Taking care of skin after radiotherapy

Cancer treatment therapy, radiation is done to kill the cancer cells and shrink the tumours in the human body. There are several side effects of radiotherapy, including diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, hair loss, swelling and pain. But, the lesser spoken topic is the side effects of radiotherapy on the skin. Some get adversely affected by the radiation treatment to cure breast cancer, or head and neck cancer called radio dermatitis.

There are several ways you can take care of your skin when you get ready for radiation therapy. Let us check some of the natural ways to soothe sore skin in this article.

Skin tends to get sensitive during radiotherapy. Hence, ensure that you take the best care of the skin during this period. First, wash the treated skin gently using warm water to remove any bacterial infection. Never use the washcloth or sponge to clean the skin, instead use your hands to gently clean the area. Using a washcloth or sponge may irritate sensitive skin.

  • While cleaning the affected skin, use a gentle low pH cleanser that is recommended by the care team.
  • Do not try to rub the lines marked on the skin, as it may irritate the skin.
  • Do not shave the treated part of the skin to avoid irritation and painful rash development.
  • After washing and rinsing the skin, ensure to apply moisturiser, as directed by the cancer care team.
  • In case you have radiation burns, redness, or sores after getting radiation therapy, ensure to take rest and ample care of the skin. Do not use any antiperspirant or talcum powder in the affected area.
  • Do not use any adhesive directed on the treated skin as it leads to irritation and damage to the skin.
  • It is best to avoid makeup and regular skincare products with a fragrance that may cause a reaction on the treated skin.
  • Most importantly, wear loose-fitting clothes so that it does not rub against the treated part of the body.

Treating the radiation burns naturally

There is very little research done on how natural ingredients affect skin after radiation therapy.

One of the most tested natural plants is Aloe Vera. It has shown positive results in treating radiation burns efficiently. Using the purest form of Aloe Vera juice squeezed from the leaves instead of the artificial gel has shown better results.

Similarly, calendula extract and chamomile also helps to reduce radiation burns. These herbs help in smoothing the skin burns and calm dermatitis.

Another spice that helps in treating the skin after taking radiotherapy is turmeric. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound curcumin in turmeric protect the skin against damages during radiation.

The herb ginkgo Biloba is another natural plant that helps to shield against adverse skin damage due to radiotherapy.

To conclude, never use petroleum-based moisturisers and steroid creams directly on the radiation burns. These products may show a quick result and control the radiation burns, but the symptoms tend to reappear when you stop using the corticosteroid products. Choose your products carefully.