5 Tips To Care For Your Skin When Going Through Chemo

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5 Tips to Care for Your Skin When Going Through Chemotherapy

While chemotherapy has been proven effective in killing cancer cells, it’s also known to bring many side effects to patients. From nausea and confusion to physical alterations such as hair loss, discolored or dry skin, and brittle nails, the treatment can adversely affect a patient’s life.

If you’re about to have your first chemo, or you recently completed a session, it’s important that you’re aware of how you can properly care for your skin. The drier and more irritable your skin gets, the more chances you have of acquiring infection and skin diseases like eczema. Since chemotherapy suppresses your immune system and leaves you even more vulnerable, you’ll need to maintain a healthy skin to make sure that you’re protected.

Doctors or nurses normally refer patients to a dermatologist once they begin experiencing such symptoms. Unfortunately, there are some cases in which a dermatologist isn’t equipped to handle certain cancer-related skin issues. This is why patients are advised to research and look for skin care products that are specifically designed for sensitive skin.

There are several things you can do to keep your skin healthy while undergoing treatment. To make sure that your skin gets the optimal care it needs, follow these five steps:

1. Use hypoallergenic skin care products.

With chemotherapy leaving your skin fragile and dehydrated, don’t be surprised to see your skin more sensitive than ever. Because of this, it’s best that you get rid of all the products in your home that contain irritating ingredients, preservatives, and fragrances. Now that you’re on chemo drugs, use only gentle hypoallergenic products.

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2. Use gentle skin cleansers.

Any skin affected by chemo becomes more prone to bacteria. Rinsing your skin with a non-gentle cleanser is likely to cause its natural oils to get stripped off, eventually causing the stratum corneum (the skin’s outer barrier) to break down. If you don’t want to have germs invading your skin anytime soon, get yourself a gentle cleanser.

  • For your face: Use the mildest cleanser that you can find. Avoid washing your face too much with it since there’s a big chance that you’d also be removing your natural oils. Instead of treating your skin, you’d actually be irritating it.
  • For your body: Rinse only the parts that have body odor glands, which are your buttocks, underarms, feet, and groin. In case your skin is oily, you may use the cleanser on your neck, chest, and back as well.
  • For your hands: Since the skin on the back of your hand is more fragile and vulnerable to dryness, you only need to use the cleanser on your palms.

3. Always use a deeply hydrating moisturizer right after washing.

Make it a habit to keep your skin hydrated at all times by applying moisturizer after toweling dry.

  • For your face: Apply every morning and night after washing.
  • For your body: Apply after every shower or bath (you can skip the trunk if the skin is not susceptible to dryness).
  • For your hands: Apply after each time you wash them.
  • For your lips: Keep them moisturized by applying a hydrating lip balm throughout the day.

4. Wash, bathe, or shower with warm water.

Dermatologist and cancer patient Dr. Cynthia Bailey provides two useful tips in washing your skin without drying it out: First, avoid hot water that tends to strip your natural skin oils. Second, apply moisturizer within three minutes after drying your skin with a towel. She says these tips have proven 100% useful not just for her but for her patients with sensitive skin as well.

5. Use a sunscreen with at least SPF 30.

There are certain medications that cause the skin to be more sensitive when exposed to the sun. Prevent sunburn by applying sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Also, choose one that contains zinc oxide, avobenzone, or titanium dioxide since these ingredients protect against both UVB and UVA rays.

These five steps are what you’ll need to include in your daily skincare routine. By sticking to these habits, you can maintain soft and healthy skin throughout your chemo treatment.

 

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