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Gentle Skincare Routine for Chemo-Induced "Acne" on the Face and Scalp

By: Sarah Buonocore



 

When going through chemotherapy, many cancer patients experience irritated, sensitized skin and breakouts on the face and scalp that can be mistaken for traditional acne but require different care. This "chemo acne" calls for an extra-gentle, calming routine to soothe and repair the skin without further irritation. In this post, I'll share some product recommendations and a simple routine to help manage mild to moderate cases on the face and scalp during cancer treatment. However, it's important to note that in severe cases, a doctor may prescribe medicated treatments like steroids.



 

Calming Skincare Routine:

  1. Use a gentle hydrating, fragrance-free cleanser like La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser. Use it on both the face and scalp in the shower to remove impurities gently.

  2. Use a soothing facial and scalp mist after cleansing, like Cult + King Super Water - a refreshing mist packed with antioxidants and calming ingredients. This mist can be used anytime to hydrate and soothe sensitized skin on the face and scalp.

  3. Use a soothing serum like Environs AVST gel and massage thoroughly into the skin and scalp. This lightweight yet powerful serum supports skin functions and the healing process, making it beneficial for chemo-induced acne. Fun fact: AVST gel is even utilized in the burn unit at Massachusetts General Hospital.

  4. Follow up and seal everything in with a calming moisturizer like Eucerin's Natural Oatmeal Enriched formula. Its gentle, non-irritating formula helps relieve dryness and discomfort on the face and scalp.

Product Spotlight:

  1. Cult + King Super Water ($38) This beautifully packaged facial mist is a luxurious treat for sensitive skin...

  2. Environs AVST Gel ($64 for 1.7 fl oz) A multi-tasking powerhouse, this lightweight gel serum is packed with vitamins...

  3. Jojoba Oil ($9.95 for 8.45 fl oz) Jojoba oil is a multi-tasking skincare hero that can be used on the face, body, and scalp without clogging the pores. It can be used alone all over the body or mixed with a moisturizer for a nourishing slip and lightweight formula.

Other Tips:

  • For a soothing bath, try Aveeno's Soothing Bath Treatment ($5.99 for 8 packets)...

  • Keep bath and shower water warm, not hot, to avoid further drying out the skin.

  • Look for gentle, fragrance-free products formulated for sensitive skin.

Have you dealt with chemo-induced acne or sensitized skin? Share your experiences and favorite gentle skincare products in the comments below!


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