Rashes associated with chemotherapy are very common and come in various different forms. While they’re obviously worrying and uncomfortable, they are usually not dangerous.
See our article What Are The Side-Effects Of Chemotherapy On Skin? for a detailed list of skin issues related to chemo.
How long these issues last depend on what caused them, but almost all are temporary, and will resolve as the drugs leave your system, after about 10-12 weeks.
Urticaria is an allergic reaction to the chemo treatment that means you come out in hives during or soon after the drug infusion is usually over within 24 hours. It may recur the next time you have the drugs.
Flushing is another skin reaction to the infusion of drugs; it appears like sunburn or blushes, and can feel intensely hot and uncomfortable. It’s caused by the dilation of blood vessels. Some people find it comes on immediately after chemo and lasts for a few days afterwards.
The bumpy, acne-like rash that most people experience with EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) inhibitors usually develops within the first two weeks of treatment, and subsides within four weeks after the end of treatment.
Most chemotherapy-induced skin issues, including rashes and extra-sensitivity, are temporary, and start to diminish as treatment ends and the drugs finally leave your system. During the course of treatment, it’s worth taking extra care of your skin, to build up its resilience and to help soothe any soreness that might occur.
Check out our article How To Look After Your Skin Before, During & After Radio- and Chemotherapy for some practical measure you can take 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. (£18.99 for 50ml)
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.