Radiation Oncology Photo

General Skin Care Instructions


  1. You will experience skin changes during radiation. Report rashes, scaling, tenderness, blistering, and or itching to your primary nurse.
  2. It is important to maintain a well balanced diet and adequate fluid intake during radiation. Your skin health is directly affected by it.
  3. Measures to take in order to prevent skin irritation and/or skin breakdown in the treatment fields.
    • Avoid constricting clothing over irradiated skin (e.g., belts, garters, girdles, brassieres, ties). Wear soft cotton clothing.
    • Avoid irritating substances on irradiated skin (e.g., tape, soap, perfume, deodorants, talcum powder).
    • Avoid heat or cold applications to the area (e.g., heat pads, cold packs).
    • For an effective, non-irritating deodorant, mix equal parts of Argo® cooking corn starch (not baby powder) and Arm & Hammer® baking soda. Apply powder mixture to underarms with a powder puff or cotton balls.
    • Avoid oil/petroleum based products (e.g., creams, ointments, lotions, Vaseline®).
    • Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Apply sun blocking lotion to radiation treated areas and wear protective clothing.
    • Keep area dry and exposed to air when possible.
    • Use aloe gel in the treatment area from start of radiation, unless directed to do otherwise.
  4. Measures to control skin irritations.
    • Avoid using soap in the treatment area.
    • Use cornstarch in place of powder for dusting.
    • Use clear aloe vera gel, sparingly, 2 to 3 times daily in treatment area. Discontinue using cornstarch if you are using aloe gel. Use the sap from an aloe plant or buy the clear, uncolored gel (no additives, no color, no alcohol) in a pharmacy or health food store.
    • Use hydrocortisone cream for itching, after discussion with your nurse.

You may continue to experience skin changes/irritations for a week or two after completion of radiation therapy. Continue using measures to control skin irritation until your skin is completely healed. Use sunscreen for the rest of your life to prevent skin cancers. Please contact your nurse for any questions or concerns you may have. Call (631) 444-2328, Monday - Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. Evenings, weekends, and holidays, please call (516) 783-1610.