Cancer Dry Skin

About Dry / Itchy Skin

Dry skin (Xerosis) is a common side-effect of many cancer therapies. Dry Skin varies among individuals, but is generally characterized as skin that requires more moisture than average skin. Itching (Pruritus) often goes hand in hand with dry skin and is also a common side effect of many cancer treatments.

Dry skin can be extremely uncomfortable depending upon severity and if it is left unchecked. Ultimately, skin condition can progress to severe itching, small rash-like bumps, peeling, cracking, fissuring which can cause soreness and irritation and red, inflamed skin which can be a sign of infection.

Itchy Skin

Each individual bears his/her own unique physical attributes and skin is simply one of them. Skin oiliness or dryness can vary greatly even among family members.

Dry Skin Care and Management

Very dry skin can be exacerbated by every day activities such as showering and bathing too often. Water will hydrate the skin yet, as it dries, evaporation will cause moisture loss in addition to loss of the natural lipids or oils present in the outermost layer of the skin.

It is important to use moisturizer often and thoroughly before dry skin becomes a problem. Prevention is the first ‘best practice’ to follow and an important factor in skin care management is adherence to a routine.

  • Use only mild, hypo-allergenic soap. Avoid antibacterial soaps, as they are more drying.
  • Use mild moisturizers after bathing, while skin is still damp.
  • Avoid hot baths. This will further dry your skin. Take a quick, warm shower instead.
  • Avoid products containing alcohol such as astringent.
  • Avoid peeling agents such as alpha and beta hydroxy acids.
  • Stay hydrated by increasing the amount of water that you drink.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Consider adding vitamins and antioxidants to your diet.
  • Use sunscreen on a regular basis.

Quite simply, a good skin care regimen for managing dry & itchy skin includes a high-quality moisturizer, a gentle non-drying wash, and an effective emollient for extra moisture.

NOTE: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information provided in this Web site about skin reactions and other medical conditions is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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