15 years ago there was an unexpected knock at my door – a woman from down the road who I barely knew was on the doorstep, desperate for help. Tall and beautiful, she had been a model in Europe but more recently developed breast cancer and had undergone treatment, with radiation treatment still underway.
Opening her blouse, she revealed a large area of painful burnt skin. It was a shock to discover the recommended care was a cheap aqueous cream made primarily from liquid and solid hydrocarbons/petrolatum with phenoxyethanol and other nasties thrown in.
How could it be good for her to use something that isn’t nice for the skin when it’s healthy, let alone damaged?
Things have changed since but not a lot, depending on where you live..
In the US there is detailed guidance available, often customised by the care team for each patient which is excellent as every case is unique.
Basic elements include:
- Protect treated skin from sun and cold
- Avoid use of hot packs, cold packs or heating pads on the area
- Don’t take hot baths, saunas, hot tubs, or go in chlorinated pools
- Wear loose cotton clothing and bras
- Wait to shave under arms until treated skin is fully healed
- Wash area with cool water and pure castile or glycerine bar soap
- Pat dry with clean cotton towel or cloth
- Give the skin a complete rest from perfume, sunblock, make-up
Other important points :
- Commence skin protection before your radiation treatment begins
- Continue throughout treatment cycle and for a month afterwards
- Try to eat healthy foods and get ample sleep
What should you put on the skin?
In the US topical steroids are routinely recommended from Day 1 until 2 weeks after radiotherapy ends, along with use of an aqueous/emollient cream.
The key principle for you to consider is ‘first do no harm’ so please stay away from products with PABA, EDTA, PEGs, DEA, TEA, MEA, DMDM and high risk ingredients (check EWG hazard ratings).
At Bio-First, we are in favor of the natural alternative. So, if you are more comfortable with the natural alternative then consider our Manuka Skin Saver and/or our UltraSensitive Skin Rescue Lotion. The duo can be among your best friends at this upsetting time and right through the new skin cycle. They are specifically designed to help the skin through this challenging time, for more details, you can read more here.
*Please note this is not medical advice and you should always seek such advice from medical professionals. Dr Jude Lenart has a Ph.D. in Natural Medicine, she is not a medical practitioner.
Blogs on similar topics: