Skin care in cancerCancer therapy sometimes involves the use of aggressive drugs that attack the entire body. The skin in particular is subjected to a great deal of stress during the therapy. Rashes, dryness, redness and increased sensitivity to sunlight are the result. Here you can learn what is good for your skin in these times and get valuable skin care tips.
Causes and symptoms of skin problems
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Regardless of whether chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy or surgery is used, the skin, as the largest human organ, is often affected. All forms of therapy interfere with normal cell division and skin regeneration. Heavily stressed skin areas such as the palms of the hands and soles of the feet can be affected by painful skin cracks, severe redness and swelling.
Since chemotherapy in particular attacks cancer in a watering can manner, not only the malignant cells are attacked, but the entire body is subjected to large-scale stress via the blood vessels. On the one hand, this has the effect of weakening the immune system. In addition, healthy cells are also damaged, which grow at a similar rate as the malignant cancer cells, including skin and mucous membrane cells. The skin dries out and becomes chapped as moisture and lipids are lost. The result: germs and pathogens can penetrate the skin more quickly, which promotes infections and fungal diseases.
Radiation therapy also takes its toll on the skin and often leads to redness and excessive dryness in the affected areas. With immune or even targeted therapy, acneiform exanthema, an acne-like skin rash, and MKI-associated hand-foot syndrome occur in addition to dryness. The latter is noticeable by painful redness on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, numbness, tingling and swelling. Hormone therapies can also lead to hormone-specific skin changes reminiscent of acne.
Skin care after surgery
Surgeries are a special case in skin care, as the skin is actively damaged in the process. The first wound healing takes about six to eight weeks. If staples and sutures are still stuck in the skin, hygiene is especially important. How the skin should be cared for in this case, is best to ask the doctor. Around the wound may be washed carefully with warm water, but under no circumstances should liquid get into the wound. Showering is therefore usually not possible in the first two weeks after surgery. Intensive washing in compliance with meticulous hygiene regulations should help at this point.
Scars that develop later can be cared for with special creams that keep the skin elastic. However, if you plan to undergo radiation treatment afterwards, you must discuss this with your doctor. Scar tie does not develop protective pigments, so as little sunlight as possible should reach the scar.
What to avoid?
The top skin care premise is to avoid irritation. This can be triggered by peelings, perfumed skin care products and washing creams containing alcohol. Long baths or hot showers should also be avoided, as well as wet shaves must wait until after therapy. Tight-fitting clothing puts unnecessary stress on the skin, as does intense sun exposure.
What is recommended?
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For daily skin care, choose a mild skin care product that contains lipids. The fat strengthens the skin barrier. Additional active ingredients such as palmitoylethanolamide, rhamnosoft and also urea also promote the regeneration of the skin barrier. Mild, soap-free washing lotions, whose pH value corresponds to that of the skin, are the right choice for washing and cleansing. Dermatologists and doctors can give advice and tips on the right skin care product.
Often a special combination of active ingredients is needed to restore balance to damaged skin. It is also essential to use dermatologically tested makeup that avoids unnecessary ingredients when applying makeup over the skin changes. Wide cut organic cotton clothing is the most comfortable choice for your stressed skin. Also, when you dry off after showering, be sure not to rub vigorously, but to gently pat the skin dry.
As soon as the medication is discontinued and the therapy is completed, the skin changes usually disappear on their own. Skin care not only strengthens the visual appearance during cancer therapy, but also the immune defense and should not be neglected under any circumstances. Don't let it come to bad skin problems in the first place. Start skincare early!