Skin Care During Chemotherapy

Skin Care During Chemotherapy

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Skin Care During Chemotherapy

Minor skin problems are common side effects of chemotherapy. These side effects occur because the treatment affects normal cells as well as cancer cells. To manage these side effects, try the tips that follow.

Person stepping out of bathtub.

Itchy, Dry Skin

  • Use baking soda. Add it to your bath water, and apply it instead of deodorant.

  • Take any medications for itching as prescribed by your doctor.

  • Take short showers or sponge baths.

  • Use tepid water; hot water increases itching.

  • Use a water-based skin cream. Apply it while your skin is still moist. Try to do this 2 times to 3 times daily.

  • Avoid skin products that contain alcohol. This includes face cleansers, perfumes, and after-shaves.

Skin Discoloration

  • Ask your doctor for advice on skin color changes. In most cases, skin changes disappear soon after treatment ends.

Sun Exposure

  • Stay out of direct sun as much as you can. Do not use tanning beds. 

  • When outdoors always wear sunscreen, protective clothing and protective lip balm. or zinc oxide.

  • Wear a hat when you go outside.

Call the Doctor

Contact your doctor right away if:

  • You have a rash or hives.

  • You are wheezing or having trouble breathing.

  • Skin near a cut or rash swells, turns red, feels hot or painful, or begins to ooze.