Radiation dermatitis or radiation burn is a side effect of radiation therapy more than 90% of patients will have some form of radiation dermatitis or develop radiation burn.
Most radiation burn symptoms are easily treated. An estimated 20% of people who receive radiation therapy may develop more serious symptoms that affect their daily life Radiation dermatitis occurs in approximately 95 percent of patients receiving radiotherapy, especially patients with skin cancer, breast cancer, head and neck cancer, lung cancer, or sarcoma. The reason for the higher incidence in these cancer patient populations is due to a higher radiation dose to the skin.
Risk factors for developing radiation dermatitis include patient-related factors, use of concurrent chemotherapy, and radiation dosing and schedule.
Patient Related Risk Factors
Different areas of the body have different sensitivities to radiation. The most sensitive regions of the body are the anterior of the neck, extremities, chest, abdomen, and face. Hair follicles on the scalp as well as the breast tissue are also radiosensitive. In addition, breast reconstructions and implants are associated with increased risk of severe radiation dermatitis.
Lifestyle factors such as obesity, poor nutritional status, chronic sun exposure, and smoking appear to increase the risk of radiation dermatitis
What is Radiation Dermatitis?
Radiation dermatitis is a common side effect of radical ionizing radiation treatment. The pathophysiology of a radiation skin reaction is a combination of radiation injury and the subsequent inflammatory response Ionizing radiation damages the skin cells and prevents theprocess of repopulation and weakens the integrity of the skin. Reactions are evident one to four weeks after beginning treatment and can persist for several weeks post treatment.
Acute radiation dermatitis, defined as dermatitis occurring within 90 days of starting treatment, typically occurs gradually during the course of radiation therapy. Burning, itching, and rashes are all common side effects of radiotherapy - this is called radiation dermatitis.
What are the symptoms of Radiation Dermatitis?.
The severity of radiation dermatitis varies between people and radiation doses in the following grades:
Grade 1: faint redness and skin peeling
Grade 2: moderate redness and swelling, skin thinning in the skin folds
Grade 3: skin thinning more than 1.5 centimeters across, not just on the skin folds, plus severe swelling
Grade 4: death of skin cells and deep skin ulcers
The time of onset varies from days to weeks after starting radiotherapy. The skin changes depend upon the radiation dose and individual skin sensitivity.
Acute dermatitis typically continues to progress up to 10 to 14 days after completion of radiation therapy. Healing usually begins within 10 days after radiation exposure
Nursing Recommendation to help prevent Radiation Dermatitis
Nursing Recommendation to help prevent Radiation Dermatitis
Here are some ways you can protect your skin and ease your radiation burn symptoms:
Wash your irritated skin with mild soap and lukewarm water Don’t rub or scratch your irritated skin.
Don’t use heating pads or ice on your treatment area.
Use moisturizing aqueous cream as directed.
If you cover your treatment area with bandages, secure the bandages with paper tape so you don’t pull on your skin. Try to place the tape away from your treatment area and don’t put the tape in the same place each time.
Wear loose, soft clothing that doesn’t rub against or irritate skin affected by radiation
If you need to shave your treatment area, use an electric razor to avoid irritating your skin
Stay out of the sun. Wear protective clothing any time you’re exposed to sunlight.
Ask your healthcare provider if you should use sunscreen and what kind of sunscreen is best Stay cool. Your skin may feel better if you’re able to spend time in cool humid environments.
Use cool mist humidifiers to banish dryness
Talk to your provider before putting anything on your treatment area. This includes cosmetics, hair removal products, powders, creams, lotions, oils, ointments, and perfumes.
How To Treat Radiation Burns
Once you start radiotherapy, you can start focusing on preventing radiation burns and managing the side effects or radiation treatment.
During your radiation therapy, you can use a skin cream that hydrates, provides skin nourishing nutrients and anti-inflammatory botanicals to help prevent radiation dermatitis. Current evidence supports using an aqueous cream with calendula 2 and hyaluronic acid 2. Moisturizers like aloe, shea butter and hyaluronic acid help calm, nourish and soothe your skin. Keeping your skin as healthy as possible is a great way to help manage the side effects of radiation therapy and help prevent radiation burns.
Dermavitality Radiation burn Cream
Here at Dermavitality we’ve created our radiation burn cream with radiotherapy patients in mind. Our unique formula contains anti-inflammatory botanicals and moisturizers that help stimulate collagen production and nutrients that prepare your skin for treatment. and provide intensive nourishing and healing ingredients. There are several great reasons why our cream is one the best cream for radiation burns.
For one, we don’t use steroids, Parabens, Phthalates or chemicals in our Radiation Relief Cream.
Secondly, we use natural and organic plant-based botanicals made from nature to help support your skin during radiation treatment.
Lastly our formulas are created by an Oncology Nurse and breast cancer survivor who know first-hand what patients go through during treatment. That is why we created Dermavitality, to help you be as comfortable as possible during radiotherapy.
We are on a mission to create natural, organic skin care products for cancer patients that help them through treatment and their healing journey.
1. Radiation Dermatitis: Recognition, Prevention, and Management
2. Topical treatment of radiation-induced dermatitis: current issues and potential solutions