The Villian vs The Hero
Enter stage left, the villain: cancer. Enter stage right, the hero: chemo. The things they have in common: they both are scary, they both wreak havoc within our bodies, and they both are killers. The thing about our rowdy, wayward hero, chemo, is that although it kills the cancer cells to help us, it also attacks some of our good cells, too. Our skin is often one of these casualties.
In our skin’s case, we need to take precautions against the villain and the hero alike. Start building your line of defense before chemotherapy treatments begin and moisturize. As our treatments begin and progress, our skin will lose so much hydration due to the chemo that we need to constantly put back. Applying creams, lotions, serums, and balms twice a day and after each time you wash your hands will help keep chinks from forming in your armor. The extra moisture will also provide a shield, acting as a barrier between your skin and the dehydrating effects of the environment.
Some other things we can due to thwart our hero from hurting us in his attack on the villain: changing our daily habits and routines. When washing, take quick lukewarm baths and showers. Hot water increases blood flow which increases skin inflammation. Long baths and showers hasten moisture loss. When drying yourself do not rub briskly and vigorously. Take your time and remove the water by patting gently. This important point will save you much skin irritation and misery.
Another habit that needs modified is the way you do household chores. Using mild cleansers and detergents is best. Wearing gloves while doing any dishes or cleaning is a must. You don’t need your already sensitive skin coming in contact with cleansers, soaps, or hot water. And, when buying detergents and cleansers, choose fragrance and dye free ones.
A habit that is often not given enough consideration: sun exposure. Our hero, chemo, makes our skin much more susceptible to being burnt by the sun. Taking precautions is smart and necessary. Sunblock SPF30 or higher will stop the UVA & UVB rays from reaching us. But, don’t stop there. Add protective clothing, wide brim hats, and sunglasses to your armament.
By doing these things we keep ourselves out of the line of fire, and maybe, if we are lucky, only catch the stray ricochet of a bullet instead of the full blast of a rocket launcher.