Combat dry skin

My treatment is making my skin drier and drier. What should I do?

Dry skin is one of the very common side effects caused by cancer treatments. The best way of keeping your skin comfortable is to moisturise it as often as possible.

The skin is often simply dry, with small scales that flake off like dandruff, and rough to the touch. It may be combined with itchiness, tightness, and skin discomfort. This dryness, or “xerosis”, may be more pronounced, with an appearance of cracking on the legs as well as splitting or chapping on fingers and heels.

One of the biggest effects of the treatment on my skin was extreme dryness. I had to moisturise 4 or 5 times a day!

Our advice

Apply creams whilst skin is still damp for better absorption. Opt for products with as few ingredients as possible, that are both fragrance and alcohol free.


  • Use a hydrating cream daily. Spread the cream over the skin using your fingertips, smoothing it out from the center to the outer areas of your face.
  • Apply a moisturising mask one to three times a week. Apply a thick layer and leave for 5-10 minutes before removing any excess cream.


  • Apply a cold cream balm two or three times a day, even underneath your lipstick.


  • Apply your emollient cream once or twice a day.
  • Smooth over the body in short, gentle movements using your hands.
  • Use the entire surface of your hand to make sure it is fully absorbed by your skin.
  • Always check with your healthcare professional before using any new products.


  • Some conventional cleansing products (soap in liquid and solid form) are often aggressive and can cause your skin to dry out even more.
  • All skin types, both thin and thick, sensitive and non-sensitive, can become dry at times or in certain areas of the body.
  • As we get older, our skin tends to become drier: this is especially true of women’s skin. This tendency to dry out often increases after menopause and while you are undergoing hormonal cancer treatment.
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