Some of the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation can cause major problems on the skin, and there are certain ingredients in many skin care products that should be avoided. Here are a few basic guidelines to follow:
Only use unscented or very lightly scented products, especially if you are sensitive to smells. If you prefer scented products, request or make sure that anything used on your skin be made with pure essential oils, not artificial fragrance.
Avoid products that contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’s) as your skin may be very dry and irritated from treatment. AHA’s are well known for their use in the cosmetics industry and are often found in products claiming to reduce wrinkles or the signs of aging, and improve the overall look and feel of the skin. They are also used as chemical peels available in a dermatologist's office, beauty and health spas and home kits. Read your labels.
Abstain from chemical peels and/or treatments using electricity. (Micro current Therapy, Microdermabrasion, etc.) Instead, use a very gentle scrub to smooth your skin. Steam generally feels nice and can also hydrate the skin while providing an effective form of relaxation.
When massaging your face or body, use soft, gentle strokes. Go slow, and don’t apply too much pressure. If you’ve had lymph nodes removed, make sure you massage away from the removed nodes. If you’re seeing a licensed therapist, make sure you mention your lymph nodes have been removed.
Remember to wear a high SPF sunscreen all over your body. (Including your scalp.) Use a mineral-based sunblock on areas being radiated if it/they will be exposed to the sun. Ask your doctor or esthetician for recommendations if you’re not sure which products are right for you.