An Expert Guide To Chemo Friendly Skincare

cancer friendly skin care is clinical

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and research has shown that 94.1% of patients undergoing treatment for the condition will experience dermatological complaints...

Experts recommend that skincare for cancer patients should prioritise cleansing, moisturising, and sun protection, and it’s advised to adopt a less-is-more approach. During treatment, skin can become sensitive and susceptible to irritation so it’s best to avoid products that have a potent blends of active ingredients, particularly AHAs, BHAs, and vitamin A derivatives such as retinol.  Stop exfoliating, opt for sulphate-free formulas, steer clear of drying ingredients, and absolutely avoid any perfume or scented products.

What happens to your skin when you have chemotherapy?

Dry skin is as common a side effect as nausea in patients going through chemotherapy, which can also cause a number of other skin conditions such as itchiness, sensitivity, rashes, discolouration, breakouts, and sores. An effective chemo friendly skincare product is Environ’s deeply nourishing Focus Care Moisture+ Vita-Complex Super Moisturiser.

What happens to your skin when you have radiotherapy?

95% of cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy experience skin reactions; the most common being reddening of the skin, dryness, peeling, and a burning sensation. In terms of skincare after radiation therapy, iS Clinical’s Hydra Cool Serum will soothe, calm, and comfort distressed skin.

What happens to your skin when you have hormonal therapy?     

The most common dermatological reactions to hormonal therapy, which is also known as endocrine therapy, are rashes and itchiness. It can also cause pigmentation that can be worsened by exposure to UV rays, so sunscreen is essential.

What happens to your skin when you have immunotherapy?

One third of patients who are treated with immunotherapy will experience skin toxicities as a side effect, mainly in the form of itchy skin. Other adverse reactions include redness, dryness, and rashes.

What happens to your skin when you have targeted therapy?

Skin rashes are frequently suffered as a side effect of targeted therapy, although patients may also experience dryness, flaky skin, swelling, and sensitivity to sunlight.

breast cancer awareness day

To make skincare for cancer patients a little easier, we’ve put together a regime you can use while undergoing treatment that minimises the impact on skin and helps speed up the healing process. 

1. Cleanse

Formulated to gently cleanse without drying or stripping the skin, NeoStrata’s Facial Cleanser is soap and fragrance free; ideal for those who have sensitive skin or for post-procedure skin.


neostrata facial cleanser

2. Soothe

Of benefit to all skin concerns, the soothing and skin strengthening formula of Environ’s Focus Care Comfort+ Vita-Enriched Colostrum Gel is particularly helpful as part of a radiation skincare routine. The product is a natural immune booster and a favourite of US Vogue’s Features Editor.

Environ Focus Care Comfort+ Vita-Enriched Colostrum Gel

3. Moisturise

iS Clinical’s powerful hydrator Clinical Moisturizing Complex is a chemo skincare essential and integral to skincare for cancer patients suffering from any dryness of the skin.

is clinical moisturizing complex

4. Eyes

A highly moisturising and very gentle cream that effectively reduces dryness, NeoStrata’s Eye Cream is hypoallergenic, ophthalmologist-tested, and fragrance free.

neostrata eye cream

5. Lips

Looking after the lips is an essential component of skincare for cancer patients as dry, cracked, sore, and sensitive lips are a common side effect of treatments. iS Clinical’s Liprotect SPF 35 is an antioxidant-rich treatment that hydrates and softens, whilst also providing powerful broad-spectrum SPF 35 protection.

is clinical liprotect spf35

6. Sun protection

“Heralded by beauty editors as a must-have, TanCream is a daily sunscreen that combines deep hydration with a high level of sun protection and instant bronzers that develop throughout the day into a gorgeous, natural looking tan.  TanCream originated after its founder survived an aggressive form of skin cancer, has won multi awards, and is dermatologist endorsed.

tancream spf50 gradual self tan

7. Hero product

If there’s one product that tops our list of skincare for cancer patients it’s iS Clinical’s Poly Vitamin Serum. Safe for use as part of chemo skincare and radiation skincare, the gentle, reparative serum helps to hydrate, regenerate, and restore overall skin integrity.  

 is clinical poly vitamin serum


Donate to Breast Cancer Now charity, here. If you are unsure or apprehensive about any changes or symptoms, please seek medical advice. Read here for more information about how to take care of your skin during cancer treatment

For all the products features and more, shop online now. To book a face-to-face consultation with our professional clinicians, call 0113 282 7744. If you are looking for skincare advice, take our online skin test now and receive personalised product recommendations direct to your inbox.

Written by Sarah Blake.

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