How to Care for Your Skin During and After Chemotherapy
In the 122 years it’s been around, chemotherapy has come a long way. It went from being an unknown, experimental treatment throughout the early 20th century to becoming one of the more mainstream methods in helping to combat cancer cells starting in the 60s.
Those who decide to proceed with chemotherapy may experience side effects as they relate to their skin. Read on to discover how chemotherapy can impact the skin—plus, skin care steps you can take both during and after chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy Side Effects for Your Skin
During chemotherapy treatments, there is a chance that a few minor changes may occur to a patient’s skin. These can include itching, dryness, rashes, darker veins, and light sensitivity. These side effects, however, may be addressed with the right skin care products. To help ease the hardship of an already difficult situation, here are a few ways you can help care for your skin both during chemotherapy and after.
Editor’s Note: Should you experience any concerning developments on your skin or otherwise, be sure to notify a health professional immediately.
HOW TO HELP CARE FOR SKIN DURING CHEMOTHERAPY
There are a couple of small ways you can manage whatever skin concerns chemotherapy may throw at you. Read on, below.
For Dryness, Itchiness, Redness, Rashes, or Peeling
If you’re dealing with any of these uncomfortable skin issues during the procedure, try taking a nice, colloidal oatmeal bath to help reduce itchiness, or trade in long, hot baths with quick showers or a sponge bath. While washing, use a mild, moisturizing soap and avoid excessive rubbing of your skin when you towel dry. Instead, gently pat the skin. Take care to avoid any sort of perfume, cologne, or aftershave that contains alcohol, as this could cause irritation.
For Sun Sensitivity
For sun sensitivity, be sure to apply broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. To take things a step further, pair your sunscreen use with additional sun protection measures like wearing protective clothing, seeking shade, and avoiding peak sun hours.
Editor’s Note: Should any of these skin issues persist, be sure to consult your doctor or health care professional.
HOW TO CARE FOR SKIN AFTER CHEMOTHERAPY
Even if you’ve completed your final chemotherapy treatment, you may still find yourself dealing with the aforementioned skin issues. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind after you’ve received your last chemotherapy treatment—plus, what you can do to help manage whatever comes next.
Keep Your Skin Moisturized
After your treatments, make sure to regularly moisturize your skin to keep it hydrated.
Keep Your Skin Clean
Be sure to wash your hands as often as you can to avoid any chance of bacteria transfer. Should you want to use hand sanitizer, check with your doctor or nurse first just confirm the product is safe to use on your skin.
Be Mindful of Too Much Sun Exposure
Always, always, always take care to protect yourself from the sun. While sunshine can help brighten up any mood, exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays can damage your already sensitive skin. Make sure you keep applying broad-spectrum sunscreen and covering up as needed.