity’ perfumes that are produced just for Christmas market. These can sometimes produce allergies. Look for old-fashioned ones, that have stood the test of time.
- If anything has a screw top, or is difficult to open, try to make sure the person’s hands are strong enough to cope.
I am NOT medically qualified, so if your friend is still in isolation during treatment, please ask a doctor or nurse what is suitable.
All of the following companies take great care with their products, and most cancer patients enjoy using them. Ask the demonstrators at major in-store beauty counters if any of them do voluntary work at hospices; they can tell which of their products are most suitable, but in the meantime here are some of the best products to help ‘cancer drug skin’.
And if you live outside the UK, and want to order online, delete co.uk ending and try .com – if that doesn’t work Google!
Avène is one of those French companies that developed clinically-trialled products designed to help problem skins. If only our dermatologists in Britain would go over to France and see what their doctors prescribe (these or similar products), we might get more help with skin problems.
The basis of all their products is the thermal waters that gush out of the mountain; their laboratories are constantly seeking new solutions to skin problems, and they undertake numerous clinical trials in hospitals.
Anyway, they make a whole range of suitable products; best thing is to either find a major chemist that stocks their products, or go online and see what is available in your price range. www.avene.co.uk
This is the ‘medical’ arm of the great Estée Lauder empire; the company that started pink ribbons and has done an enormous amount for cancer care. Currently I am enjoying using their Comfort on Call cream, which is also allergy tested, and described as a relief cream. This means it is just right to smooth out all the bumps and rough skin we get as a side effect of drugs – darn them.
Another good cream is their Moisture Surge – which does exactly what it says to dried up faces! Bliss! Most of their creams cost around £30 – £35, and are very good value for money.
The also make eye serums, and their famous Dramatically Different Moisture Lotion – a staple of the Look Good, Feel Better beauty boxes handed out to us when we have those wonderful make-up lessons. www.clinique.co.uk
And each Christmas, they gather together gift sets with all the goodies that we love, in attractive packs.
Each pack aims to help with a specific problem, be is rough body skin or dull facial problems; then they offer several suitable products at a knock-down price – saving a lot!
They are famous for Bath products: foams, washes and body lotions in gorgeous scents.
They make very good face creams: for cleansing, toning, moisturising and for an extra boost at night.
And also have a marvellous treatment spa at their HQ in Lancashire Court, just behind Bond Street. If you want to give a really special present, give a voucher for a treatment here.
Living Nature are really natural, organic products, made in New Zealand. 80% of their native plants are indigenous and many have remarkable bioactive properties. Sourced from forests, lands and seas, Living Nature’s active ingredients come from the most potent of these unique plants.
And the really nice thing is that these products are endorsed by New Zealand’s cancer organisations.
They make a range of products, packaged in their distinctive eco-friendly style – find them on www.livingnature.com
Neom makes body oils that celebrities really use.
There is a gift box containing all five Neom Bath Oils (Lavender, Jasmine, Rosewood etc.) in small trial sizes, which pack a massive ‘feel good’ aroma whenever you use one. £15.
Now their latest oils are in a spray bottle, and I have been trying out the ‘Tranquility’ Organic Body Oil, containing Lavender and Sweet Basil. This really does calm you down, and might be just the present for someone who has difficulty sleeping – have a bath at bedtime and spray it all over – bliss!
NEOM say their “Luxury Organic Bath Oils are made with a vitamin E packed certified organic Safflower base & Jojoba to leave your skin soft and toxin free; if you use them during the day your skin really glows and feels good all day. For once, the hype says what it means. www.neomorganics.com
Containing coconut oil and ginger, this is what I would best describe as a mega-zapper for the dreadful dry skin one gets – particularly when you first go on certain drugs. You take a teaspoon of the butter from the jar, rub it in your hands and it soon becomes almost liquid, soothing and softening as it goes. £22.
Suitable for vegetarians , and especially useful in the winter, when skin needs an extra boost to counter winter winds. www.peachykeenorganics.co.uk
Have fun – and don’t forget to buy something for yourself!