PROTECTING MY SKIN
I PROTECT MY SKIN
Cancer treatments may affect your skin, whether it is chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, or hormone therapy. You may have discussed the possible changes you could experience with your healthcare team, and while the list of these may seem daunting rest assured that you will not experience all of these, and some effects may be very mild.
La Roche-Posay understands the impact that cancer treatment has on your skin and has developed a range of tailored products to nourish your skin and enhance your comfort while you are receiving cancer therapy.
You will find here some of the more common ways your skin can be affected by cancer treatments, and how you can protect and take care of it.
The following side effects will not impact all patients during a cancer treatment.
- Hand And Foot Syndrome
- Hyperkeratosis with Crevices
- Xerosis, Pruritus
- Maculopapular Rash
- Folliculitis Eruption
- Keratosis Pilaris
HAND AND FOOT SYNDROME
This syndrome may appear in two forms. Sometimes it involves redness and painful swelling which may include blisters. It could also thicken the skin which then appears to yellow and peels with pain at pressure points.
"PUTTING A THICK LAYER OF MOISTURISER ON HANDS AND FEET UNDER SOCKS AND GLOVES CAN HELP TO HYDRATE AND PROTECT THE SKIN BARRIER"
Dr Justine Hextall, Consultant Dermatologist
If you experience hand and foot syndrome use gentle cleansing products that respect the skin’s natural pH balance, such as a syndet cleanser, a wash that is suitable for the most sensitive skin. Take the time to practice regular foot hygiene. Wash your feet in the morning and at night and gently pat dry. Use a moisturising balm on the affected areas, and try a soothing skin care product for irritated and weakened skin.
“BEFORE MY TREATMENTS STARTED, I SCHEDULED AN APPOINTMENT FOR A PEDICURE TO PREVENT HAND AND FOOT SYNDROME, TO MAKE SURE MY FEET ARE MORE RESISTANT TO ENDURE THE TREATMENTS’’
Cécile, 52 years old.
Avoid any activities which may cause friction or put repeated pressure on the skin, and do not stand for long periods of time and embark on long walks. Wear comfortable shoes, open shoes without high heels with soles that cushion impacts, and cotton or silk socks. Refresh your hands and feet with ice packs or cold pads such as a damp towel, for 15 to 20 minutes.
HYPERKERATOSIS WITH CREVICES
Hyperkeratosis can be caused by chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormonal and targeted therapy. It occurs when your skin becomes thicker in certain places. A patch of skin with hyperkeratosis will feel rougher and different from the surrounding skin. Conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, calluses, and warts are all forms of this skin complaint.
Use gentle cleansing products that respect your skin’s natural pH balance, such as a syndet cleanser. Avoid contact with water if possible and always pat your skin dry. Use a soothing skin care product for irritated and weakened skin, and for extremely dry areas use a repairing emollient or balm with an occlusive dressing.
If you experience hyperkeratosis gloves should be used for indoor and outdoor work. In addition to this, try an inner pair of gloves made of suitable fabric such as silk to protect your hands.
Radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted and hormonal therapy can all cause xerosis, dry skin with widespread peeling, often with itching. Your skin may become very tight and uncomfortable. While dry and itchy skin are two of the most common dermatological complaints, the condition can range from a mild irritation to more severe cases.
- Use gentle cleansing products that respect the skin’s natural pH balance, such as a syndet cleanser. Try taking 33-35 °C showers instead of baths.
- Apply skin care products immediately on damp skin. Remember to gently pat your skin dry, trying not to rub.
- Consider using a soft moisturising balm for your body and a light hydrating cream on your face. It is essential to always apply an anti-UVA/anti-UVB photo-protection of at least SPF 50.
To minimise irritation on your skin, try to wear cotton clothing. Avoid wool (microfibres) or synthetic clothing which do not allow your skin to breathe. Also avoid irritants which cause itching, such as soaps, detergents, chemical products, or abrasive fabrics. Try not to dress too warmly because heat and sweating trigger pruritus.
A type of rash characterized by a flat, red area on the skin that is covered with small bumps interspersed with patches of healthy skin, it is caused by hormone therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy and chemotherapy. It can be accompany by dry skin and itchiness. It can spread progressively and appears alongside frequent dry skin.
Use gentle cleansing products that respect the skin’s natural pH balance, such as a syndet wash, and practice good nail care. Use light texture moisturizers and avoid products which may dry the skin out, such as alcohol-based products and soaps.
You may experience a Folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicle) during targeted therapy. Although similar in appearance, this skin reaction must not be confused with acne and not be therefore treated in the same way.
Here are the steps to follow: Cleanse your skin with a soap-free cleanser and rinse it with lukewarm water. Every night, apply locally a soothing and repairing skincare product on the pimples, after the application of your noncomedogenic moisturizing cream.
Targeted therapy is linked to this common and harmless condition where small bumps appear on your skin
- Use gentle cleansing products that respect the skin’s natural pH balance, such as a syndet cleanser.
- Use a soft moisturizing balm for the body and a light hydrating cream on your face remembering to apply your skincare to damp skin.
- Avoid scratching the lesions.
During radiation or a few days after radiation therapy, you may experience a rash, dryness, peeling, erosion, and ulceration. Possible after-effects include dryness, patches of skin that may be lighter or darker, small, dilated skin vessels, and a thinning of the skin.
Use gentle cleansing products that respect the skin’s natural pH balance, such as Lipikar syndet cleanser. Always rinse your skin carefully after swimming in the sea or in a swimming pool.
The skin must be clean and dry during the session. It is therefore strongly recommended not to apply anything onto its irradiated area at least 6 hours beforehand, to avoid the risk of a bolus effect (artificial increase of the radiation dose). In the evening, you can cover the irradiated area with a thick layer of a suitable repairing balm (at least 3 hours after the session).
Now is a great time to invest in alcohol- and fragrance-free skincare products. Be cautious with deodorants, and do not shave or use hair-removing cream on the weakened skin. Always use an anti-UVA/anti-UVB photo-protection of at least SPF50. The area exposed to the rays will be very vulnerable to sunburns and will have to be protected throughout your life.
LIFE-CHANGING SOLUTIONS TO HELP YOU PROTECT YOUR SKIN
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Since 1975 it has been La Roche-Posay’s mission to support those who suffer from sensitive or weakened skin to improve their daily comfort and quality of life.