Skin Care Guidelines for Cancer Patients

Cancer treatment requires special care during both radiation and chemotherapy.  Radiation can cause sensitivity in the area being radiated, even redness and sometimes burning if your skin is fair.  Chemotherapy, because it is internal, can cause dryness, itching, sensitivity to UV rays, and skin pigmentation changes.

Being mindful of what you put on your skin at this time is particularly important.  It is best to stay away from products that have fragrance or scent.  Not only will this affect your skin, but heightened sensitivity to scent is also one of the side effects of cancer treatment.  Something for your family and friends to be aware of.

General guidelines to help your skin during cancer treatment:

1.  Be gentle to your skin – wear loose fitting clothes to avoid rubbing, cotton is better than synthetics or wool, avoid heat extremes (hot and/or cold), use gentle, natural skin lotions to keep your skin moisturized.

2. Make sure your skin is clean – be aware if products are irritating your skin – switch to more gentle ones such as natural or organic skin care, stay away from perfumes, lanolin or alcohol in products.

3. Hydrate your skin – drink plenty of water (8-10 glasses per day), apply moisturizer while skin is damp, keep lips moist with lip balms or lotions.

4. Nail care is important – many people find they even lose their nails.  Wear gloves when working, use hand lotion liberally, apply cuticle creams.

5. Protect your skin from the sun – stay out of the sun between 10 am and 3 pm, wear a brimmed hat and clothing that covers your skin, wear wraparound sunglasses to protect the eyes, and most importantly, wear suncreen with SPF 30+ strength.

These are a few tips to help you during this time.  Most of these issues will disappear once treatment is over.  However, during treatment, make sure you look for organic skin care products that will be gentle on your skin and offer the most protection.

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