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For most patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments, hair loss, nausea, and exhaustion are common and expected side effects. However, both of these treatments can cause serious and uncomfortable skin conditions. Radiation can cause an irritation that looks and feels like a sunburn on any area of the skin the beam passes through to get to cancerous cells. Chemotherapy can cause extreme dry skin and lips as it indiscriminately damages all fast-growing cells, including healthy skin cells. For women, especially, dealing with the physical reactions of cancer treatment is an uphill battle to find inner confidence as well as strength to fight their disease.
Although mesothelioma develops in women at a much lower rate than in men, the cancer is rare and fast-acting once diagnosed and chemotherapy and radiation treatments are usually necessary and intense. For a woman dealing with hair loss, an unsightly skin condition could be the difference between fighting her battle confidently or feeling defeated inside and out. These skin side effects are not completely preventable, but there are a number of products and home remedies to lessen their severity and visibility.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated can help your body regenerate healthy skin cells at a faster rate.
- Keep baths short and use lukewarm water free of extra soaps or salts. Patting yourself dry instead of rubbing your skin will also help lessen irritation.
- Choose loose fitting clothing made of breathable, soft fabrics like cotton. Avoid harsher materials such as wool and wash clothes with gentle detergents.
- Limit time in the sun. Avoid direct sunlight during midday with hats and umbrellas and talk to your oncologist about the brands of sunscreens he or she recommends for your condition. Sun blocks containing zinc oxide usually offer the most protection.
Physicians and oncologists are not known to recommend fancy or expensive products for patients undergoing skin care issues. There are a number of over the counter products as well as higher end skin care lines that can help ease any skin situation.
- Drugstore brand moisturizers such as CeraVe and strong hydrocortisone creams are a cheap and quick way to provide relief throughout the day.
- Clinical studies have shown that products or dietary supplements containing hyalauric acid can increase skin’s moisture retention and smoothness.
- Designer skin care brands such as Lindi Skin and Courage skin care were designed by and for cancer patients going through chemotherapy and radiation. Although they are a little pricier, they make for nice gifts for a woman going through treatment.
With these few recommendations, patients can spend less time on dealing with the negative side effects of treatment and begin focusing on finding their new normal.