Can you use a cream during radiation treatment?
Many, if not most, patients receive advice that skin creams during radiation therapy can increase the radiation dose. New evidence shows that topical skin treatments, unless applied very heavily, do not increase the radiation dose to the skin and can be used in moderation daily during radiation treatments.
A study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania found that while 91 percent of clinicians surveyed said they advised patients to avoid these skin creams and 83 percent of patients surveyed said they’d received this guidance from their doctors,. Testing showed there was no difference in the radiation skin dose with or without these creams. They published their findings in JAMA Oncology today.
The study examined two key areas. First, it established that it is still customary practice for doctors to advise patients to avoid applying skin care products prior to daily radiotherapy. Second, it showed that the myth that their use increases the amount of radiation the skin and causes more damage to the skin – unless an extremely thick layer of cream is used.
What are the best ingredients in a radiation cream?
There have been several studies looking at the effectiveness of different formulas in creams used to prevent radiation dermatitis. Radiation creams should contain two elements, a moisturizer and ingredients that help with inflammatory response.
Aloe vera is an anti-inflammatory herbal therapy endowed with protective and healing abilities. Aloe vera is a succulent plant species rich in skin supporting nutrients and it is used in many skin care products for its healing, soothing, and hydrating effects.
Shea butter contains a high number of fatty acids and vitamins. Shea butter is an emollient and locks in moisture to your skin and prevents trans epidermal water loss, The oils in shea butter easily melt into the skin and work as an incredible moisturizer.
Hyaluronic acid is widely used in wound dressings, skin substitute products, and other applications in the field of regenerative medicine and dermatology. Hyaluronic acid protects fibroblasts from radiation damage and in a double-blind study hyaluronic acid was able to reduce the incidence of severe radiation induced dermatitis in 152 patients undergoing RT for head and neck, breast, or pelvic carcinomas. Recent evidence also supports the clinical use of hyaluronic acid is for topical administration in patients with inflammatory conditions.
Calendula officinalis has anti-inflammatory, and angiogenic abilities. Calendula significantly lowered the frequency of grade ≥2 acute dermatitis compared with trolamine, and patients assigned to calendula required fewer interruptions in radiation treatment and reported milder pain. These findings were confirmed in a more recent study.
Topical preparations that contain comfrey root extract, may have some applications in the treatment of skin irritation. In a double-blind trial, patients assigned to the comfrey root containing cream had a lower severity of pain and itching at week three compared with those on an aqueous cream.
Other plant-based botanicals to calm inflammation include Organic Gotu Kola.
Gotu Kola helps calm inflammation and stimulate new cell growth. It also has wound healing and skin rejuvenation properties.
Natural Lavender Essential Oil has pain-relieving properties and a numbing effect. This helps soothe the inflammation, while the beta-caryophyllene in the oil also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory. Lavender oil may help speed up the wound-healing process.
Jojoba deeply penetrates the skin and providing a long-lasting moisturizing effect. It is also full of nutrients that nourish your skin. It is often used to help sooth sunburns and is good for sensitive skin. Jojoba oil also has anti-inflammatory properties which help calm and soothe the skin.
Irish moss known as a skincare powerhouse is deeply hydrating and helps provide moisture to dry and irritated skin. It helps nourish the skin and keep it hydrated.
Horsetail has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps to heal burns and wounds.
What to avoid in a when using a skin care product for radiation therapy
The skin is the largest organ of the body and absorbs the ingredients in creams. lotions and serums. It is important to avoid certain ingredients when choosing a cream or lotion for radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
Avoid oil/petroleum-based products (e.g., creams, ointments, lotions, Vaseline®) and Aquaphor.
In recent years, the use of parabens, phthalates and sulfates in self-care products has become increasingly taboo. These chemicals have been permanently put on the skin care ingredient blacklist. While you may have seen negative press about these ingredients, very few understand why it is so important to rid our daily routines of these chemicals.
Parabens can mimic hormones in your body, disrupting your endocrine system. Phthalates can mimic estrogen, which disrupts the delicate hormonal balance. Sulfates have been shown to be irritating to the eyes and skin of some people. Sulfates penetrate the scalp quickly and the liver cannot metabolize them. As endocrine disruptors, they are believed to contribute to acne.
Why does Dermavitality’s products work so well for radiation patients?
Dermavitality’s Radiation Relief Cream contains all the ingredients mentioned above. See our formulas page to learn more about all our plant based and organic ingredients that help calm and sooth radiation dermatitis. Our radiation burn creams are formulated with skin moisturizers and plant based anti-inflammatory botanicals the lock in moisture and help relieve painful, itchy, and irritated skin.
Our formulas work very well, and we are partnered with amazing organizations. We are partnered with breastcancer.org, National Breast Cancer Foundation, Living Beyond Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Alliance. You can learn more on our partners page.
Dermavitality skin care was created by Lesley Nygaard, a Stage3B Breast cancer thriver of 13 years and Oncology Nurse Mark Brown. You can read more about Lesley’s journey in the article from Authority magazine. At Dermavitality, we know first-hand what patients endure during treatment. All our products are formulated with pure plant-powered functional ingredients that help comfort patients on their difficult journey.
All our products are natural and organic and paraben. Phthalate, Sulfate and Petrochemical free. We made our 1st product Radiation Relief cream with therapeutic grade lavender essential oil and our second product the Dermavitality’s Unscented Radiation Relief Cream for patients that are sensitive to smell related to chemotherapy. Our latest addition the Radiation Burn Spray was created help ease the pain and is particularly helpful when the skin is very tender and it is hard to apply the cream.
Dermavitality decided to create an entire line of products from head to toe, to ease the side effects of treatments with our chemo skin care line, for hair, skin and nails or our aromatherapy products. Dermavitality is complete skin care and aromatherapy for chemo and radiation therapy patients.
We are grateful to be helping patents on their journey and happy as we continue to receive amazing customer testimonials.
Assessing the Validity of Clinician Advice That Patients Avoid Use of Topical Agents Before Daily Radiotherapy Treatments
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