Developing changes in your skin’s appearance during chemotherapy and radiation are common — and may change your skincare routine. Like the rest of your body, your skin needs to be treated kindly during this time. Before adopting your skincare regimen, see our suggested guidelines and recommendations for radiation and chemotherapy. Here’s our gentle oncology skincare plan:

Cleanse using warm water and a mild cleanser that easily rinses off. Follow with an alcohol-free toner. Next, use moisturizer to reduce dry, flaky skin. (Moisturizers hydrate the skins’ upper layers, reducing sensitivities and calming irritation.) Next, apply eye cream to reduce puffiness. Finally, protect skin from the sun with an SPF 15+ sunscreen – reapplying often. 

During Radiation…

Ask your doctor before using any cream, lotion, makeup, soap, sunscreen, perfume, or deodorant on or near treatment areas. If these areas are itchy or irritated, a light sprinkling of cornstarch may be allowed by your physician to offset discomfort. Generally, you should use only warm water on treated areas and gently pat dry. You should not scrub, scratch, or shave treated skin. You also must not attempt to remove any radiation markings. (These eventually fade away.) Finally, do not apply heat/cold packs, and be sure to follow the doctor’s orders on limiting sun exposure. 

During Chemotherapy…

Don’t use hormone creams, such as those containing hydrocortisone. Avoid prolonged sun exposure and sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher (unless otherwise directed by your doctor). Although the skin may become dry or flaky during chemotherapy, consider using moisturizer several times daily.

Sarah Oliver, a specialist in cosmetic/paramedical permanent makeup, speaks at local support groups and serves many women with her Oncology Esthetics offering. Her passion is to help women recovering from cancer achieve the look they desire with permanent makeup, a non-surgical solution for eyebrows, eyeliner, lips, and post-mastectomy areola repigmentation. Having permanent eyebrows applied is her most popular request. Eyebrows make a difference; they frame the face, illuminate our character and personality, and can create a younger, happy, rested look even when you wake up feeling lousy from your treatment. For more information, schedule a free consultation with Sarah at https://saraholivermakeup.com/schedule


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