Oncology treatments often compromise skin function. “Chemotherapy makes the skin dry because the drugs used interfere with oil and sweat glands. The decrease in the skin’s moisture level can create severe dry patches, inflammation, itching, soreness/sensitivity and cracked skin,” explains Merilyn Konnerth, founder of Pharmacist’s Daughter.
Beyond that, “radiation,…while targeting an internal site, automatically subjects the exterior skin layer to repeated intense heat causing a condition similar to a severe sunburn. Itching, peeling and blistering at the treatment site are not uncommon,” states Konnerth.
Skin care formulated to address these conditions is a decidedly niche segment.
In touch with reality
Consumers and professionals searching for products to ease such concerns are quite selective. Charlotte Dorsey, an oncology esthetician “looks for chemical-free, sulfate-free products for sensitive skin and avoids mineral oil and petroleum that she says can act as sealants rather than moisturizers. She also says hydration is key,” reports Lisa Sigell of CBS Los Angeles.
In her work with patients, Dorsey uses products in combination with touch therapy.
Home spun ingenuity
Pharmacist’s Daughter founder and formulator Konnerth is indeed the daughter of a pharmacist and is keen to bring the company’s product line to the mass market.
Skin In Treatment launched online and comprises a portfolio of products from creams and balms to lotions, oils, mists, and cleansers. These are formulated with botanical ingredients, in keeping with consumer expectations.
Boost cream body moisturizer, for instance, incorporates murumuru seed butter, calendula-infused olive oil, shea butter and jojoba oil. Murumuru seed is “a natural emollient known for its anti-inflammatory benefits and bactericide properties,” according to the company site.
Spun silk ingredients
Like the Pharmacist’s Daughter’s brand, Silk Therapeutics debuted online. That company’s current product line is made up of skin care items formulated with silk protein (not silk byproducts).
Silk Therapeutics is working to use the brand’s signature ingredient to deliver actives. “Pure silk can enhance skin and also effectively surround, protect and deliver a range of treatments -- from vitamin C to therapeutic agents -- with potential applications in multiple healthcare and consumer markets,” the company stated in a press release.
And, a key company objective is to develop skin care for people undergoing cancer treatments. That product line is being developed to “sooth and restore” skin affected by radiation and chemotherapy. It will also be marketed to consumers with eczema and otherwise very sensitive skin.
"Silk Therapeutics is more than a skincare line. It is a healthcare company, with great potential to improve the health and wellbeing of its customers. Silk Therapeutics' goal of creating a line of products safe enough for patients undergoing cancer treatment immediately resonated with my family," said Daniel A. Kraft, executive vice president of The Kraft Group. Silk Therapeutics announced this week that the Kraft private equity group is leading its Series 1A financing.