Because skin and nail cells grow quickly, some chemotherapy drugs can affect them. Your skin might become dry, flaky, red and itchy so it’s best to keep it well moisturised and avoid products with harsh chemicals. I still have a lot to learn about the best skin care products to use but at the moment these are some of the ones I’ve started using – all bar the Skin Essentials products can be found in most chemists (or health food stores for the coconut oil):
Elave shampoo and body lotion
I already had these at home as we use them for the boys but they were also recommended as a brand in the hospital. The Elave products are great for dry sensitive skin.
The Simple brand was also recommended in the hospital and are a nice affordable option. (their shampoo is suitable if you’re using the cold cap).
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
My mum recommended this to me. She used it in the shower as an all over body moisturiser including on her scalp when she lost her hair. I was a little unsure about this at first because I’m not a fan of the coconut smell and thought I’d find it a bit sickening but the smell is actually nice and mild and it is lovely and moisturising.
This was another recommendation by my mum, she used it as her body lotion. There are loads of brands of aqueous cream and you can get a nice big tub of it for a few euro.
My sister gave me a present of their skin comfort cream and oil after my operation. She has been using one of their moisturisers for years. They do a range of products that are safe to use during chemotherapy or radiation. I was saving them until I started my treatment so only started using them last week. It’s obviously too soon to see any effects yet but so far I love the texture, it’s so smooth to apply.
The moisturiser has a dispenser pump on it to stop you using too much but this can also be easily removed so you can scoop out the remains of the product when you get to the end of it, so no waste! I will post an update on how I find them working as my treatment progresses but if you’re interested in having a look, Skin Essentials by Mariga is an Irish company based in Wexford with some lovely cancer friendly products which are available online.
The idea behind the oncology safe products is that they are completely free of any actives that the skin would need to process. This keeps the workload minimal on skin that is already dealing with stressors and toxins hitting it from the inside due to medical treatments.