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Oct 14, 2019

What Are The Side-Effects Of Chemotherapy On Skin?

Side effects of chemo on skin

Most cancer treatments affect the skin in one way or another; symptoms range from fairly mild to very distressing and uncomfortable, but there are things you can do to make yourself more comfortable.

The main side-effects of chemo or radiotherapy 
Dry skin: scaliness, flakiness, roughness, tightness, itching
Flushing: redness like blushing spreading over skin
Hyperpigmentation: changes in colouration, particularly darkening patches
Nail changes: ridging, weakness, brittleness, changes in colour, 
Photosensitivity: symptoms like bad sunburn (redness, swelling, blistering, weeping and peeling
Radiation recall: ‘burns’ at the site of previous radiation therapy after chemo has been given
Rashes: bright red, hot, itchy, raised, blistery, inflamed areas
Worsening or new onset psoriasis: silvery, flaky, itchy areas of skin
Worsening or new onset acne: raised pimples or pustules
Hand and foot (palmar-plantar) syndrome: peeling or flaking on palms and soles of feet

Always talk to your medical caregivers about your symptoms, in case any of them need specialist treatment. And carry a pot of Skin Salvation with you at all times!

See our guide How To Look After Your Skin Before, During And After Chemotherapy for more information and advice.

Important Note

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.

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