Cancer: how to wear make-up without danger?

Updated on October 06, 2022 at 2:36 p.m.

Cancer: how to wear make-up without danger?

Cancer: how to wear make-up without danger? – © iStock – DGLimages

Far from being superficial, makeup can be a real help for women with cancer. Explanations.

Anti-cancer therapies have heavy effects on the mental and the physical of the patients. To feel better, women undergoing chemotherapy sometimes feel the need to wear makeup but do not know if they can do it and how. Carine Larchet, professional make-up artist and manager of the La Roche-Posay corrective workshop, has been advising them for several years.

Read also: How the pandemic accelerated makeup counterfeiting

“Women often wonder if they can wear makeup. Yes of course. It is a very nice tool to enhance your image or in any case to optimize your morale during treatments. There are many for whom makeup has been a help and has allowed them to be more resistant to treatment. The abandonment of treatment is indeed often linked to a drop in morale. A little lipstick, a little blush… it can give them courage to face chemo. They tell me: “I need to feel beautiful and worthy to go to the front”. In fact, they want us to help them find the way they looked at themselves. » A valuable psychological aid to limit the depression linked to sudden life changes. But be careful not to do anything with makeup, warns the expert.

Appropriate makeup

“We are on skin that is dry, weakened, which marks much more quickly so we have to be careful. We need adapted products that will have simplified formulations in order to avoid interactions with the effects of chemo. Reactive skin is unpredictable and no longer supports the makeup products that women used to use. You need comfort and softness and thus move towards soothing, moisturizing products to accompany radiotherapy burns and healing when there has been surgery. At La Roche-Posay, they can use the Tolériane range which has been validated by oncological tests, therefore by toxicologists and oncologists on patients over a long period of time. Thus, certain ingredients that make up basic make-up products should be avoided: active ingredients, alcohol, parabens… anything that will attack a fragile epidermis or make it photosensitize. We are therefore moving towards dermo-cosmetic products (which take care of the beauty and health of women), short formulas and comforting textures. And this, at least six months after stopping treatment.

And the make-up removal? It must be done gently with milk, balm or oil – without essential oil. For this, it is necessary to bet on dermo-cleansers, soaps without soap to clean the face. For the make-up of the eyes, a two-phase or a glycerinated micellar water which creates a protective envelope for the skin will do the job perfectly. We take care of our skin more than ever by thinking about hydration, especially before putting on makeup.


The important thing if we have the slightest doubt? Be accompanied by a professional, from the oncologist to the socio-esthetician. These will indeed be able to direct us towards dedicated make-up, or even makeup care. A 2 in 1 not to be overlooked. For example, it is advisable to apply silicon-based nail polish which will strengthen the nail matrix to prevent it from being altered. On the eyes, we choose a mascara – not waterproof, too drying – with a small silicone brush to be able to catch the eyelashes in regrowth or, if you have no more eyelashes, an eyeliner on the upper eyelid which will recall the fringe of natural eyelashes. As for the mouth, it is often pale because chemotherapy can lead to anemia. Our make-up artist advises using colors close to the natural pigmentation of the lips with copper, pink or even red, but avoiding chocolates and purples which yellow the teeth.

For the complexion, we favor luminous finishes to give freshness to dry skin and we avoid colors that are too bright or dark which could dull the complexion. Also favor coral or rosewood blushes and avoid sun-kissed earth for a better glow. As for the eyebrows, you have to succeed in raising them naturally. The best technique is to work them hair by hair rather than drawing them. Too drawn eyebrows can stigmatize the absence of the eyebrow because it will be too visible. “The pencil does the job very well, you just have to choose the shade carefully, favoring beige or taupe tones and avoiding too dark browns that tend to black or reds that tend to orange.” “Which fits best? Makeup you feel good in.

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