Look Good Feel Better is a national free, non-medical, brand-neutral program dedicated to helping you face cancer with confidence.
While most changes in your appearance are temporary, we believe that taking control of your appearance is one of the simplest and most effective ways to boost your self-esteem and confidence while going through treatment.
Caring for your skincare and make-up products
During cancer treatment you are at increased risk of infection, so it is important that you are conscious of how you are using and keeping your skincare and make-up products:
- Make sure your hands are clean before applying any products.
- Tightly close all jars, tubes, and other make-up containers.
- Apply lotions and creams with clean cotton balls, sponges, or cotton swabs rather than dipping your fingers into jars.
- Always check the expiry date on your products and replace them as required. Look for an illustration of a jar with a number inside it on jars, tubes or compacts. This symbol indicates the number of months the product can be used for after opening.
- Use clean brushes or disposable applicators to apply powder-based products.
- Do not share your cosmetics or applicators with anyone.
- Always test new make-up products on the back of your hand or wrist first, not your face.
Look Good Feel Better Australia follows the Cancer Council’s recommendations in regards to sunscreen use. That is, that a minimum SPF30 broad spectrum sun protection is applied at least 20 minutes before going outdoors and re-applied at least every two hours.
Sunscreen needs to be applied liberally – at least one teaspoon on each limb, front and back of the body, and half a teaspoon for the face, neck and ears. Most people apply less than half this amount, which means they get far less protection than the SPF stated on the bottle.
Sunscreen must always be stored in a cool and dry place under 25 degrees celsius and disposed of if past its expiry date. No sunscreen, even if it is reapplied regularly, offers complete protection against UV radiation.
Always use sunscreen in conjunction with other forms of sun protection like clothing that covers as much skin as possible, a hat, sunglasses and seek shade when outdoors.
The Cancer Council also recommends patch testing of sunscreen prior to first time use. Patch testing is especially important for those undergoing cancer treatment, as skin can be particularly sensitive during this time.
How do sunscreens work?
Sunscreens either absorb or reflect UV radiation. Sunscreens do this via ingredients called ‘UV filters’. There are two main types of sunscreens:
chemical sunscreens (that most of us are used to) absorb UV rays and must be applied on clean, dry skin before moisturiser, and take 20 minutes to work
physical sunscreens (like zinc) reflect UV rays and as their name suggests, provide a physical barrier. They are applied to the skin after other skin care, and before make-up
A sunscreen may contain one or both types of UV filters, since different filters are effective against different UV wavelengths.
What does broad spectrum mean?
The sun produces two types of UV radiation that can damage the skin: UVA and UVB. Broad-spectrum sunscreens provide protection from both types of radiation. Broad spectrum performance is determined by an internationally recognised test procedure.
Please also note that all primary sunscreens on the Australian market are subject to rigorous safety checks by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and must additionally meet mandatory quality and performance tests specified by Australian Standards.
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Consult your health professional if you have any questions or concerns.
We’ve put together some guides to help you take control of the most common appearance-related side-effects of treatment: