Impacts of chemotherapy on your skin
Chemotherapy will make skin drier because the drugs interfere with oil and sweat glands. Keeping skin as moist as possible during treatment is important to keep it looking young and healthy. Moisture can also prevent cracking and chapping, which can lead to infection, due to the fact that the immune system is suppressed. During the day, use a product that protects your skin from the sun, blocking UVA and UVB rays. Be sure to use a moisturizing soap and avoid stronger soaps.
Skin changes after radiation
For people of all races, the skin color will change. Lighter skin will turn red, dark skin will get darker or become ashen. Usually the affected areas are limited to small patches. There can be some itching, burning, and tenderness of the skin. You may have some dry peeling, like old sunburn, as the skin rubs off.
The skin generally heals quickly and completely. The red reaction goes away the fastest. The changeover to tan shading, if you have light skin, can take a few weeks to go away. In women of color, the darkening of the skin can be more significant and may also take longer to disappear.
Ordinary freckles and moles can become much darker within the treatment field. These spots are almost always benign, but they will darken because of the treatment. After you finish radiation, they usually return to their normal color, and some eventually disappear.
Skin that receives radiation treatment has an increased risk of developing skin cancer in the future. This is why it is important to take extra precautions to protect the skin within the radiation treatment field from the sun. The part of your breast near your cleavage will probably be in the treatment field, and that's also the area exposed to the sun when you wear a bathing suit or tank top. So make sure you use a moisturizer or body lotion with sun protection factor. (SPF)
Chemotherapy may also affect nails, retarding their growth and, in many cases, causing them to become thin and brittle and develop horizontal grooves. It's not a good idea to cover the nails with acrylics or other types of wraps because these materials can trap bacteria that may cause infection. Instead, the nails can be clipped short and moisturized with lotions. A light-color nail polish will camouflage any nail imperfections. But to prevent nails from drying out, only non-acetone-based nail polish remover should be used. Cancer patients who have professional manicures should bring their own implements to guard against infection. Cuticles should be pushed back rather than cut.