Nickel City Skin Spa Has Something for Everyone!

By Madeleine Kates

The skin of cancer patients and survivors often shows their health struggle. They may experience dry, flaky, red “chemo skin” due to chemotherapy, or may appear to have acne, or a sunburn due to radiation dermatitis. Some cancer treatments target cellular growth, impacting the growth of hair, skin, and nails. Patients may also experience scarring or tissue damage from surgical procedures. Caring for the skin, the body’s largest organ, is part of a holistic approach to one’s cancer journey that can positively impact the mind, body, and spirit.

“With a cancer diagnosis, people naturally focus on the treatments, but may overlook the importance of self-care,” says Kristine Koch, an oncology-trained licensed esthetician, and owner of Nickel City Skin Spa. Having grown up with flared, sensitized skin, Koch made it her mission to assist individuals dealing with sensitized or reactive skin, including cancer patients.

Offered to Roswell Park patients through Roswell Park Alliance Foundation funding, Koch leads a Soothing Skincare class, a Beautiful Brows class for patients who have lost their eyebrow hair, and a Care Conversations class, where patients openly discuss self-care. The Soothing Skincare Class enables patients to sample products and learn how to use them. They also learn how to shop for products that contain clean, nourishing ingredients. Beautiful Brows teaches redrawing and shaping eyebrows to match facial features. Classes are offered through the 11-Day Power Play Cancer Resource Center at Roswell Park Care Network locations in Buffalo, Williamsville, and Orchard Park. Best of all, patients attending classes appreciate the community and friendship that comes from a common experience.

Koch says, “Private skin care services or group classes may be one of the few times during a cancer or health journey where someone is being touched in a non-invasive way. It is important to be able to create these experiences to relax and soothe the system because, when we feel confident in our appearance, especially during a time of great difficulty, it can be the needed light at the end of the tunnel.”

Nickel City Skin Spa and Boutique is located at 4500 Harlem Road in Snyder. Coming up on October 26 from 6 to 8 pm at Harbor House in Buffalo is “Fall into Relaxation.” Visit or call 716-768-2089 to learn about skin care services, massage, eyebrow artistry, waxing, sugaring, ongoing events and classes, and to shop online.

The 11 Day Power Play Cancer Resource Center is a place where Roswell Park patients and their families can find information, support, comfort and connection throughout their cancer journeys. Roswell Park patients can learn more at and sign up for classes by calling the Resource Center at 716-845-8659 (option 1).

Madeleine Kates is a graduate student in the University of Pennsylvania’s MSNS program, with undergraduate degrees in Environmental Science, Life Science, and Psychology from Niagara University. She also holds certificates in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University, and CHEF Coaching from Harvard University.