What’s Good For Your Skin? Essential Skincare Tips For Cancer Patients

What Should Be The Skincare Routine For Cancer Patients?
16 Jun 2024
7 mins
Table Of Content
What’s Good For Your Skin? Essential Skincare Tips For Cancer Patients

    Cancer doesn’t just take a toll on your physical well-being but also mental health and appearance. There have been several instances of cancer patients feeling insecure about how their face and hair have become, thanks to the strong chemo doses or simply medication after-effects. In such challenging times, a proper skincare routine tailored to unique needs can make a significant difference. 

    Worry not! This blog got your back. And remember, you are beautiful just the way you are.


    How does cancer treatment affect the skin?


    Before getting to the specifics of a skincare routine, it's essential to understand the common skin issues cancer patients face during treatment:

    1. Dryness and Sensitivity: Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can lead to dry, sensitive skin due to reduced oil production and damage to skin cells.


    2. Itching and Irritation: Skin can become itchy and irritated, sometimes developing rashes or redness as a result of treatment.

    3. Sun Sensitivity: Certain treatments can increase photosensitivity, making the skin more prone to sunburn and hyperpigmentation.

    4. Nail and Hair Changes: Chemotherapy can also affect nail health and hair growth, leading to brittle nails and changes in hair texture.


    What skincare is best for cancer patients?


    For patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy, taking charge of your skincare routine becomes essential to mitigate these effects and maintain skin integrity throughout treatment. Here is the 5-step routine you've been looking for:

    1. Cleanse and Care: The choice of cleanser is critical during cancer treatment. Opt for mild, fragrance-free formulations designed for sensitive skin. These cleansers are less likely to cause irritation or exacerbate dryness. Use lukewarm water instead of hot water to cleanse, as hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils.

    2. Moisturise: Maintaining skin hydration is crucial to alleviate dryness and discomfort. Select non-comedogenic moisturisers that are enriched with ingredients like hyaluronic acid or ceramides. These components help replenish the skin's barrier function and lock in moisture. Apply moisturiser immediately after cleansing to maximise absorption and ensure long-lasting hydration.

    Recommendation: Use Zolvera lotion for best results after consulting your doctor.

    3. Sun Protection: Protecting the skin from the sun's harmful UV rays is imperative, especially during cancer treatment. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher daily, regardless of weather conditions. Physical sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are gentle on sensitive skin and provide effective protection.

    Recommendation: Suntris Spf 50 Sunscreen Gel can be a suitable one to go for. Consult your doctor before using. 

    4. Hydration and Nutrition: Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day is crucial to support skin hydration from within. A well-balanced chemo diet plan should be rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and healthy fats, promote overall skin health and aid in the body's recovery process, which can help improve the condition of your skin during treatment.

     5. Consider the sensitivity factor: Chemotherapy can affect the sensitivity of your skin, particularly that of your scalp or cuticles.

    To care for nails, keep them trimmed short and apply nail strengtheners to prevent brittleness. Use gentle shampoos and conditioners to maintain scalp health and minimise hair loss. Consider using satin pillowcases or headscarves to reduce friction and protect sensitive scalps during sleep.


    How do I choose a chemo treatment for sensitive skin?


    Selecting a chemo routine for sensitive skin can be a task. The first thing you need to get on are options that help with overall skin nutrition. We have assembled ten must-know things for you in this section: 

    1. Consult with Your Oncologist: Your oncologist is your best resource when it comes to selecting a skincare routine during cancer treatment. They can recommend chemotherapy drugs known to be gentler on the skin or suggest supportive treatments to mitigate potential side effects.

    2. Consider Topical Treatments: Some chemotherapy drugs may offer topical formulations or creams that can be applied directly to the skin. These localised treatments can reduce systemic side effects and lessen skin irritation.


    3. Evaluate Drug Formulations: Certain chemotherapy drugs are formulated to be less harsh on the skin. For example, liposomal formulations encapsulate drugs in lipid vesicles, reducing exposure to healthy skin cells and minimizing irritation. Your oncologist can provide more information on these types of drugs and their effects on the skin.

    4. Assess Potential Side Effects: It's important to be aware of the potential side effects of each chemotherapy option. These can include dryness, rash, or increased sensitivity. By choosing treatments with lower incidences of these issues, you can help protect your skin during treatment.

    5. Personalize Based on Skin Type: Consider your skin type and any pre-existing conditions. For instance, if you have a history of eczema or sensitive skin reactions, opt for chemotherapy drugs that are less likely to exacerbate these conditions.

    6. Ask About Supportive Therapies: Inquire about supportive therapies that can complement chemotherapy treatments and protect your skin. These may include pre-emptive moisturizing regimens, cooling treatments, or specific dietary adjustments known to benefit skin health during treatment.

    7. Review Patient Reviews and Studies: Research patient experiences and clinical studies related to chemotherapy drugs you're considering. Look for feedback on skin tolerability and efficacy in treating your specific type of cancer.

    8. Monitor Skin Response: Throughout treatment, it's important to closely monitor your skin's response to chemotherapy. This can help you and your healthcare team identify any potential issues early on and adjust your treatment plan as needed, which can help protect your skin during treatment.

    9. Balance Efficacy and Side Effects: Strive to balance treatment efficacy and effects on the skin. Your oncologist can help weigh these factors and guide you towards the most suitable chemotherapy regimen.

    10. Seek Second Opinions if Necessary: If you have concerns about how chemotherapy may affect your sensitive skin, consider seeking a second opinion from another oncologist specializing in dermatological aspects of cancer treatment.

    In getting through the complexities of cancer treatment, prioritizing skincare is more of bringing the spotlight on wellness than looks. By implementing a thoughtful and tailored skincare routine, cancer patients can alleviate discomfort, maintain skin health, and enhance their quality of life. 

    Written by
    Dr. Tejashwin AdigaMBBS
    AboutDr. Tejashwin Adiga is a skilled and compassionate physician. He is dedicated to providing high-quality care and prioritizes patient education and preventive medicine. Known for his personalized approach, Dr. Adiga ensures each patient receives tailored treatment. His motto is to stay updated with medical advancements to offer the best care possible, making him a trusted and respected healthcare provider.
    Tags :cancer skincarechemotherapy skincareskincare after chemotherapyhairlosscancer hairlosscancer haircarecancer skinskincare during cancer