A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing moment that can leave patients in shock as they process the reality of having their illness and worry about their recovery. So it’s no wonder that these individuals might not be thinking about the importance of skin care as they go through their radiation treatments. Yet skin care during radiation therapy is essential to patients feeling good and regaining their physical and emotional health, says Brenna Quinn, an occupational therapist and Lymphology Association of North America lymphedema-certified therapist at Cape Cod Healthcare.
According to Quinn, radiated skin can become irritated, burned and blistered, which can cause pain and discomfort for patients. In severe cases, radiated skin can break down and develop open wounds that can further complicate patients’ treatment.
Quinn believes that skin care for cancer patients should start early – and as soon as possible after surgery – and continue several weeks after radiation is completed to get the full skin care benefits of calendula.
"This is especially important for surgical patients, because scars left after surgery can become hard from radiation if they are not properly cared for. I want my patients’ skin to be strengthened so it can withstand six weeks of radiation without breaking down,” explains Quinn.
Although creams made with aloe or petroleum are often recommended for radiation burn care and skin side effects of radiation therapy, Quinn says that calendula creams like My Girls™ Skin Care and now My Guys for men, are giving the status quo a run for its money.
“I love calendula! It’s fantastic,” says Quinn, who recommends it to her patients who prefer plant-based creams for their skin care. “My patients like the fact that it’s natural, cooling and feels good on their skin.”
According to Quinn, her patients who have been using the calendula-based My Girls™ cream three to four times a day consistently throughout their radiation treatments haven’t had as much skin breakdown as she typically sees – especially in her patients who have fair or fragile skin.
Her hope is that patients who practice good skin care and strengthen their skin tissues with products like My Girls™ Skin Care cream will be able to go further into radiation treatment or past radiation treatment. She contends that anything that can help with that is a good thing.
“If my patients have a good result with a skin care product, they are more likely to use it,” she says in reference to the positive feedback she’s received so far from her patients who are using My Girls™ Skin Care.
Naturally soothing for the body and soul
Keeping skin intact during treatment is not the only reason that Quinn recommends her patients use creams like My Girls™ Skin Care during radiation therapy. According to Quinn, skin care is part of a larger self-care hygiene regimen that can help patients regain their sense of well-being. Losing a breast for example, she says, is a traumatic experience and helping patients get back in contact with their new bodies, scars and all, can help them heal physically and emotionally.
“Finding a product like My Girls™ helps with the treatment they are about to face. To have a soothing cream to put on their skin to help it stay healthy can make them feel whole again,” she explains.
Once her patients find out about the benefits of skin care during and after radiation, Quinn says they are happy to spread the word. Physicians are also starting to pay more attention to the properties of calendula and the importance of overall skin care during radiation treatment.
“I tell everyone to take care of their skin during radiation,” continues Quinn. “It’s the one thing patients can control. They can go to the store and buy a product and use it to care for their bodies after surgery.”
"We recommend My Girls™ & My Guys™ to rectal, head and neck, lung and breast patients and are seeing good results." Radiation Oncology Nurse, CA