Skin Care Tips For Radiation Therapy Patients

Posted on: 8 November 2016

If you're undergoing radiation therapy as part of your cancer treatment, you'll find that the radiation can make your skin sensitive and uncomfortable. The better prepared you are for this, the easier it will be for you to moderate the symptoms. In fact, here are a few tips to help you ease the effects of the radiation treatment on your skin.

Preparing Before Your Treatments

Opt for warm water in your showers instead of hot. This will ease the skin sensitivity that can be caused by high heat. Whenever possible, keep the shower water from directly hitting the treated skin. Choose mild soaps and avoid those with lots of fragrance. Harsh soaps and those with lots of fragrance can be irritating to your skin, especially when it's already sensitive from treatments. When you're dressing for your radiation therapy appointments, opt for loose-fitting clothing made from cotton whenever possible.

After a shower, and any time the skin feels irritated, treat the affected area with cornstarch or baby powder. Apply it with a large makeup brush so you don't have to rub the area or cause further irritation.

Treating Your Skin After Radiation Appointments

After each treatment is completed, treat the skin with a moisturizing ointment like an A&D ointment or something similar. You can also treat the skin at night when you go to bed for even more protection.

Protecting Against Sun Exposure

During the course of your treatments, you'll need to make a conscious effort to protect your skin from sunlight and ultraviolet ray exposure. You'll need to add a cover-up when you go out to the beach, because your skin will be highly sensitive to those rays. Steer clear of chlorine because it can actually dry your skin and cause irritation.

Sunlight sensitivity will continue to affect the treated areas long after your radiation therapy. The sensitivity will reduce over time, but you'll want to always use a sunblock with a high SPF. Apply the sunblock at least a half-hour before you go out in the sun, and then reapply it every few hours for optimal protection.

Radiation therapy is essential for many cancer treatments. The therapy comes with a few side effects, but understanding what it can do to your skin is important. With these tips, you can keep your skin feeling its best before, during, and after your radiation therapy. That allows you to focus more on your recovery and less on the effects of the treatment.