6 tips for skin care during cancer treatment

Cancer is a complex and multifaceted disease that manifests when the body’s cells grow uncontrollably, invading and damaging healthy tissues. 
Data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) estimates that the number of diagnoses will rise to 28 million worldwide in the next two decades.  

Fortunately, numerous treatments are helping to boost survival rates. These treatments, however, can have significant side effects on the body, including the skin.  

Keep reading to learn how cancer treatments can affect dermatological health and how to manage these effects to maintain the integrity and well-being of your skin.  

How does cancer treatment affect our skin?

The skin is a visual indicator of our overall health and plays a crucial role in protecting against infection and injury. Cancer treatments, especially radiation therapy and certain types of chemotherapy, can have significant impacts on skin health, leading to effects ranging from mild to severe.  

Radiotherapy can induce effects such as dryness, flaking, itching (pruritus), redness, or a darker tone to the skin area undergoing treatment. In addition, ulcers that become painful, moist, and susceptible to infection may develop, known as a wet reaction.  

Chemotherapy is one of the most common treatments, and its effects on the skin are notorious. It can cause skin symptoms such as dryness, itching, redness, darkening or peeling. A mild rash or increased sensitivity to the sun, known as photosensitivity, may also occur.
Some patients experience alterations in skin pigmentation. If you have previously received radiation therapy, the treated skin may redden, blister, peel, or hurt, known as a radiation recall reaction.  

In addition, chemotherapy can affect the nerve endings in the skin, causing an uncomfortable tingling sensation, numbness, and muscle weakness known as peripheral neuropathy.  

Other treatments, such as stem cell transplants, immunotherapy, or targeted therapy, can cause rashes, blisters, or dry skin.

6 skin care tips

If your skin has been affected by any of the treatments mentioned above, it is important to check your oncologist.  In addition, certain changes in our daily routine can help care for and improve the appearance of skin undergoing treatment:

Use only products recommended for the skin. It is advisable to use mild soaps and avoid using products with alcohol or fragrances. Avoid using talcum powder or antiperspirants if you are undergoing radiation therapy.  

Try to prevent infections. If the treatment generates flaking, pain and moisture, especially in areas where there are folds, such as the eyelids, it is important to keep the area clean and dry so that it does not become infected.  

Protect your skin from the sun. Use sunscreen for both your body and lips. Dress in loose-fitting, long-sleeved clothing, long pants and wear hats or caps.  

Avoid shaving and waxing as much as possible. If you are receiving radiation therapy, consider shaving less often in the area, use electric shavers, or try to avoid it if the skin is sensitive and sore.  

Take short showers or baths with tempered water, not hot water.  

Moisturize your skin. Use recommended creams or lotions to prevent itchy or dry skin.

Neurodermatology for skin care undergoing oncology treatment

At Prospera Biotech we seek to improve the quality of life of cancer patients. We have been researching for more than 20 years to provide solutions to the side effects, which can be more painful and uncomfortable than the disease itself.  

Our creams are the result of scientific research into the behavior of the skin and the neurosensory system.  

Oncapsisens is a neurodermatological cream that acts on the cutaneous neurosensorial system, reducing the typical discomfort of skin subjected to chemotherapy treatment. Its innovative composition strengthens the skin’s balance by moisturizing and helping to soothe uncomfortable sensations.
In addition, we have developed a new formulation for the care of skin subjected to radiotherapy that has passed with excellent results the pilot safety and efficacy trial carried out at the General Hospital of Elche. We hope to announce that it will be available very soon.

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References

  1. Sociedad Española de Oncología Médica. (SEOM). Las cifras del cáncer en España. [citado 6 febrero 2024]. Available at:  https://seom.org/prensa/el-cancer-en-cifras
  2. Instituto Nacional del Cáncer. Cambios en la piel y las uñas durante el tratamiento del cáncer. [updated 14 june 2019]; [cited 6 february 2024]. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/espanol/cancer/tratamiento/efectos-secundarios/cambios-piel-unas

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