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Nailcare Training to Care for Cancer Patients

By Alex Fox | 27 October 2020 | Feature, Training

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A specialist in oncology therapies, skincare and wellbeing for cancer patients, Jennifer Young has made it her mission to support cancer patients’ wellbeing by helping therapists, salons and spa partners to provide the best possible service to those affected by cancer.

Jennifer Young

An experienced microbiologist, nutritional therapist, associate member of the Royal Society of Medicine, qualified aromatherapist, beauty therapist and product formulator, Jennifer Young has created a wealth of courses and products that are focused on supporting and caring for those living with, during or post cancer treatment. Jennifer has two post-graduate qualifications in health-related fields, has been accepted by the Courts as an expert witness for occupational health cases, has taught internationally and has been active in medical research.

Her vast knowledge is now utilised in an array of courses, some accredited by internationally-recognised professional bodies. A skincare product line specifically for cancer patients that addresses many of the issues associated with cancer treatment. As well as a team at the Jennifer Young Training School, which delivers CPD courses for many organisations as well as healthcare and beauty professionals. Its products and services can be found in UK hospitals, hospices, spas, salons, holistic and support centres.


Q: How did it come about that you were asked to develop a range of skincare for cancer patients?

A: My local hospital asked me to come in and create a skincare line for cancer patients. It’s unheard of now, but they asked me because there’s a lot of skin conditions associated with cancer and nobody was doing anything about it, which made me really cross.

Q: How did the Jennifer Young Training School come into being?

A: After being asked to create a skincare range for cancer patients, I worked with the lead nurses for chemotherapy and radiotherapy as well as patients and ex-patients. At the time I was asked, I was training to become a therapist after a long career as a health scientist (with a little Law thrown in for good measure). I was working with patients in an NHS hospital and could see how much they needed and wanted touch therapies, as I was being told not to touch them as I completed my Level 3. I’m a scientist and am trained to ask, ‘Why’? When I asked why I couldn’t work with cancer patients, I didn’t receive an adequate response, so I decided that things had to change. I worked with insurers to make sure that anyone I trained would be able to work with cancer patients and be insured to do so. I researched and researched and then wrote some accredited courses. We now have 16 accredited courses to allow therapists to work with cancer patients.

Q: What skincare issues are associated with patients undergoing cancer treatment?

A: Cancer treatments can cause all kinds of side effects to the whole body, not to mention emotional and hormonal changes. What we see most often is dry, cracked and itchy skin, which can occur all over the body; damaged, weak and discoloured nails on the hands and feet; and dry, sore scalps from people losing their hair due to the treatments. Everyone’s reactions to oncology treatments are completely different, which is why we try and acknowledge and formulate for as many different side effects as we can.

Q: What important knowledge must one understand about skincare in order to formulate & develop a range for those undergoing chemotherapy & radiotherapy?

A: There are many different levels to understanding oncology skincare formulation. You need to research the cancer treatments themselves, the ingredients for the medication, and research side effects. You then need a detailed understanding of skincare product ingredients; for us, it is understanding natural and organic ingredients and their natural healing properties, as our products are only made from those. One important element for oncology skincare formulation that has to be considered throughout the whole process is that there are many ingredients that are not suitable for cancer patients. We also consider the strength of the ingredients we’re using. For example, the Defiant Beauty range, which is suitable for those currently undergoing oncology treatments, uses either no or very low levels of essential oils in order to prevent any further irritation to the skin.

Defiant Beauty Gift Set 

 Q: Please give details of the therapies on offer from the Jennifer Young Training School – who are they directed at professionally & what do they address?

A: The online touch therapy courses are designed for already established therapists. They are postgraduate courses, meaning to enrol on a course you already need to have some beauty or massage qualifications. We want cancer patients to be in the best hands possible, so these aren’t courses for beginners. We offer many different touch therapy courses including Oncology Massage, a variety of facial and scalp treatments, hand nail & foot treatments, as well as reflexology. You can specialise in one of these areas if your clients have specific concerns or we offer a full face and body qualification, which consists of Oncology Massage, Holistic Facial, Hand Nail & Foot, and Balanced Body and Mind.

We also have a variety of online theory courses such as ‘Control of Cross-infection in a Post-COVID-19 World’, and two levels of Cancer Awareness courses, which can give therapists more of an insight into cancer treatments and their effects before taking the touch therapy courses. If a therapist decides to take the full touch therapy courses, we include the Cancer Awareness courses in the bundle as their theory learning.

Q: What qualifications do you need to take up this training?

A: As these are postgraduate courses, we require a certain level of knowledge from therapists before they enrol. To take the majority of these qualifications you need at least a Level 3 in Massage or Beauty with Massage. For the facial courses, you need a minimum of a Level 2 in Beauty. For the reflexology qualification, you need a previous reflexology qualification.

Q: Why is this training an asset to any nail tech or therapist’s professional skillset & portfolio?

