Cancer and Skin Care
As we recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I could not help but think of women whose skin changed during radiation and chemotherapy and they are not sure what to do…the good news skin problems are usually short term and easy to fix. Something proactive for you to do, something to help you feel better.
During this time of change, you need to take special care of your skin. First – ask your doctor regarding the products, lotions, soaps, deodorants, sunscreen, cream, or perfume around the treatment area you can use. If the areas are itchy or irritated, a light sprinkling of cornstarch help, but filmy skin products may hamper your treatment.
To wash your face or treatment area, a mild soap like Dove may be used. Wash using only warm water and use your hands, this is gentler. Gently pat dry with a soft cotton towel. You should not scrub, scratch or shave treated skin. Soak a soft, fluffy cotton ball with non-alcohol toner and gently go over your face. Are you noticing a trend? Everything is done gently to cause little irritation.
Ask your doctor what UVA/UVB sunscreen to buy. Sunscreen with an SPF 15 is a good general number. After applying, wait a few minutes until the sunscreen is totally absorbed (which many of us do not do, including me!) before applying any moisturizer. Use very small amounts of moisturizer dot on face and gently pat.
Oily skin may become dry or flaky during your chemotherapy, consider using moisturizer several times daily to lessen the impact, please check with your doctor first.
This is important; wash your hands before applying anything to the treatment area. We all know nasty bacteria are on our hands and you do not want to transfer that to your skin. It may cause an infection. Tightly close the tops of your jars so airborne bacteria and germs remain out of your skin care.
If possible, try to sleep on your back with your head elevated. This reduces morning puffiness. I would purchase a good pillow that feels good on my neck.
Do not smoke, need I say more?
If you have questions – do not hesitate to ask your heath care provider. Remember they work for you and are experts in their fields.