One of the most common side effects from radiation therapy is reddened or irritated skin. It is important to be gentle with your skin during and after radiation therapy. The following tips will help decrease skin irritation and breakdown. Most skin reactions will go away a few weeks after treatment is finished.
Skin Care Recommendations
During radiation therapy, follow these recommendations for your daily skin care routine:
- Keep skin in treated area dry.
- Gently wash skin daily with warm water and a mild soap (like Dove) and pat dry.
- Apply lotion to treatment area two to three times daily. Allow one to two hours for lotion to absorb if applying prior to treatment.
- Use perfume-free and dye-free aloe vera gel to soothe skin as needed.
- Do not rub or massage the treated area. Wear loose, cotton clothing to reduce irritation.
- Avoid extreme hot and cold temperatures on the skin, such as heating pads, hot water bottles and ice.
- Avoid direct sun exposure to the treated area. If you must go outside, wear loose-fitting clothing and use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Skin that has received any radiation will be more sensitive and will burn easily.
Notify your doctor or nurse about any signs of skin irritation such as redness, itching, discomfort, blisters, drainage or bleeding.