Most people undergoing radiotherapy suffer skin irritation to a greater or lesser extent, unfortunately. Symptoms range from soreness, inflammation, sensitivity, itchiness and rashes, to burns and ulcers in more severe cases.
While there's no guaranteed way of preventing your skin being affected by radiotherapy, it's sensible to take extra care over your skin before, during and after the treatment, so that it's in the very best condition to cope.
Here are some simple things you can do that might to help reduce the symptoms of radiation dermatitis:
- Moisturise! Keep your skin as hydrated and nourished as possible. Apply unscented, neutral emollients every day and every night before treatment.
- Keep clean. Switch to washing with a non-irritant, soap-free cleanser before and during treatment.
- Keep things loose. Wear loose-fitting, soft, comfortable, non-scratchy clothing.
- Avoid sun on the affected area of skin.
- Avoid all topical irritants: perfume, alcohol-based skincare, scented deodorants, cosmetics, make-up.
- Avoid extremes of heat and cold.
- Shave affected areas with caution! Use an electric razor and give aftershave a miss.
- Keep yourself as healthy as you can, with good, nutritious food, plenty fo sleep and as many strategies for de-stressing as you can muster, to give your body the best chance of regenerating damaged skin.
- Wash affected skin carefully, and pat dry with a soft towel, leaving skin just slightly damp before applying your emollient.
See How To Look After Your Skin Before, During And After Radio- and Chemotherapy for a more detailed guide to looking after your skin during both radio- and chemotherapy.
Recommended products for looking after skin during radiotherapy:
Daily Moisturising Cream with calendula, shea and hemp seed oil, from £13.99 for 100ml
Intensive Hand Cream with seabuckthorn, calendula, chamomile and shea, from £10.99 for 50ml
Cooling Cream with menthol, aloe, lavender and calendula, £19 for 100ml
Skin Salvation with hemp seed, beeswax & calendula, from £7.99 for 30ml
Balmonds Rosehip Scar Oil with rosehip, lavender, calendula & chamomile, £18.99 for 50ml
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.