You may notice changes to your skin’s texture, colour and general condition during and after chemotherapy; although these changes can be distressing and sometimes painful, there are practical things you can do to look after your skin during and after your treatment.
Here are some quick and simple ways to make sure you’re giving your skin the best possible care:
Go unscented: put aside your perfumes and perfumed toiletries, whether those are face creams, shampoos, cleansers or shower gels. Hard though that might be, skin can be highly sensitive at this time, and perfume is a major source of skin irritation. Pick unscented skincare instead.
Moisturise: pile on the gentle, unscented moisturiser of your choice three times a day. Set aside time to do this; you can put an alarm on your phone to remind you to do it. Apply emollients soon after bathing as well as last thing at night.
Keep cool: try to regulate your skin’s temperature: if it’s feeling itchy, burning or inflamed, you can cool yourself down with a lukewarm shower, ice packs, fans, cool gel packs or ice towels.
Stay out of hot water! To reduce the risk of dehydrating or irritating your skin, keep baths or showers short and lukewarm, rather than long and hot.
Stay out of the sun: protect your extra sensitive skin from the sun with higher factor sunscreen, hats, and long, loose clothing.
Be detergent aware: be careful about using laundry detergents and household cleaners: go for natural, hypoallergenic versions as these are less likely to irritate your skin.
Check out our article How To Look After Your Skin Before, During & After Radio- and Chemotherapy for some other things you can do 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. (£22 for 30ml)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.