Chemotherapy helps kill cancer cells, but unfortunately many patients also go through unwanted side effects some of which may be hair loss, dry skin and brittle nails.
Dermatologists and Oncologists state that “when you are on chemo, your skin cells don’t replace themselves like they normally would and your skin becomes fragile and dry.” Often times the complexion might also change to dull gray or yellow.
Now we don’t mean to scare you, all this just means that you will now have to be very careful with how you care for skin before, during and after chemotherapy.
The most essential thing to do is protect your skin from the sun. For that you need to use a sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Also, double check to see that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. This is because some chemotherapy drugs make your skin more susceptible to sunburn.
Another thing to remember is to avoid common allergens like fragrances, preservatives, alcohol and botanical essential oils, which can be irritating and cause any allergic reaction.
Cut down on the exfoliation and scrubbing. As your skin is already so sensitive and delicate, it’s best not to use harsh exfoliators and scrubs on your skin. As we know, exfoliating removes dead cells, but that process is not happening when on chemotherapy, hence, there is no point of scraping off your skin and irritating it.
Add lip balm to you your daily beauty regime, but make sure you are not tempted by the word “healing” on any product as such products often contain irritants. Peppermint and citrus are common allergens, so look for a product with shea butter.
Another very important tip for chemotherapy patients is to cut down on the shower time and especially steamy hot showers. Keep them short and not too hot! Be sure to use a fragrance free body wash.
Stay away from loofahs and scrubs are they may contain bacteria and add to skin irritation.
Hand-foot syndrome is another side effect of chemotherapy that causes hands and feet to be itchy, irritated and red. One way to soothe these symptoms is to cover the skin in a thick moisturizer or balm.
Now remember, it is always a good idea to see a dermatologist about your skin care. Your skin might not react exactly like how some other cancer patients’ skin might react, so always keep your dermatologist in the loop.