Make-up, tattoos and tans – staying ‘you’ through cancer

Makeup, skin tone, piercings and tattoos might be an important part of who you are. Feeling like the decision to make changes to your body is still within your control, even if you have to temporarily put things on hold, can make a big difference to how empowered you feel.


Makeup can play an important role in boosting confidence and feeling more like yourself.

  • Makeup counters can give you advice on the best products for your skin and also show you how to apply them
  • Look Good Feel Better is a charity that specialises in makeup for people with cancer. Your care team may be able to direct you to one of the workshops they run in your local area.

Fake tan

Lots of us feel better when we have a bronzed glow. Choose tanning products for sensitive skin and definitely avoid sunbeds altogether as UV rays can increase the risk of skin cancer later in life.

  • When using lotion, apply it to a small area first to be sure it doesn’t cause a reaction or irritate your skin
  • There’s no need to hide from the sun but be sensible and protect yourself using sun care products with a high sun protection factor (SPF)

For any specific questions, speak to a member of your hospital team.

Tattoos and piercings

Tattooing and body piercing can be a great way to express yourself but it’s best to wait until after your treatment as you’re at a higher risk of picking up infections.

  • Waiting isn’t fun for anyone but being patient will mean you have something to look forward to after your treatment
  • Like Seren in her video below, it might also make getting a tattoo more meaningful given the experience you’ve been through.

Seren talks about her experience of tattoos and piercings during and after her cancer, as well as how she used makeup to make herself feel better on treatment.

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