Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Protect Your Skin During Radiation Treatment

Breast cancer patients looking to protect their skin from burning after repeated radiation therapy treatments can now find a cream that spreads easily over compromised skin when they visit Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness in Houston Texas for help with hair loss during treatment.

"We are excited to carry My Girls Skin Care Cream because we’ve worked with the American Cancer Society’s Look Good, Feel Better workshops and have seen how it benefits radiated skin when undergoing repeated treatments for breast cancer. It’s a natural fit with our mission to provide the very best products for our customers." Added Ricky Knowles, who is world renowned for his capabilities in the area of hair replacement as a result of medical conditions and chemotherapy.

Due to an evidence-based study on topical agents conducted by the Oncology Nursing Society in 2011, many radiation oncologists and clinicians are aware of the protective benefits of calendula, a key ingredient in the plant-based, fragrance and dye-free My Girls Skin Care Cream.  My Girls Skin Care Cream is sampled at more than seventy hospitals and radiation treatment centers in the U.S. as a result of breast cancer patients using it with successful results.

Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness is the first retailer of its kind in Houston, Texas to stock My Girls Skin Care Cream locally for patients. Radiation oncologists and clinicians like it because it helps patients avoid treatment delays associated with radiation burns but also because its’ non-greasy and non-staining creamy texture spreads easily over compromised, burned skin.

“Our patients love My Girls Skin Care Cream.  They say it feels wonderful when applied to the affected skin areas and helps so much with the healing process.” Lynn Vache', Chief Therapist, Yavapai Regional Medical Center.

My Girls Skin Care Cream is formulated in Hungary and distributed by Radiant Sun, a company launched in 2008 to help people maintain a healthy appearance during and after treatment for cancer.

To find out more about protecting your skin during radiation treatment, contact Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness at, or call 713-623-4247.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Is MLD massage right for me?

We are often asked this question from our lymphedema and edema patients. In most cases the answer is YES!  

MLD, or Manual Lymphatic Drainage helps your body's lymphatic system to drain and aids in removing wastes, toxins, bacteria and fluid build-up from your body's tissues.

The lymphatic system is a natural detoxification system. Your lymph nodes, in your armpits and groin, are responsible for filtering out waste, which plays an extremely important role in your immune system. The lymph system produces lymphocytes to kill bacteria, which helps you prevent and fight off infection. If MLD is applied correctly, it can have profound effects on your body. Having an MLD massage can help with the following:
• Lymphedema
• Muscoloskeletal problems
• Increase effectiveness of detox following a dietary detoxification (usually recommended by a Naturopathic doctor)
• Reduce pain signals sent to the brain
• Help post-surgical recovery
• Reduce scar formation
• Decrease general fatigue and "sluggishness"

If your lymphatic system has been compromised, due to a trauma or surgery, you may be at risk or have lymphedema. MLD is a proven primary tool in the treatment of this condition. Combined with compression therapy, MLD will help your lymphedema so you can achieve better mobility and a better quality of life.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Manual lymphatic drainage is not an appropriate treatment if you have the following:
• Active cancer
• Inflammation (infection)
• Congestive Heart Failure
• Thrombosis

If you have additional questions about Manual Lymphatic Drainage, please call us at 713-623-4247 and book a consultation with one of our certified massage therapist. We will help you understand how MLD can improve your mobility and well-being.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Top 10 Lymphedema Tips for the Summer

1.  Increase fluid intake, mostly H2O
By increasing your daily water intake, you are telling your body that it has plenty of reserves and as a result it will release fluid out of your body.  If you are not a fan of drinking water, try flavored waters.  Crystal lite offers on-the-go packets, available in delicious flavors such as kiwi-strawberry, cherry pomegranate and raspberry peach.

