Unlike many cancer patients, Sandra Bullock’s beloved mother did not lose her hair while undergoing chemotherapy. Says Sandra, “We have enough hair in our family to weave a rug or clothe an entire village. But her skin was extremely dry, and she felt like her nerve endings were on fire. Everything that touched her skin had to be extra soft, and she was constantly applying moisturizer.”
These are the types of personal stories that Dr. Ava Shamban, founder and director of the AVA MD Laser Institute for Dermatology and the Recovery Skin Care Clinic, recounts in her excellent new book, Heal Your Skin: The Breakthrough Plan for Renewal (Wiley). The doctor, also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at UCLA, tells me that it is also one of the major complaints that many of her patients who are survivors have with chemotherapy in general.
Nancy, for example, who ran a large children’s charity in Los Angeles, and was a board member of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Los Angeles Opera, experienced a multitude of skin side effects from her cancer therapies. “It was she, in fact,” says Dr. Shamban, “who taught me how important it is to give patients undergoing treatment, skin that not only looks good but feels good. And because of her I began to realize that there is a large population who suffer from skin conditions induced by their protocol but who have nowhere to turn with questions about skin care.”