How Chemotherapy Can Affect Skincare

This blog is dedicated to a Wellspring Plastic Surgery team member’s mother, who is bravely fighting breast cancer with chemotherapy and radiation.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you, and all others who are in similar situations.  She asked these questions of our plastic surgeons and we thought it would be helpful to share with everyone.

Chemotherapy can cause your skin to be dry, irritated, and change pigmentation.  The skin can also become more sensitive to allergens, chemicals in skin care products, and sunlight. Good options exist to take great care of your skin during treatment.

Redness and rashes are the most common reaction to systemic therapy.  It is best to avoid over-the-counter acne products, especially those containing benzoyl peroxide.  They tend to dry out the skin and can cause burning, stinging, and irritation, without actually treating the rash. Avoid treatments containing alcohol.  Look for an oil-in-water creams.  You can also use topical antibiotics and mild soap.  When looking for cosmetics, look for a non-occlusive make-up.  Avoid allergenic over-the-counter products.  When removing your make-up, use dermatologist approved, low-irritant, non-alcohol-based hypoallergenic remover

Sometimes, eczema can occur due to chemotherapy.  It is recommended that in preparation for treatment, preventative measures can be taken.  This includes avoiding harsh soaps, limiting shower time, using lukewarm water, and use plenty of emollients (moisturizer, creams, lotions, etc.)

So no long soaks in the hot tub, avoid chemical-laden soaps and products, and moisturize frequently!

Your skin may also become especially sensitive to UV radiation from the sun.  The previous issues can be worsened by sun exposure.  Also, skin that receives radiation treatment has an increased risk of developing skin cancer in the future. Make sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every time you go outside.and know that sunscreens lose effectiveness after about 2 hours, so reapply.  It’s shocking how quickly the sun can damage your skin, especially when undergoing chemo.

Don’t forget to use a lip balm that has moisture-sealing ingredients and SPF protection!  Your lips need some protection too!


Here at Wellspring Plastic Surgery, we can tailor and customize a treatment during chemo. For instance, we offer an organic vegan facial skin care line from Nelly DeVuyst called BioTense.  It is a gentle and effective way to take care of your skin everyday, even if you are undergoing chemotherapy. BioTense helps to hydrate the skin while providing powerful anti-aging ingredients.  It is free of gluten, parabens, GMO, perfumes, sulfates, and alcohol.   If you or a loved one are undergoing chemo, please call us.  We have the  Fighter Collection– a skin care starter kit for maintaining your skin’s health. It includes a gel cleanser, a toner, a firming serum, a moisturizing cream and a sunscreen.  Ask for it by name to receive a discount.

We wish you strength, patience and peace during this challenging time, and are honored to walk along side of you.