Losing lashes and eyebrows is a common side effect of chemo, and the regrowth period can be painfully slow! The team at #OurTribe got together to compile their best tips and products to help you through this time.
During chemo, tribe member Jessica used ice packs to brows and lashes, like tiny cold caps for your face. The use of cold closes (or "vasodilates" if you're feeling fancy) the blood supply where it's applied, and this prevents the chemo from penetrating these regions. For those who have already lost lashes, eye drops are a must have in your purse as your eyes are more likely to become irritated. If irritation persists or eyes become red, speak to your oncology nurse about a prescription drop. Paige Woodward, NP, likes Systane or Refresh Drops.
For others, a lack of eyelashes can cause constant eye tearing. Since you’ll need to carry tissues with you anyways, why not be eco-friendly with these organic cotton cuties.
Several tribe members used castor oil at the base of their lashes to promote growth. Castor oil contains a high percent of Ricinoleic acid which penetrate the pores of skin and hair follicles and is essential in hair growth. It is also antibacterial, extremely moisturizing and has anti-acne abilities! Castor oil's main downside is it's gloppy consistency, and as tribe member Emma puts it, “let’s just say it’s definitely only a night time ritual!” To make the process less messy, BaeBody’s Castor oil serum comes with teeny tiny lash line sized brushes. It can be used on brows as well.
While you're waiting for the Castor oil treatment to kick in, Cherry Blooms will give you the look of salon lash extensions that are easy to apply at home.
It adds microfibers to your existing lashes, and luckily it’s waterproof in case you fall into the “eyes water all the time” category.
Skin Research Laboratories Neulash and Neubrow are favorites of tribe member Lori. According to Lori, even before chemo her eyebrows were lacking, but since using Neubrow, she no longer "draws" her eyebrows on before leaving the house!
One downside, she noticed when not using the product, her lashes and brows returned to their prior, thinner state.
The priciest, but perhaps most lauded in the Tribe, is Rodan + Field’s Enhancements lash boost. in about 8 weeks, This nightly eyelash-conditioning serum features a unique proprietary formula thickens and lengthens stubbly post chemo lashes.
If all the products in the world still don’t stimulate your brows, Microblading is a more permanent solution. Check out our blog post for more info.
Do you have any favorite products or tips to help bring back your eybrows and lashes? If so comment below, we’d love to learn from you!
Is it a power surge? Or tropical vacation for one? Whatever it is, we're not amused.
Hot Flashes are a particularly irksome, and odd side effect of menopause. I was curious as to why they happen- just what part of leaving child bearing age has to do with sudden uncontrollable heat? The Mayoclinic.org revealed what I had begun to suspect after a quick google search: the cause of hot flashes during menopause is unknown. It’s suspected that decrease in estrogen as well as changes in the hypothalamus (the body’s thermostat) are to blame.
Whatever the reason, I think we can all agree they are TERRIBLE! And although there is no “quick fix” solution, I’ve complied suggestions from Tribe Members to try and make them more tolerable.
This one seems a little on the obvious side, but worth mentioning. The Mayo Clinic recommends dressing in layers to remove if you start to get warm, as well as keeping the ambient temperature on the lower side. Tribe Member Carrie is a big fan of the Evian facial mist spray. "I want to share with my fellow warriors this amazing remedy that I use for hot flashes. It is worth it's weight in gold. The mist and canister stays cool.”
If a cool mist of water in the face isn’t enough, try adding the power of an electric fan. Tribe member Debra is a fan of this portable model: "I bring mine everywhere. It also folds so you can rest it down without holding it. I brought it to dinners, doc appts, everywhere."
However, there are times when a woman needs the refreshing breeze of a fan, AND a sexy, retro accessory. For those times, Tribe member Delaney suggests this hand held beauty.
A good deodorant:
If you’re going to sweat, a powerful deodorant is key. And if you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, chances are you pay special attention to what you put in your armpits. Most conventional deodorants include potentially harmful chemicals, including Aluminum (linked to alzheimer's disease) and parabens (which can mimic estrogen). Many of the #OurTribe members in our private FB group have done extensive research on this topic and test drove a variety of all natural products.
Schmidt's was voted "Most Popular" for having graced the majority of our armpits and keeping us sweet smelling and dry. At time of this writing, there was still no consensus as to the best scent, however Lime had a slight lead in the polls.
Lavanilla gets a special mention in the scent category and also a nod for long lasting results
An insider tip about adopting a natural deodorant lifestyle is there is often a stinky "detox" phase when your armpits are adjusting. The charcoal and apple cider in this soap help kill the stink making bacteria helping your new natural deodorant do its job more effectively.
What have you found to be most effective for dealing with hot flashes? Share in comments, we’d love to learn from you!
by Stacey R
I am one of the very few whose brows never came back after chemo. Mind you, I went through chemo twice, which I am sure didn't help the situation. I began resenting the amount of time it took to draw on my brows in the morning and began investigating my options. There’s Latisse, which is a gel approved by the FDA to grow eyelashes, but has been used “off label” to grow eyebrows as well. Most users begin to see changes in 4 to 6 weeks, with the biggest improvement between weeks 12 and 16. Latisse doesn’t work for everyone (unfortunately, including me) and results only last as long as you use the product. Another, more extreme option was an eyebrow hair transplant. For this, they remove a strip of hair from your scalp and then graft individual hair follicles into your brow. Because you now have head hair for eyebrows, you need to trim it fairly often and may need to “train” the hair to act more, er, eyebrow-y. No thank you.
After sharing my eyebrow tales of woe with a gal at my plastic surgeon’s office, she mentioned that a friend of hers did permanent makeup. No, not like the sharpie drawn on kind Michael Jackson or past-her-prime Elizabeth Taylor wore (may they rest in peace). This technique, called “microblading,” uses precise, individual strokes to recreate your brow. Because the ink in microblading is applied closer to the surface of the skin than with tattooing, it needs to be touched up every 1 to 3 years.
I got them done for the first time about a year ago. It was 2 sessions, 2-3 weeks apart, and let me be clear, she basically recreated my brows from scratch. Each session lasted about 3-4 hours and the pain is minimal…truly. It's not like getting a regular tattoo, because it doesn't go as deep, so you barely feel it. It is actually kind of relaxing and she told me she's had people fall asleep in her chair. I got mine touched up last weekend and am just as in love with them as I was a year ago. They actually look better than my real brows used to look. If your eyebrows need some help, I highly recommend permanent makeup.