2.  Try and stay as cool as possible
At times staying cool may seem impossible in 90+ degree weather.  Use fans to help circulate air conditioning while indoors.  Also store plastic bottles of water in the freezer for easy access to cold water when you travel outside.
3.  Avoid tight restrictive clothing
Opt for lightweight, loose-fitting cotton clothing.  Cotton clothing will keep you cooler than those made out of synthetic materials.
4.  Avoid severe sunburns
I like sunscreen products that good for sensitive skin, affordable, waterproof and offer UVA and UVB protection.  Banana Boat Baby Tear-Free Sunblock  SPF 50 is $10 for 8 ounces, Bull Frog Water Armor Sport 50+ is $9.99 for 6 ounces,  Beach Defense Water + Sun Barrier Lotion SPF 30 & 70 is $10.99 for 6.7, or Hydrosport Sunblock Spray SPF 30 by Aveeno is $8.99 for  5 ounces are all great options.
5.  Always use insect repellent
Protecting your skin from insect bites is another top priority during the warm summer months.  Avon carries a strong defense against mosquitos, gnats, ticks, sand flies and other biting insects.  Skin So Soft Bug Guard Plus Picaridin Aerosol Spray is $7.99 for 4 ounces of protection.  Another good option is Deep Woods Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent V, 25% DEET, 6 oz for $7.49.  This insect repellant is a reduced DEET product that works well.  It sprays upside down too!   Be sure that you apply insect repellent over your garment.
6.  Try and avoid high sodium foods
Restrict your daily salt intake to between 1,500 – 2,300 mg per day.  Also avoid processed foods as they typically contain a lot of sodium and preservatives.
7.  Protect your handsWhen working in the yard or gardening try and wear glove to protect your hand with upper body edema.  Choose a work glove with a suede leather palm for heavy-duty protection.
8.  Exercise Smart
When exercising outdoors try and do this not in the middle of the day, instead opt for early morning or after sunsets.  Exercise for shorter periods of time, take breaks at regular intervals and always wear compression on the affected limb, unless you are swimming, as water resistance acts as natural compression.
9.  Protect Your Feet
With lower body edema it is a good idea while at the beach wear water shoes as to avoid cuts and scrapes.
10.  Travel Prepared
If possible, talk to your doctor and get a prescription for antibiotics in case of infections.  Also, remember if you are flying, drink plenty of water and make sure you wear your day time compression garments, as the decreased air pressure in the airplane’s cabin may increase your swelling.
For more tips, contact Kristen, our BOC, ABC Certified compression garment fitter at

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Summer Wig and Hairpiece Tips - Look Haute, Stay Cool!

Whether you’ve lost your hair from chemotherapy treatment or from a medical condition, at Ricky Knowles Hair & Wellness, located in Houston, Texas, we know the importance of protecting the skin on your head while keeping you comfortable during the summer.

Stay Hydrated
The most important thing to remember is to keep hydrated. Wigs and hair pieces are not air conditioned so the long hot summer days can make even the most comfortable wigs and pieces miserable and hot.

With that in mind, you will definitely sweat more as the mercury rises, so drinking plenty of water will keep you from dehydrating.

Protect Your Wig/Hairpiece
With the sun hot and bright, it is essential to keep your hair hydrated.  By using moisturizing shampoos and conditioners to clean and condition your hair you will protect it from the sun and prevent the fibers from drying out.

I recommend Biomega Moisture Shampoo, Moisture Conditioner and Moisture Mist Leave-in Conditioner.  The Biomega hair care line is the first system designed to replenish and replicate hair’s natural oils with lightweight Omega-rich oils and nourishing plant extracts, delivering the perfect protection for your hair and scalp.

When at the pool or beach this summer there are 2 must haves in your beach bag:  1) a leave-in spray conditioner and 2) a brush.  Using a leave-in conditioner spray will help condition the scalp and hair, while preventing tangling.

The best thing you can do for your hair after swimming in salt or chlorinated water is to rinse well with fresh water, then saturate your hair with a leave in conditioner.

