IMPACT OF CANCER TREATMENT ON SKIN: RADIATION CHEMOTHERAPY 
HAIR LOSS

duration time 2 min read

Alopecia, or hair loss, is caused by treatments which specifically target rapidly-multiplying cells, as this is a feature not only of cancer cells but also of hair bulbs (i.e. hair roots). This leads to sudden or gradual loss of hair and body hair. Hair and body hair will grow back after the treatment, once the body has eliminated all traces of the drug.

Hygiene

  • Wash with a small amount of gentle shampoo and tepid water(1)
  • Avoid any aggressive actions (e.g. blow-drying, bleaching, etc.)(1)
  • Use a soft bristle brush(1)

Before chemotherapy

  • Do not brush or wash your hair too often. Ideally, wash it the day before chemotherapy and wait up to 8 days before the next shampoo wash(2)
  • Get a short haircut before chemotherapy(1)

XEROSIS, PRURITUS

  • Dry skin with widespread peeling, often with itching
  • Dull skin

Hygiene

  • Gentle cleansing products that respect the skin’s natural pH balance, such as syndet(1)
  • Bath oils(1)
  • Take 33-35 °C showers instead of baths(2)
  • Gently pat the skin dry, do not rub the skin(2)
  • Apply skin care products immediately on damp skin(1)

Skin care products

Light texture moisturizers(1), may contain urea

Photo-protection

Anti-UVA/anti-UVB photo-protection At least SPF 50(1)

Clothing

  • Wear cotton clothing(2)
  • Do not wear wool (microfibers) or synthetic clothing (not breathable...)(2)
  • Avoid irritants which cause itching (e.g. soaps, detergents, chemical products, abrasive fabrics, etc.)(1)

Heat

Avoid dressing too warmly because heat and sweating trigger pruritus(1)

PULPITIS, CREVICES

Hyperkeratosis with painful linear erosions which may be more or less deep

Hygiene

  • Gentle cleansing products that respect the skin’s natural pH balance, such as syndet(1)
  • Avoid contact with water if possible(2)
  • Pat dry(1)

Skin care products

  • Moisturizing creams(1)
  • Soothing skin care product for irritated and weakened skin.(1)
  • If there are cracks(1): Use a repairing emollient / balm with an occlusive dressing.

Clothing

  • Gloves are recommended for indoor and outdoor work(1)
  • Use an inner pair of gloves made of suitable fabric (e.g. silk)(1)

RADIODERMATITIS

During radiation (after the 3d week) or a few days after radiation: Rash, dryness, peeling, erosion, ulceration.Possible after-effects: Xerosis, hypopigmentation, hyperpigmentation, telangiectasias, skin atrophy. 

Hygiene

  • Gentle cleansing products that respect the skin’s natural pH balance, such as syndet(1)
  • Hygiene + drying(2,3)
  • Rinse your skin carefully after swimming in the sea or in a swimming pool(1)

Skin care products

  • Light texture moisturizers(1)
  • Avoid alcohol and fragrance(1)
  • Be cautious with deodorants(1)
  • Do not shave or use hair-removing cream(1)
  • Soothing skin care product for irritated and weakened skin.(1)

Clothing

Large, comfortable clothing(1)

Photo-protection

Anti-UVA/anti-UVB photo-protection At least SPF50(1)

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Safety standards beyond international cosmetics regulations.

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