A: We hope that therapists can see the demand for an inclusive and safe space for cancer patients to go and get pampered without being turned away or having therapists scared to treat them. We talk to so many therapists on a daily basis that have turned clients away because they aren’t properly trained in how to deal with their issues, and when we talk to cancer patients who have been turned away, it can have such a big impact on their confidence levels.

Offering a bit of normality and relaxation back into the lives of cancer patients is something that so many can offer, but they just don’t know how. That’s why we are here to encourage this inclusive pamper treatment environment.

 Q: Give a wider view of what’s on offer?

A: The Jennifer Young Training School delivers its courses through training centres all over the UK as well as overseas. The team houses experts in touch therapies for cancer patients and provides accredited oncology qualifications to spas, beauty therapists, holistic therapists and healthcare teams. All of its qualifications are referenced, so students can see the research that underpins all the practical training.

Q: And did I see a nailcare course?

A: Yes, the Nail Care for those Affected by Cancer free online course teaches students to list the main types of cancer treatments, understand which types of cancer treatment can affect nails, recognise the types of nail damage that are common side-effects of cancer treatment, appreciate why nailcare for cancer patients is a specialist treatment, list the biological reasons why those affected by cancer are more vulnerable than other clients, empathise with the patients desire for specialist products and treatments, on completion of the course.

This online course is theory only and doesn’t give a practical qualification for students to work with those living with and beyond cancer or be insured to do so. It’s a cancer awareness course only. The Jennifer Young Training School does however,provide accredited training that allows students to work with cancer patients – which can also be delivered online.

Well Being Beauty Diffuser £30 (various aromas)

And so Jennifer…

Q: What attracted you to the beauty industry?

A: I decided it was time for a change. I wanted to help people to feel better in any way that I could and beauty was an obvious way forward. My initial plan was to combine beauty, wellness and nutrition (I’m a qualified nutritional therapist), however, events overtook me and now I work only with those affected by cancer.

Q: What’s your greatest achievement to date?

A: I’m not sure I can take all, or even some, of the credit, but my three daughters are fine human beings. I’ve learned to prioritise since working with cancer patients and everything pales to insignificance compared to my family.

Q: What professional goals to you strive towards?

A: I’d like everyone affected by cancer, across the globe, to have access to our specialist products. It’s an ambitious goal, but there’s no harm in aiming high.

Q: What’s your vision for the future?

A: That’s a hard question to answer as I write this in 2020 as we enter phase 2 of infection in the UK. All of the predictions are apocalyptic, yet I see the future as rosy. I hope that we’re able to assess our reality as we progress through phases and come out of the other side with more time for each other and less pressure to succeed according to someone else’s measures.

Giftcards from £10

Patient Testimonials 

J Holmes – Mild Mint Foot Balm “As always a quality product. As soon as I opened the jar the smell was delicious. I’ve been using it for a couple of days and I’m already impressed, my feet feel smoother, it has also helped the rough skin on my hands; double bonus. I’ve ordered another pot for my mum as she’s tried it too and loved it just as much as me.”

Sue – Nail Oil “I’ve only used the Nail Oil three times so far, but my finger and toenails are already looking wonderful. I lost all my fingernails (they fell off in matching pairs – bizarre or what?) due to chemo and my GP couldn’t prescribe a treatment because of health risks. I thought I was just going to have live with the fungal infection. But the change in appearance is fantastic. As everyone knows, these minor improvements are so important and mean the world as we struggle on. Thank you.”

JKT – “I used these products recently when I went for an indulgence massage. My skin felt so soft and was glowing. As I have cancer, my skin has really suffered. Just one massage using these natural products made me feel human again.”

Kay W – Itchy Skin Oil “I just wanted to let you know that your Itchy Skin Oil has changed my life. It’s improved my radiation damaged skin so much that I’m now able to wear a bra. I hadn’t been able to tolerate anything next to my skin for months. I was dreading the summer as I wouldn’t have been able to hide in baggy jumpers. Thank you.”

Rachel – Smooth Skin Balm “I had very dry and itchy elbows. After one use of the Smooth Skin Balm, my elbows are no longer red and have stopped itching. I’m ashamed to say that my elbows were getting scaly and now they are no longer. I’m truly amazed that one application of such a lovely smelling product can make such a difference.”

Susan B – “Last October, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and told I had to have a lumpectomy. Two weeks later after a biopsy I was told I had two types of cancer and had to have a mastectomy. All went well and I’m in remission and very luckily did not require chemo.  ‘Just radiotherapy’ I told everyone, not quite realising the after effects of it! I was lucky that my daughter-in-law had made me up a basketful of useful bits to aid my recovery including bottles of your Cooler, Itchy Skin and Relaxing Pillow Spray, Lip Balm and Body Butter. I cannot thank you enough, my favourite and most useful being the one for itchy skin! They are marvellous and I’ve recommended them to the friends I made from the radiotherapy sessions. Such a great saying as well – Beauty Despite Cancer.”