and burn-like reactions (as well as dermatologic pain and sensitivity) are, unfortunately, a very common side effect of radiation therapy
. Technically not burns (though they look, feel, and are commonly referred to as such), radiation-induced skin reactions happen because as radiation goes through your skin, it damages skin cells in the process, and because radiation is a cumulative treatment, these cells often don’t have time to repair and regenerate themselves between treatments. (This is also why radiation is great at shrinking tumors, so, it’s not all
bad news.) Get prepped to treat these skin reactions so that you have soothing and healing products on hand as soon as you need them, and so your skin is in the best possible shape before going into treatment.
Before the start of treatment, work on getting the skin near your treatment site moisturized and free of any irritation. If you use any kind of scented soap or lotion put it on the shelf for now and replace it with ultra-gentle products like Acure's sensitive skin line
(or, pro tip: shop for products designed for babies’ delicate skin
). Moisturize your treatment area like it is your part time job, using a rich, unscented, therapeutic ointment like Aquaphor
or Bag Balm
, and stay well-hydrated. Lastly, remember that chemo can make you more sun-sensitive, so slather on sunscreen
Then, by your first treatment session, stock up on specialty products like cooler rolls, pads, and creams from Lindi
, which are developed specifically for the needs of radiated skin. Having a few options on hand is a good tactic.