In addition to many unpleasant side effects, chemotherapy can play havoc with your skin. Each person will have different reactions, and such reactions can vary based on the drugs being administered. It is possible to establish a chemo skincare routine that will help to minimize at least some of the visible damage to your skin.


Typical Skin Conditions with Chemo

During your chemotherapy treatment, you are likely to develop one or several types of skin conditions. One of the most common skin symptoms for patients to experience is dry skin. Dehydration is a result of additional chemo side effects such as diarrhea and vomiting. When your skin becomes dehydrated, you will develop dry skin. Another common issue is the deterioration of finger and toenails. You might experience anything from separation of the nail from the nailbed to nail malformations.  


Flushing and rashes are two additional skin conditions that may develop during chemotherapy. If you develop a redness on your neck and face, it is likely due to blood capillaries becoming dilated. This is commonly referred to as flushing. You might develop any number of rash reactions such as acne, hives, maculopapular rash, psoriasis, and purpura.


The last two common skin condition reactions include hyperpigmentation and photosensitivity. With hyperpigmentation, you will develop skin darkening. This may be localized to specific areas of the skin or it could develop all over your body. If you develop greater photosensitivity, you will have more dangerous levels of exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.


A Chemo Skincare Routine

You might very well have to change up your skincare routine during chemotherapy. Unfortunately, you could experience reactions to your favorite skincare products and perfumes that you have been using for years. To minimize the effects of these conditions, consider the following routine:


  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Pat your skin dry rather than rubbing harshly, after a shower.
  • Use mild soaps and sensitive skin products.
  • Apply sunscreen each morning before leaving the house.
  • Wear gloves doing housework, gardening, and in cold weathers.
  • Keep nails clean and trimmed.
  • Select lotions with soothing and calming ingredients such as aloe and calamine.


Avoid Certain Products and Activities

Just as you should follow a new skincare routine, you should also proactively avoid certain activities and products to prevent or exacerbate certain reactions. Avoid the following:


  • Bubble Baths
  • Perfumed Lotions and Cleansing Gels
  • Nail Polish and Fake Nails
  • Tanning Beds
  • Exfoliation Products
  • Sun Exposure 


The silverlining to these possible skin side effects, if one does exist, is that they are often temporary. During treatment, follow the skincare steps listed above to minimize the appearance of chemo-related skin conditions to keep your skin looking as vibrant and fresh as possible. And, try to use products that are as natural as possible, as well as a simple skincare routine.