Some people experience dry or “sunburned” skin while they're in treatment. If your skin hurts, stays wet, or you have sores, it's important to call the doctor right away because you may have a “moist reaction” which is more serious and can cause infection if not treated.
There are many things that you can do to care for your skin and keep it from becoming too irritated. The following are some ideas:
- Ask the doctor what skin products – lotions, soaps, powders, perfumes, make-up, etc. – are okay to use
- Wear loose, soft cotton clothes and “cover up” your treatment area when you are outside
- Use an electric razor instead of a regular one if you are able to shave
- Take warm showers no more than once per day; do not bathe (i.e. sit in the tub) more than twice a week, for no longer than 30 minutes. Pat your skin dry, don't rub.
- Don't use heating pads, band-aids, etc. on your treatment area.
- Don't erase or put lotion, etc. on your skin markings – they show your radiation therapist where to place the machine for your treatment.
Biafine is a prescription cream that offers protection against radiation skin reactions. Here are some instructions on how to use it:
- Gently massage a small amount of Biafine into the irradiated area, 3 times daily, 7 days a week
- Begin using Biafine immediately following your first radiation session.
- Do not apply Biafine on the marking tapes used for your treatments
- Do not apply Biafine within 4 hours prior to a radiation session
Domeboro Soaks are also helpful in soothing your treatment area after radiation therapy. They may be found at the pharmacy counter or first aid aisle at any local drug store and cost about $13.00 for a package of 12.
To use the Soaks:
- Mix one packet in 2 cups of water to make a solution
- Wet a soft cotton cloth in the solution, squeeze out excess
- Place on the treatment site, wait 5 minutes
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 every 5 minutes for 15-20 minutes.
After soaks, pat dry and then apply the lotion your doctor recommends to the treatment area. Do this 3 times a day.
REMEMBER - NOTHING ON YOUR SKIN 4 HOURS BEFORE YOUR RADIATION TREATMENT