The Role of Oncology Esthetics in Cancer Care

The Role of Oncology Esthetics in Cancer Care

In my almost two decades of practicing esthetics, I've met some amazing clients. These relationships span years and I get to experience their life events and milestones. Along the way, I'd notice clients who would take a "skincare hiatus" - I wouldn't see them for months, even longer. And when they'd return, they would share their cancer journey with me. The fear, anxiety, anger and joy (because they triumphed) are always palpable.
Traditional esthetics training taught us to pause professional skincare services during cancer treatment, but that just never made sense to me. It's a time, arguably, when my client's skin needed the most help. Even traditional medicine has embraced a more holistic approach to cancer treatment, supporting more integrative care.
A cancer diagnosis can be a life-altering event, impacting not only physical health but also emotional well-being. For those navigating the challenging journey of cancer treatment, finding moments of comfort and self-care can be transformative. This is where the field of oncology esthetics steps in, offering an approach that focuses on enhancing the overall well-being of cancer patients.

Understanding Oncology Esthetics

Oncology esthetics is a specialized branch of skincare and beauty therapy that caters specifically to those affected by cancer. Trained estheticians in this field possess an understanding of the physiological and psychological changes that cancer treatments can cause, including skin sensitivities, changes in hair and nail health, and overall fatigue.
  1. Compassionate and Inclusive Care

    Oncology estheticians are specially trained to provide compassionate, inclusive care to cancer patients. The last thing someone on their cancer journey needs to hear is that they're "untouchable". On the contrary, trained estheticians understand the unique side effects that cancer treatments can cause and are able tailor skincare services to meet the specific needs of their clients. This creates a safe and supportive environment where clients can relax and focus on their well-being.

  2. Addressing Skin Sensitivities

    Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can often lead to skin sensitivities and irritation. Oncology estheticians use thoughtfully formulated products to soothe and nourish delicate skin. This not only provides physical relief but also promotes a sense of comfort and confidence.

  3. Restoring Self-Image

    The physical changes that accompany cancer treatment can have a profound impact on a person's self-esteem. Oncology estheticians are skilled in techniques that help restore a sense of normalcy, including skin care routines that address issues like dryness, redness, and pigmentation changes.

  4. Emotional Well-Being

    A crucial aspect of oncology esthetics is its focus on emotional well-being. Spa treatments, massage therapy, and relaxation techniques offered by trained estheticians can help alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression, which are common emotional challenges faced by cancer patients.

  5. Education and Empowerment

    Oncology estheticians play a vital role in educating patients about self-care practices that can be incorporated into their daily routines. This empowers individuals to take an active role in their own well-being, fostering a sense of control and agency during a time when they may feel overwhelmed.

Oncology esthetics is a powerful adjunct to traditional cancer care, addressing the unique physical and emotional needs of individuals undergoing treatment. At Sesen, we offer the Care & Comfort Manicure, Pedicure & Facial which focuses on our client's overall well-being, through a holistic approach that recognizes the importance of both body and spirit in the healing process.

If you're not local to the Washington, DC metro area, we've listed some resources below to help you find trained professionals near you:

Oncology Spa Solutions

Nancy's List

And if you're not quite ready for in-spa services, that's okay. We've highlighted our product recommendations for at-home care (see below). These products are thoughtfully formulated and focused on nurturing, soothing and hydrating your skin. (cleanser, exfolianttoner, hydrating spray, AM moisturizer and PM moisturizer)