The cancer, chemo, and radiation will take an enormous toll on your body. No denying, it can be a little difficult to feel beautiful and ladylike when you wake up to no hair, puffiness, and brown spots. Don’t let the reflection in the mirror define you. You have to define you.
You’ll notice within a week or so of starting your chemo that your skin and, really, your whole body will be very, very dry. For those going through radiation, burns are a common side effect and should be treated carefully. Medications can also dry out your skin. Several strategies are available to minimize the effect of dry skin and to treat it when it does develop. This is very important not only for your comfort, but to prevent possible infections from the inflammation.
- Drink lots and lots of water. It’s really the simplest and most effective way to re-hydrate.
- Treat your skin with tender, loving care. Avoid harsh cleansers and scrub brushes. Pat your skin dry with a soft wash cloth or towel.
- Avoid long, hot showers.
- Use gentle, fragrance-free soaps and laundry detergents.
- Use cream or ointment moisturizers instead of lotions. The thicker consistency is better at rehydrating your skin. Apply the product within 15 minutes of bathing, and reapply your moisturizer at night. Make sure to re-moisturize your hands every time you wash them.
- Aquaphor® is an effective way to treat radiation burns. Using plastic gloves to apply will keep your hands clean and limit contamination. Use a tongue depressor to apply to hard to reach areas. Wrap the affected area with light gauze after application.
- Don’t forget your sunblock! Use 50-70 SPF and always put it on last, after any other cream.
- Keep hand cream and lip balm easily accessible in your car, purse, and around the house to combat discomfort.