Your skin is likely to need some extra gentle care during and after chemotherapy, so it’s important to find skincare that will nourish and soothe, without irritating dry or sore skin.
Here are some tips for finding the best lotion for sensitive skin during chemo:
Unscented is best
Call it what you will - fragrance, scent, perfume, parfum - the stuff that makes a cream smell nice is generally pretty bad for sensitive skin. And, unless it’s a natural essential oil, it isn’t necessary for the effectiveness of a product either. Chose products that state they are fragrance-free and check the ingredients list to be sure!
Even essential oils can be problematic!
It’s worth even being wary of essential oils: some do cause sensitive skin to flare-up, so if you’re trying a product containing essential oils for the first time, do a patch test first. We’re including our own products in this! Even though we use essential oils that are known for their skin-kind properties, not everyone will tolerate them, so please don’t miss out the testing stage. Go for our Skin Salvation balm, Daily Moisturising Cream or Omega-Rich Cleansing Oil if you want to avoid essential oils completely.
Creams can sting
If your skin is suffering from chemo rash or photosensitivity, you may find that water-based creams or lotions sting on contact with sore skin. If this is the case, switch to an all-natural oil-based balm like Skin Salvation, or just a simple emollient oil. Super dry skin that is cracked or raw will also benefit more from oil-based balms than creams. If skin is broken or open, avoid lotions!
Go simple, go natural
During and immediately after chemo, your skin needs a break from fancy exfoliators, peels, scrubs, masks or serums with preservatives, colours, hormones or irritant synthetic preservatives. Go for the simplest, gentlest, least complicated skincare you can find!
Feed your skin
Find a cream or balm that will help repair and restore damaged or fragile skin. We’d recommend skincare made from highly nutritious ingredients like borage, hemp seed, olive, rosehip or calendula, oils which will feed your skin with the essential fatty acids, nutrients and vitamins it needs for its natural cycle of repair and regeneration.
Ultimately, the best product for you is one that your skin gets on with! Some people will prefer lotions, others oils or salves. Whatever works for you, without flaring up your sensitive skin. Check out our article How To Look After Your Skin Before, During & After Radio- and Chemotherapy for some practical measures you can take to keep your skin as healthy as possible.
We want to make sure that anyone going through chemotherapy can look after their skin and mitigate some of the more challenging effects of chemo on the skin, so we’ve come up with some suggestions for products that can help keep sensitive skin in good condition during treatment.
Recommended products for those undergoing chemotherapy:
Skin Salvation with hemp and beeswax is a great moisturiser for sensitive skin; it is rich, nourishing, and free from synthetics. It’s a perfect emollient for skin that has been affected by chemo burns, and, because it’s oil- not water-based, is less likely to sting sensitive skin on application. (From £7.99 for 30ml)
Balmonds Cooling Cream with menthol, aloe and lavender works as a light, nourishing hand & body lotion, and to soothe any itchy areas. (£19 for 100ml)
Balmonds Bath & Body Oil with hemp, lavender and chamomile is great to add to a relaxing bath or to use as a lavender-scented massage oil. (£12.99 for 200ml)
Balmonds Rosehip Scar Oil with rosehip, chamomile and palmarosa is suitable for use on the face, nails, or any areas of ‘radiation burn’ or scarring. (£18.99 for 50ml)
We also offer a fantastic All-Natural Starter Kit which would make a perfect skincare essentials bundle for anyone undergoing chemo or radiotherapy.
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.