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Skin Changes Caused By Targeted Chemotherapies

Can skin changes be prevented?

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© American Cancer Society 2010

There are some things you can do to help prevent skin changes or at least to try to keep them under control. You should start to do them as soon as targeted therapy treatment begins - before any problems start. Your doctor may ask you to do the following:

  • Use a mild soap or body wash and shampoo that do not contain alcohol, perfume, or dye.
  • Take baths instead of showers, and try oatmeal bath products to soothe your skin.
  • Bathe with cool or lukewarm (instead of hot) water.
  • Moisturize your skin 2 times a day with a thick cream that contains no alcohol, perfume, or dye. Right after you bathe, while your skin is still damp, is the best time to do this.
  • Do not use laundry detergents with strong perfumes.
  • Stay out of the sun as much as possible.
  • If you will be outside, use a sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 and zinc oxide or titanium dioxide at least 1 to 2 hours before going out. Wear cotton clothing and a hat, too.
  • Though the rash may look like acne, do not use acne treatment medicines on it -- they can dry it out and make it worse.
  • Do not wear tight shoes.
  • Gel shoe inserts may help if soles of your feet are tender.
  • Some makeup brands, such as Dermablend , can cover the rash without making it worse.

Ask your doctor or nurse if there are other things you can do to help lower the chance of skin problems getting worse.

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