View All Blogs

Spa treatments

that can be safely enjoyed by people living with cancer

The Big C

Oncology therapies

Cancer patients often find it difficult to access spa and beauty treatments at a time in their life when they feel most in need of some self-care and pampering.

Happily, there are now specialist cancer friendly treatments and products that have been developed so that those fighting the Big C do not have to miss out.

We are thrilled to announce that at Woolacombe Bay Hotel, we can now offer biologist and beauty therapist Jennifer Young’s specialist spa treatments, which use her Defiant Beauty products developed in collaboration with the NHS Cancer Centre. This means people living with cancer can indulge their senses at our beautiful Alchemist Spa without worrying they are compromising their health in any way

All our spa therapists have all undergone specialist training and qualified with post graduate diploma in Oncology Therapies to ensure they can provide all the treatments and physical and psychological support cancer sufferers may need.

A common misconception used to be that massages risked spreading cancerous cells around the body. Jennifer Young looked into this claim and found there was no evidence to support it. In fact, her research suggested massage and touch could have therapeutic benefits for people living with cancer.

Here is some guidance on what spa treatments and beauty products can be safely enjoyed by people living with cancer and why.

How to choose

your beauty products

The key ingredient that people living with cancer must avoid is plant oestrogens – also known as phyto-oestrogens – as this naturally occurring hormone is associated with the formation and growth of certain cancers. This means cutting out plant oils including borage, avocado, evening primrose and soy.

Steer clear of synthetic chemicals found in many make-up and skincare products which have been linked with certain types of cancer but can also trigger skin problems such as eczema, dermatitis, skin reddening and soreness. This means avoiding products with ingredient lists including any words that end in ‘paraben’ Sodium Laurel Sulphate (SLS), petroleum, mineral oil and paraffin.

Parabens are another ingredient to avoid which are widely used as a preservative to increase the shelf life of a huge range of products such as shampoo, moisturisers and lip sticks. Studies have linked parabens to breast cancer, diabetes and childhood obesity.

Aluminium salts used in most commercial deodorants have been implicated in breast cancer.

As a rule, choose beauty products that are 100% natural and organic – and if you cannot read the ingredients list, don’t buy the product.

How to choose your treatments

Dry, sensitive skin, chapped lips and weakened nails are all common side effects of cancer treatment which means moisturising your skin and lips is of paramount importance. Try and minimise the use of soaps which will further strip moisture from your skin. Nails can also be weakened by certain treatments so anything which nourishes your hands and feet is a good idea.

This is where our expertly crafted Jennifer Young spa treatments can make all the difference, rejuvenating dry skin and pumping it full of natural goodness. So, come and visit us at the Alchemist Spa and choose between:

Indulgent massages
Indulgent massages

We offer a range of Defiant Beauty massages at the Alchemist Spa all of which are guaranteed to leave you feeling radiant and relaxed.

Using 100 per cent natural organic oils chosen to sooth and nourish the most sensitive skin, all our massages are tailored to each individual’s specific needs. The skin health boosting qualities are complemented by the calming and relaxing power of touch, kneading out any tensions from the body and scalp, to leave you feeling perfectly zen.

Our ‘Balanced Body and Mind’ massage is designed to balance your chakras – or energy centres – using crystals and lotions blended specially to relate to each different chakra depending upon where the treatment is focused.

Manicures and pedicures
Manicures and pedicures

As skin and nails often suffer during cancer treatment resulting in cracked and damaged nails and dry flaky hands and feet, a really nurturing manicure or pedicure can make a world of difference.

We combine peach kernel and macadamia oils for a manicure that will help heal any damage to leave your hands silky smooth and revitalise weakened nails. A slick of your favourite nail polish adds a dash of glamour and our therapist will talk to you through what you can do at home to better care for your nails in the future.

Our foot balm and complimentary nail oil, both made up organic natural ingredients, recondition your feet, pumping in moisture and nutrients. As with the manicure, you can choose your favourite colour nail polish to finish off the treatment and benefit from advice on keeping your feet looking and feeling their best.


Carefully formulated using products that leave skin happy and glowing, the facial combines antioxidant rich cleansers, oils and lotions with massage techniques that will allow you to sink into a state of pure relaxation.

Or you could even go for our ‘Top to Toe’ experience which includes a full body massage and facial for the ultimate indulgence. If you are undergoing cancer treatment you have every reason to treat yourself.

One of the many challenges of cancer for women is that sufferers often feel the disease strips them of their femininity, altering their appearance and cutting them off from many of the things they had previously enjoyed.

Nothing can provide a greater boost then a truly spoiling and rejuvenating spa day which leaves you feeling a million dollars, so come and visit us at the Alchemist Spa at Woolacombe Bay soon.