October 19, 2009
Radiation and chemotherapy can leave skin dry and flaky and more sensitive to sun and wind. Here are some changes you might want to make in your skin care routine:
MOISTURIZE: Chemo reduces the amount of oil your glands secrete, so you'll need to moisturize more frequently or use a heavier weight moisturizer than you did before treatment. Drink at least 2 quarts of water a day, recommends the California Pacific Medical Center.
To prevent nails from drying out, use only non-acetone-based nail polish remover. Moisturize your cuticles and push them back rather than cutting them with scissors.
PROTECT: Treatments make your skin more vulnerable to ultraviolet light. Protect your skin from the sun with a product that blocks UVA and UVB rays. Also remember that chemo and radiation make your skin more susceptible to infection so toss cosmetics you've used for more than six months, especially those that require dipping a finger into them.
Don't forget your lips. Since they have few oil and sweat glands, they don't have protection from ultraviolet rays. Use products with moisture-sealing ingredients and SPF protection of 15 or higher instead of using lip balms that have camphor, menthol, or phenol, says breastcancer.org.
If you use any skin products on days you have radiation therapy, use them at least four hours before treatment, the National Cancer Institute advises.
CLEANSE: Use a gentle, moisturizing soap or cleansing cream and avoid products with heavy scents. Breastcancer.org recommends soaps used for babies since they are usually gentle and perfume-free. Don't wash your face more than twice a day, unless you exercise and then make sure the sweat is washed off before it can dry and irritate the skin.
Wash clothes, bedding and towels in mild, hypoallergenic detergent.
Many products can help throughout treatment, including aloe and aquaphor, which help soothe skin patches made red and itchy by radiation, according to breastcancer.org. Consult you doctor for recommendations.
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