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Chemotherapy and Skin

How to Keep the Skin Refreshed and Healthy During Chemotherapy

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, this is a life-changing experience. Within a few minutes, the world turns upside down leaving the person completely numb and traumatized. Those who start with the chemo-therapies, life becomes more vulnerable and the body starts to weaken more than before.

With chemotherapy, the body weakens and the skin becomes more paler than before and the hair and the nails start to get in the worst condition. As per Caitlin Kiernan, the cancer survivor and author of Pretty Sick, she says that by taking care of beauty during chemotherapy, it becomes easier to find a way back to the normal life easier and faster.

This is true that your skincare routine won’t be the same during the chemo days as compared to the skincare routine you had before pre-diagnosis. This is why there are several products that can never be used once you undergo chemo sessions. They become hazardous and more like a poison for cancer patients.

Chemotherapy Affecting the Skin

If you hear someone saying “you look sick”, they actually refer to your skin. Therefore, even if before the diagnosis you were pro at skincare, once the chemotherapy sessions start the skin just losses all the glow and freshness.

As per the famous Mayo Clinic, chemotherapy uses powerful chemicals to eliminate the fast-growing cancerous cells in the body. Though the method of chemotherapy may differ sometimes like patients can be given IV (intravenously) or orally (via pills), through some shots or even via creams.

Still, regardless of the treatment methodology, all the chemotherapy have adverse side effects. Side effects including hair loss or weakness of the immune system.

Chemotherapy causes the skin to become drier as well as sensitive and in many cases, the skin discolors too. The effects can be seen on the hair as well as the nails. There is no doubt that when we are dealing with a major health crisis such as cancer, the thought of taking care of the skin can never be found.

But even though after all the stress, there are several reasons to take care of the skin. The care of the skin is essential to boost the energy inside, therefore when it is the time for the chemo get your skin highly moisturized with amazing products to protect its refreshing layer.

After chemotherapies, the skin of the person becomes sensitive like a baby and taking care of it must be a vital thought. Along with taking care of the skin, during your chemo sessions make sure to consume the highest level of water and keep yourself hydrated.

After chemo, your skin faces a condition named “flushing” which is temporary phases of redness or even patches of redness on the skin. Hyperpigmentation is another problem that may arise after chemo sessions. Hyperpigmentation is simply darkening of the skin and decoloring in patches.

Therefore, taking care of the skin during chemotherapy can help in revitalizing it and taking care of the side effects. It is essential to motivate yourself during the hardest time of cancer and gives a boost to continue out the battle with more motivation. Taking care of the skin is just like taking care of the life God has given.

Products Allowed and Restricted to be Consumed During Chemotherapy

Those products that worked fine for you in pre-diagnosis might end leaving negative results on the skin once the chemotherapy starts. Hence, several products ought to be avoided to secure the skin after chemo sessions.

Those products that contain artificial fragrances or alcohol base or have preservatives must be avoided. These ingredients have the tendency to cause irritation to the skin leading to hypersensitive conditions.

Then there are several products that are already outlawed by the European Union (EU) due to their tendency of being liked to cause skin cancer. The EU has banned nearly 1,300 toxic products, whereas, the US has only outlawed 30 products, therefore, you need to properly research before purchasing and applying any product on your skin.

All those products that contain synthetic colors, BHA, parabens, propylene glycol, phthalates, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) / Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), formaldehyde, triclosan and toluene are bound to be avoided at any cost.

There are several other products with harsh ingredients that are also to be avoided when you are already fighting a battle against cancer and still taking care of your skin.


Antioxidants can be perfect for the pre-chemo skin but when it comes to post-chemo skin, it works like an acid.

Botanical Essential Oils

Essential oils have given one of the finest results when it comes to skincare but for the chemo patients, this aromatic therapy is hazardous and must be avoided.

Now you must be wondering that what type of products or ingredients should be used by a chemotherapy patient for their skincare are. So all those products that are marked as natural and have natural ingredients used in their making are preferred for the chemo patients and their skin.

But when it comes to the US, the country does not use the terms like ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ on their products, hence you have to read the labels and ingredients yourself before purchasing them.

Here the products that you may use:

Urea Moisturizers

Chemo affects every person differently, but the most common effect on the majority of the patients is having dry skin. Urea moisturizes are regarded as the safest and exceptional source of pure moisturizer that treats the dry skin with excellence.

The moisturizer reduces the redness, lessen the itchiness and is found more effective than glycerin-based moisturizers. Hence 10% urea cream is recommended for chemo patients.

Oil or Lotion-Based Cleansers

Everything having alcohol-based must be ditched, which includes your cleanser too. It is recommended to switch to oil or lotion based cleansers.

Alcohol-based products strip off the natural oil your skin has, whereas, the oil or lotion based products secure the natural oils thoroughly.

Heavy Duty Healing Ointments

Heavy-duty ointments with extra oil work as a barrier against foul elements. During the chemo sessions go for heavy duty healing ointments such as Vaseline to protect the sensitive skin from further stretching and pain.

There is no doubt people diagnosed with cancer already go through a lot, but keeping the skin alive and investing time in taking care of the skin can help in feeling positive about life and it may also help in fighting against the odds more confidently. Just remember to keep fighting against cancer and return to life like a warrior.

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