Battling cancer can be such a trying time in someone’s life, emotionally, mentally and of course, physically. As chemotherapy and radiation treatments target cancer cells, other healthier cells can also be damaged. Skin cells frequently become collateral damage because both types of cancer treatments can affect the normal cell turnover, so there are fewer fresh skin cells to maintain healthy levels. This can result in dry, irritated, and overly sensitive skin, on top of all the other complications and issues.
Physicians often anticipate these skin conditions before treatment begins, and may encourage patients to take steps to minimize their effects once treatment begins.
What Happens to Skin During Cancer Treatments
Besides general dryness and sensitivity, chemotherapy and radiation treatments can cause increased sensitivity to sunlight. Patients don’t need to avoid the sun altogether, but should definitely apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect their skin.
Itching—caused by dry skin, or sometimes cancer-fighting drugs—can also occur. Usually, keeping skin hydrated will alleviate the discomfort, but doctors may also prescribe a steroid or anesthetic for more extreme cases.
Sometimes, cancer patients will experience skin discoloration. This includes spots and redness, usually occurring on the face and hands.
Keeping Your Skin Healthy
Because your body is already going through so much stress and aggravation, you’re going to want to gently nourish your skin to bring it back to health. It’s best to stay away from aggressive chemical ingredients. Instead, opt for nourishing and soothing products made with natural ingredients.
The main side effects of chemo and radiation treated skin are typically dryness and irritation, so incorporating products that specifically address those issues will help reduce their effects. Before starting any regimen, though, you should consult your physician.
Doctor D. Schwab’s Sensitive Skin Care Collection is a great place to start. Each product in the five-piece set—the Sensitive Cleanser, Herbal Toner, Alphasomes® C-8 Sensitive Skin Serum, Sensitive Moisturizer, and Arnica Mask—can be used daily without the fear of further irritating the skin. Together, the products gently and effectively combat the look of redness, sensitivity, dryness, and irritation you may experience while going through treatment.
Specifically, the Arnica Mask can be used to hydrate and soothe aggravated skin. It’s a creamy, bioactive compound of chamomile, Arnica montana flower extract, grape stem cell extract and highly concentrated peptides that together reduce the appearance of redness and soothe upset skin. The mask can even be used as a moisturizer if your skin is feeling extremely dehydrated.
Doctor D. Schwab’s Rescue Cream
The ultra-soothing Rescue Cream was actually developed with cancer patients in mind. It started when Doctor D. Schwab began receiving requests from gardeners who wanted something super hydrating for their dry hands. In 2001, the scientists and estheticians on the team soon discovered that the cream worked extremely well on soothing burns, and later that year, Doctor D. Schwab actually donated boxes of the Rescue Cream to firefighters and first responders of the September 11th attacks.
From there, the cream has continued to be developed to address the skin concerns of cancer patients. The rich emollient restores moisture and soothes skin that’s been damaged from environmental impacts, including chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Its blend of botanical extracts and oils significantly reduces the appearance of redness and irritation, and also seals the surface of the skin to allow natural healing and regeneration to begin.
In the same spirit as when the cream was first developed, Doctor D. Schwab donates the Rescue Cream to patients battling cancer, as well as cancer support organizations and hospitals. If you or a loved one is fighting or recovering from cancer and you’re interested in receiving Doctor D. Schwab’s Rescue Cream, contact us today.