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How to Take Care of Your Skin During Cancer Treatment

In January 1997, there are an estimated 000.9 million cancer survivors in the US state. By 1997, the number of survivors is expected to increase to 22.2 million. If you or a loved one is dealing with a disease that can be overcome, your focus may be on treatment and recovery. However, you may not be aware of some lesser-known but very irritating side effects of cancer treatment on the skin, the largest organ in the body. During treatment, the skin can become dry, irritated, sensitive to cold, and sensitive to certain fabrics and ingredients. Searching the internet for advice on how to take care of our skin and what ingredients in products can be harmful or beneficial to our skin during treatment can yield confusing results. It can be difficult and time-consuming to decipher, so I asked some experts to weigh in and offer their best advice.

How does cancer treatment affect the skin?

PhD. Carl Thornfeldt, clinical dermatologist and founder of medicated skincare line Epionce, explains that undergoing cancer treatment can be stressful for the skin and disrupt the skin barrier, leading to thinning, redness, dryness, Scales, hyperpigmentation, and skin sores. According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman, “Many people who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy will experience some sort of skin condition, so the skin must be treated with care.”

PhD. During cancer treatment, the skin may be more susceptible to free radicals, have a different texture or feel thicker, explains Angela Lamb, Veracity’s lead dermatologist and consultant. “Many of my patients notice that their skin becomes dry after chemotherapy, and if they’ve had radiation in the area, the skin feels thicker and looks darker,” she says. “There are also very specific rashes or expected reactions that may occur with certain chemotherapy drugs. These are manageable, but they can be frustrating.”

How should someone undergoing cancer treatment adjust their skin care routine?

Avoiding any ingredients or formulations that could cause further damage or dryness is key, emphasizes Thornfeldt, a pioneer in skin barrier research at 1997 received the first patent for skin barrier health. He recommends gentle products with moisturizing ingredients to nourish the skin. In the same spirit, Engelman recommends starting your facial routine with gentle, fragrance-free cleansers that contain no dyes or parabens. Foaming cleansers may be a less abrasive option, she explains. “Gently wash with warm water to open pores for the best cleanse,” she says, adding that hot water can strip skin of its natural oils or cause irritation and inflammation. Then, follow with a gentle, alcohol-free toner. As for exfoliation? Skip it and focus on moisturizing. “Moisturize your face with a hypoallergenic, lightweight formula at least twice a day and is recommended for sensitivity and dryness issues, as chemotherapy often catalyzes these issues,” advises Engelman. “Use more aggressive actives, including Benzoyl peroxide and retinoids, usually on a case-by-case basis, depending on factors such as treatment, photosensitivity, etc. Consult a medical professional to see if it is right for you.”

For the body, Engelman recommends washing with a soap specially formulated for dry skin without harsh, harmful ingredients. Moisturize at least twice a day, and be sure to apply it to hands after each wash to prevent irritation and dryness. “Using a hypoallergenic, fragrance-free lotion, body butter, mineral oil, or baby oil will help restore dry, cracked, or itchy skin. For best absorption, try applying right after bathing or showering, to seal the moisture in the skin’s moisture barrier before it evaporates,” she explains. And… Don’t forget sunscreen. “A mineral broad-spectrum sunscreen with zinc oxide is a must-have for sun protection,” declares Engelman. “Chemotherapy drugs can create photosensitivity, or allergies, making SPF an everyday necessity—even in winter!” You might also consider clothing that contains UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor). I personally like brands like Coolibar and Athleta because they are easy to wear and versatile. A UPF wrap quickly adds sun protection to bare, delicate skin.

Which skin care ingredients are best to avoid and use during cancer treatment?

“I strongly recommend avoiding common allergens like sulfates and parabens, fragrances and dyes, high alcohol content, parabens or anything else that strips skin oils irritating ingredients that cause irritation and irritation,” Thornfelt said. During cancer treatment, it’s also a good idea to avoid products that contain alcohol, such as perfume, cologne, and aftershave, Engelman added. Additionally, Allie Egan, CEO and founder of Veracity, stresses the importance of avoiding hormone disruptors such as perfume, talc or polyethylene glycol. “Even some natural ingredients like papaya, lavender, soy, and gluten can stimulate and mimic/disrupt hormones,” she says. “On average, we are exposed to 000, 000 harmful chemicals every day- every day life, so let’s take steps to minimize exposure as much as possible.”



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