Medical cancer treatment is often accompanied by appearancerelated side effects such as hair loss, skin irritation, and paleness, which can subsequently lead to psychosocial distress. Initial evidence suggests that beauty care interventions may reduce distress and improve quality of life (QoL), body image, and selfesteem immediately.
We investigated the effects of a brief beauty care intervention on selfreported symptoms of depression, quality of life, body image, and selfesteem in 39 female primary breast cancer patients with appearancerelated treatment side effects. Patients were randomly assigned either to an immediate intervention group (IG) or to a waitlist control (WL). The intervention consisted of a singlesession group makeup workshop, a photo shooting, and of receiving professionally edited portrait and upperbody photos.
While groups did not differ regarding any measure at the pretreatment baseline assessment, IG patients reported less symptoms of depression, higher QoL, and higher selfesteem compared with baseline and compared with WL. Followup at 8 weeks indicated moderate stability of these improvements.
In contrast to previous research, results indicate beneficial shortterm and midterm effects of beauty care on psychological outcomes in patients with early breast cancer. These results emphasize the utility of this type of brief, lowcost intervention in women undergoing medical cancer treatment in order to improve their wellbeing.