How do I care for my skin in the affected area?

How do I care for my skin in the affected area?

Your treatment team will give you specific instructions but general guidelines regarding skin care during and after treatment are outlined below:

 

After radiation therapy, your skin in the treatment area may look red, irritated, sunburned or tanned. After a few weeks, it may become dry or reddened from the therapy. It is important to call your doctor or nurse of any skin changes. They may have solutions to relive your discomfort and possibly minimize further irritation. Most skin reactions should go away a few weeks after treatment is finished. In some cases, the treated skin will remain darker than it was before. You need to be gentle with your skin. Suggestions include:

 

  • Use only lukewarm water and mild soap. Let water run over the treated area. Do not rub.
  • Do not wear tight clothing over the treatment area.
  • Try not to rub, scrub, or scratch any sensitive spots.
  • Avoid putting anything that is hot or cold, such as heating pads or ice packs, on your treated skin, unless advised by your doctor.
  • Do not use powders, creams, perfumes, deodorants, body oils, ointments, lotions, or home remedies in the treatment area while you are being treated and for several weeks afterward, unless approved by your doctor or nurse. Many skin products can leave a coating on the skin that may cause irritation, and some can interfere with penetration of radiation into the body and can even exacerbate your skin reaction during treatment.
  • Avoid exposing the area to the sun during treatment and for at least 1 year after your treatment is completed.  If you expect to be in the sun for more than a few minutes, wear protective clothing and use a sunscreen. Ask your doctor or nurse about using sunscreen lotion.

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