Gina Maisanodoesn’t want you to take any chances with your health.
The Long Island resident got breast cancer twice in a six year period. While undergoing chemotherapy and radiation during both bouts, she suffered the common side effects of dry, scarred skin and painful, swollen feet. She struggled to find skin care products that alleviated her particular symptoms.
Moreover, once she began to pay closer attention to cosmetics labels, she realized they were chock full of ingredients that are known carcinogens and hormone disruptors—red flags for anyone, much less a two-time cancer survivor.
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"I started to search out what I could do to prevent my getting it again—and also, my friends and family who didn't want to get cancer in the first place," she says. "There's a direct correlation between what you put on your skin being absorbed into your body."
The idea forBeterre Skin + Care, which Maisano launched this July, was born out of her desire to create a safe, non-toxic cosmetic line for any health-conscious consumer, while also providing targeted treatments for the skin ailments common to chemo patients.
As the founder of theNo Surrender Breast Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit that provides resources and support for breast cancer patients and survivors, Maisano is committed to helping women fight the disease—as well as take steps that could prevent them from getting it.
The twelve product lineis free of parabens, phthalates, BHT and other harmful ingredients—the likes of which you’d find on a“Chemicals of Concern” listfrom theBreast Cancer Fund’sCampaign for Safe Cosmetics, a watchdog group that both educates consumers about what’s in their beauty products and provides non-toxic alternatives.
Maisano helped devise the formulas with the help of a botanical chemist and the medical consultation ofbrand partners Dr. Ron Israeli and Dr. Randall Feingold,the doctors who performed her reconstructive surgery.
The serums, salves and moisturizers draw on essential oils and botanical extracts that have both dermatological and medicinal properties. And they’re all multi-use.
TheSalve-A-Tion,a balm made of ingredients like sea buckthorn oil and Vitamin E, treats the raw and red skin caused by constant tearing of the eyes, a common side effect of some chemos, says Maisano.“But it’s good for anyone with chapped skin. Nursing mothers can use it on their nipples,” she says.
Rescue Me foot creamsoothes hot and achy “chemo feet,” but also provides relief for athletes or folks who are on their feet all day long for work. It uses arnica, a medicinal herb that reduces pain, and shea and coconut butter for moisturizing.
For more information visitwww.beterre.com.