Skin Side Effects

Skin changes and reactions to radiation treatment are not unusual. The skin in the treatment area may begin to look reddened, irritated, tanned, or sunburned. It is very important to protect the skin during and after treatment. If needed, the nurse will give you moisturizer to use in the treatment area.
 
During treatment
  • Do not use heating pads, hot water bottles, heat lamps, sun lamps, or ice packs on the treated area of the skin.
  • Do not expose treated skin to the sun.
  • Wear  cotton undergarments, if appropriate, for treated areas of skin.
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothing.
  • Avoid the use of tape on the affected area.
  • Do not shave skin in the treatment field unless you use an electric razor.
  • When you wash, use only lukewarm water and mild soaps on the treatment area. Do not rub the treated area.
  • Do not use lotions, creams, powders, or ointments in the treatment area unless prescribed by your radiation oncologist. If prescribed, do not apply within four hours prior to radiation treatment. Skin should be clean and dry for treatment.
  • Do not apply deodorant, cosmetics, cologne or perfumed creams to the treatment area.
 
After treatment
  • After radiation therapy you may continue to use your usual moisturizing lotions.
  • Do not shave (unless using an electric razor), use deodorants, cosmetics, or cologne in the treatment area for several weeks following treatment.
  • Avoid exposing the treated skin to the sun. If you're not able to avoid the sun, use sunscreen with SPF 15 or greater on treated skin. This recommendation should be followed for life.
Tell your nurse or radiation oncologist if you develop:
  • Itching or peeling skin
  • ,Blisters, or
  • Wet and sore skin.
 
Directions for use of moisturizers
  • Gently massage moisturizer into the treatment area, three times per day, seven days a week.
  • Begin using moisturizer following first radiation treatment
  • Do not apply moisturizer four hours before your radiation treatment.
  • Do not massage gel on ink marks.
 
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