Radiation Skin Care

Nov 07

I’m done with radiation.  I had three preparation/staging/simulation appointments with Dr. Razzle and her team, followed by twenty-five treatments.  I’ll see her several times for follow ups in the coming weeks and months, too.

My treatment appointment time was at 11:15.  For twenty-five straight business days, I had to leave the house by 10:15 so that I could drive 28.7 miles to the hospital, park, navigate the hospital maze, change into a gown, and get to the Radiation Oncology waiting room by 11:15.  My treatment would take between ten and forty minutes, and then I would reverse all the steps to go home again.  An army of people cared for my kids while I went to these appointments.

My skin fared quite well during radiation.  Given that I am a redhead with fair skin and freckles, I am pleasantly surprised.  I give credit to Dr. Razzle, who gave me some specific products to use to condition my skin.  I’m detailing them here because Dr. Razzle’s suggested skin regime is unconventional, but I found it to be extremely effective in minimizing the impact to my skin.  When I saw her after appointment number twenty-three, she said my skin looked like I’d had three treatments, not twenty-three.  Dr. Wonderful was surprised at my lack of burns too.

Dr. Razzles Sticky Skin Program:

-Use Miaderm lotion, and apply it as often as possible.  This was available in the hospital gift shop for $35 for 4 ounces, but if I told them that I was a Radiation Oncology patient, they would give me 25% off.  (I checked, and found it on Amazon.com if you are out of town.)  I kept one tube in my bathroom at home, and one tube in my purse.  I put it on a minimum of three times a day, but more often five to seven times a day.  I would put it on in the morning when I woke up, after I took Maren to the bus stop, after I finished treatment and before I changed into my clothes, once in the afternoon, once in the evening, and again before bed, before I applied the castor oil.  Often I would put it on at a stoplight in the car–I did it whenever I had a spare moment.  Believe it or not, I used eight tubes of Miaderm.

-Apply castor oil to the entire treatment area twice a day.  For me, the entire treatment area was my entire left rib cage, armpit, chest, neck, left shoulder and left shoulder blade.  I did this every single night during my treatment window (and I’m still doing it; I plan to do it until the skin redness goes away).  I wore ugly t-shirts that I didn’t care about to sleep in.  I felt sticky.  Because castor oil was so sticky and would “bleed” through my clothes, I chose to apply castor oil in the morning only if my skin was looking or feeling poor (itchy, red-ish, uncomfortable).  70% of the time I skipped the morning castor oil treatment.  Keeping my skin in good shape was the priority, and I felt like the Miaderm during the day and nightly castor oil kept me strong.

-I showered two to four times per week during radiation.  I know my skin, and the more I shower, the more dry (and itchy) my skin becomes.  I think it helped my skin, and was a small sacrifice.  (Normally I’m a shower every morning kinda-girl, so this was hard.)

-Anytime I felt itchy, I knew that my skin was hurting.  I was quick to apply lotion and/or oil as often as possible to the itchy area.

-I had some itchiness on my chest that would not go away, no matter what I did.  Dr. Razzle prescribed me an ointment (Triamcinolone Acetonide Ointment USP, 0.5%), so I began applying it three times per day in addition to the rest of goo I was already applying.  It helped.

The bottom line for skin care during radiation is that if you don’t feel sticky, you’re not doing it right!

8 comments

  1. Yeah for NED for you and your mom! When are you going to have a NED party for the both of you? Or do I need to help you schedule that? You know I love to throw parties… : )

  2. Kim Rourke /

    Great tips for so many who don’t have the wonderful Dr. Razzle to help! I have already forwarded to a friend!

  3. You did not mention if the smell if the castor oil bothered you. I remember my Grandmother trying to make me take castor oil for an upset stomach and the smell of it just made me EERRP all over. Regardless of smell I will follow your program, I have seen some horrible nasty radiation scars. Good job!

  4. Sister from another Mister /

    What does Dr. Razzle say about Coconut Oil?

  5. Sticky is Good :-) I am happy your skin wasn’t burned badly :-)

  6. Good review, I am on the Miaderm, castor oil regimen, but need to increase the frequency of application! Finding that I need to keep my schedule a little more open to be able to take care of my skin.
    Tanks, You keep paving the way:)

  7. I also forwarded to my friend who is going thru her radiation treatments right now. Finishing next week. Perhaps this will be of use to her as well. Thanks so much.

  8. Thank you so much for the advice! I am beginning radiation treatments in a week. I will have 20 treatments I just ordered miaderm through amazon. Me and my skin thank you!