Skincare During and After Skin Cancer Therapy
Did you know skin cancer is one of the most common cancers? Fortunately, it’s a form of the disease that has one of the highest survival rates if treated properly in its early stages. Treatment for skin cancer can involve surgical removal of the cancerous growth, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and often, a combination of all of the above. Needless to say, any of these treatments can force us to change our approach to caring for the skin, as they can cause skin changes that we are not used to.
What is to Be Expected During Treatment for Skin Cancer?
How the skin responds to skin cancer treatments depends on the actual treatment that is performed by a doctor. This can vary from one patient to the next based on the unique nature of their disease due to the fact that everyone is different. That being said, surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy can all cause changes to the skin (which are mostly temporary).
- Dryness: Both radiation and chemotherapy can cause the skin to become dry and dehydrated. This can result in flaking, feelings of tightness, and dullness of skin tone.
- Irritation: Skin cancer treatments can cause the epidermis to become irritated, which can make skin look red and feel itchy. Some people even report a burning sensation, which is fairly common since chemotherapy and radiation therapy in particular can cause the skin to feel more “raw.”
- Rash: Rashes are not uncommon during treatment for skin cancer, as treatments can be quite harsh on the skin, causing it to react negatively.
- Sensitivity: Many individuals receiving care for skin cancer say that their skin feels more sensitive during treatments. This means that many products that they use can suddenly cause a stinging or burning sensation, including basic cleansers and face creams.
- Scarring: Scarring is a likely result of having a cancerous growth removed from the skin. Some scars heal more quickly and thoroughly than others.
Managing a Skincare Routine While Getting Treatment for Skin Cancer
To take care of your skin during radiation therapy, follow these simple tips:
Tip #1: Use Gentle Products
Skin may become more sensitive during treatment for skin cancer, but that doesn’t mean that we need to abandon our skincare routines entirely. Instead, we can simply switch to gentle formulas that are less likely to cause a reaction. Avoid skincare products that contain alcohol, which can cause the skin to burn and sting.
Tip #2: Find an Intensive Moisturizer Formula
Combat dryness with an extra-rich moisturizer that contains lots of fats and ceramides, which can both replenish the skin’s moisture and restore its moisture barrier. The skin’s moisture barrier is prone to damage when exposed to harsh treatments. Avoid moisturizers that are heavily fragranced, as these can actually be drying and irritating. Once you have found a moisturizer that works, try applying it twice daily to increase the amount of moisture that your skin receives.
Tip #3: Follow Your Doctor’s Guidance
Ultimately, you should be following the instructions of a doctor. They are well aware of the effects of certain treatments on the skin and can make recommendations that will be helpful while you continue your treatment.
Tip #4: Tell Your Doctor if You’re Experiencing Unusual Symptoms
It’s always important to notify your doctor if you’re experiencing unusual symptoms as a result of your treatment. This may include extreme pain, excessive peeling, or the development of sores.
Tip #5: Avoid the Sun
Chemotherapy can increase the skin’s photosensitivity, meaning that it can cause your body to become more prone to absorbing the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Therefore, while undergoing chemotherapy, it’s best to avoid sun exposure as much as possible.
Tip #6: See a Dermatologist if Necessary
Many dermatologists are familiar with the unique needs of skin that is undergoing cancer treatment. They may be able to prescribe formulas or additional treatments that can further reduce irritation or dryness.
Managing Your Skin After Skin Cancer Therapy
To take care of your skin after radiation therapy, follow these tips:
Tip #1: Use Sunscreen Daily
Of course, you’ll want to make it a point to use sunscreen daily once you have finished your skin cancer treatment. Otherwise, you are simply increasing your risk of developing skin cancer once again. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen that has at least 15 SPF each day, including days that are overcast, as the sun’s rays can still penetrate through the clouds.
Tip #2: Protect Your Skin
In addition to using sunscreen, consider covering your skin as much as possible to minimize sun exposure. This means wearing clothes that cover the body fully, and wearing a hat that keeps the sun off of your face and head.
Tip #3: Incorporate Vitamin D into Your Routine
The sun is a great source of Vitamin D. However, spending time in direct sunlight can increase your risk of developing skin cancer for a second time. Instead, take a Vitamin D supplement daily under the guidance of your doctor.
Tip #4: Continue Moisturizing Regularly
Your skin may continue to be dry for a few months after your treatment has ended, so continue using an intensive moisturizer daily if necessary.
Tip #5: Consider a Topical for Scarring
If you have scarring from a skin cancer related surgical procedure, there are topicals that may help. Vitamins C and E have both been shown to help the skin heal from scarring more quickly, along with chemical exfoliators like Vitamin A (retinol) and glycolic acid. Always ask your dermatologist before attempting to use any of these products. Also, ask them if they can prescribe a more powerful topical if your scarring is particularly severe.
CBD and Skincare During and After Skin Cancer Treatment
Though additional research is still needed, more skin cancer patients are turning to CBD skincare products which incorporate cannabidiol and other hemp-derived compounds that may offer value to skin that has been affected by chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgical procedures. Cannabinoids, like CBD, attach themselves to cannabinoid receptors in the skin tissue in order to support naturally occurring skin functions such as maintaining skin cell integrity, supporting pain/discomfort, etc.
Sky Wellness’ line of CBD skincare products are known for being gentle, as they combine naturally derived hemp compounds with plant-based ingredients that are rich in healthy fats, vitamins and other nutrients. CBD-infused skincare and CBD beauty products come in a wide array of formulas including rich, nourishing CBD daily creams, hydrating serums, cooling body butters, tea tree oils, and many other advanced types of formulations. These formulations combine hemp’s compounds with retinol, apple stem cell, and more. These products can be applied once or twice a day just like any other skincare formula in a standard routine.
You Can Maintain Healthy Skin Both During and After Skin Cancer Therapy
Skin cancer treatments can be quite harsh, causing changes to the skin that increase dryness, irritation, scarring and sensitivity. The good news is that today’s skincare market is quite advanced, offering a variety of products which can help the skin heal more quickly. We cannot stress enough the importance of speaking with your doctor, or even dermatologist, about ways in which you can keep your skin healthy throughout your treatment, as well as after your treatment is completed.