Don’t Forget Your Scalp!
If you are undergoing chemotherapy and have lost your hair, it is a must to use sunblock on any skin exposed to the sun. It is not recommended to go outdoors without covering your head. Sun exposure and certain drugs used during chemotherapy can cause hyper pigmentation, so be sure when you are not wearing your wig, to protect your scalp with a large brimmed hat, or a scarf.

If you're in a wig that is removable make sure to keep a light weight head covering with you in your purse or in your car.  Scarves, turbans and hats provide nice protection from the sun and can be a trendy alternative to wearing your wig outdoors or even as an accessory to your wig.  If you have a long-haired wig, remember to pull it into a pony tail or braid so that your neck can catch a cool breeze!

For more tips, or to get more information on our line of wig care products and accessories, contact our world-renowned wig specialist Ricky Knowles, at

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Breast Friends Support Group Meet Up

The University of Texas MD Anderson Regional Care Center in the Bay Area is sponsoring the Breast Friends Support Group and Educational Program for surrounding communities. The next meeting is set for Wednesday, June 12 from 6-8 p.m at the CHRISTUS St. John West Building.

This month’s meeting will feature two guest speakers—Vicky Moore, OTR, CLT-LANA, lymphedema therapist at UTMB Victoria Lakes and Kristen Anderson-Knowles of Ricky Knowles Hair and Wellness. Vicky will lead a discussion on managing lymphedema, and Kristen will talk about lymphedema sleeves and other related garments for cancer patients.

The purpose of these meetings is to support, uplift and empower patients as they go through this challenging time. Meetings are open to all breast cancer patients, survivors and caregivers, regardless of where treatment is received, and snacks and refreshments will be provided.

Meetings take place in the West Building of St. John Hospital, located at 2035 Space Park Drive. No pre-registration is required. For more information contact meeting facilitator Diana Vasquez at (713) 745-2396.

The MD Anderson Regional Care Center in the Bay Area is located on the campus of CHRISTUS St. John Hospital at 18100 St. John Drive. As MD Anderson’s first comprehensive clinical cancer center to open outside of the Texas Medical Center, the Regional Care Center in the Bay Area provides medical and radiation oncology, APBI, chemotherapy infusion, laboratory and pharmacy services and nutritional counseling

For directions or to learn more about the MD Anderson Regional Care Center in the Bay Area visit For up to date news and information about the Center join the conversation on Facebook at

From the Bay Area Citizen

Monday, June 10, 2013

Manage Lymphedema and Edema During the HOT Houston Summer

Lymphedema and chronic swelling patients have it especially rough during the HOT Houston summer. That’s why we work with our patients to offer cooler compression alternatives and tips.  I’m realistic when it comes to edema management during the summer and understand that patients need relief, not only from their edema, but from the heat.  So, I advocate using less aggressive garments during the heat of the day, and then wearing a lightweight night-time garment in order to keep the swelling under control.

Cooler Custom Garment Alternatives

One option for upper body edema is LympheDIVAS arm sleeves.  These arm sleeves are made with moisture-wicking technology, which pulls sweat away from the body.  They are also infused with aloe vera so that the arm stays moisturized and cool.  LympheDIVAS arm sleeves come in a variety of fun patterns and colors too.

A good option for a night time garment during the summer heat is the Tribute garment.  This garment is ideal for any type of edema (upper body lymphedema or lower body lymphedema).   It also has a wicking material and the foam multi-directionally pushes into the skin to move the fluid while you sleep.

Exercise Alternatives

Another thing I really encourage all of our patients to do is get into a pool.  Why?  Well, first, you do not have to wear garments and second, the water acts as a natural compression to the limbs.  It is also the best exercise for anyone as it takes the strain off of your joints.

If you would like more information about our custom garments, please call me at 713-623-4247.  We want to work with you to stay cooler in the summer heat while managing your lymphedema!

Have a question?  Contact me at